We made these Advent Calendars at a Relief Society Activity earlier this fall. Mary asked for directions, and I thought I'd post them here for her.
1 Mini Muffin Pan. Wally World carries these for less than $5.
2 pieces of colored paper as your background color.
6 more pieces of colored paper for the fancier front of the squares.
1 piece of vellum paper to print numbers on. You could just write on your squares if you want to.
Stickers, buttons, brads, etc.
1. Let's just get the scariest part of this project over with first: drilling holes in the mini muffin pan. When I first tried, I was sure it was too hard for me to do, but then I put on my heavy gardening gloves and a pair of Nathan’s safety glasses and drilled all the holes all by myself. I used a 3/8” bit, and centered the holes at the top of the muffin pan about 3 inches apart. Be careful, those metal shards are scary! Then you can string a ribbon through the holes and hang your advent calendar on the wall.
2. Cut 24 2 ¼ inch squares for the background. 2 sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper = exactly 24 squares. Using a paper slicer made this really fast and easy.
3. Cut 24 2 inch squares. Six 2 inch strips cut into 2 inch squares = exactly 24 squares. Choose six different paper colors and patterns for these squares.
4. Round corners if you wanna. Rounding all those corners took forever!
5. Glue 2” squares to larger background squares.
6. Cut out number circle and glue on each square. I printed the numbers 1 – 24 on vellum paper using a font that I liked, then cut out each number using a 1” hole punch. I have seen others use vinyl stickers or print numbers directly on the paper or just write the numbers with a marker.
7. Embellish squares with stickers, cut outs, buttons, and brads.
8. Attach magnets to the back of each square. I used a roll of magnet and cut it into small squares. The magnet I used had a sticky side that I attached to each corner of the square. If I were to do it again, I would have cut a long thin strip about 2 inches long by ¼ inch wide and attached to the top and bottom of each square.
9. Slice apart daily thoughts, fold, and put inside each muffin cup, then cover with decorated square. I used an article from the December 2000 Friend Magazine for a daily spiritual thought and activity. You can just write a little something to put in each cup if you want, like: bake cookies, drive around and look at the lights, go ice skating, make snowflakes, etc.
10. You can add a treat, too. A mini Reeces cup fits perfectly. For our family, I put in 4 tic-tacs for each day, so each kid can have a treat.