Saturday, September 22, 2012

Nativity Advent Calendar

WAIT! Before you leave, let me explain...I'm not a photographer. =( So this is as good as you're getting now. Please stay!
I present to you my Nativity Advent Calendar. I made this about two years ago and have used it twice so far. I love advents. Counting down (or up I guess) to that special date and the anticipation is just fun! I like fun stuff! But I couldn't find the perfect advent for me. I really wanted a nativity one because otherwise Christmas is too much about the gifts or gift-giving and not enough about Christ. I saw fun Christmas tree ones that were tempting to make also. But this was what we ended up with.

It's part fabric, part buttons, part plastic-shrink film style. It took me 5 pieces of shrink film to make. And once it was done, it could all fit on one piece of 8.5 x 11 paper. It shrinks to 20% its size.

I free-handed all of them, except for I believe two of the stars which I probably traced from a star I created on a Word doc. But I love how they turned out. I traced my freehand onto the film with a sharpie. Painted the backs (because you'll want the sharpie outline to show up on top), punched a hole at the tops, then put them in the oven to shrink. That's the fun part. 

Below is my pieces of shrink film traced and cut out, ready for painting.

I painted it with regular acrylic craft paint. This is what happens to the backs. A bit crusty. A bit smooth. Maybe a different kind of paint would work better or painting afterwards is an option. Or coloring with markers.

Don't worry if they start to curl crazy in the oven. 

It'll flatten out!

And if they don't flatten all the way, you can take them out carefully (it will be hot) and use something round to flatten, such as a marker, sideways. If it messes up and cools too quickly, put it back in the oven and it'll soften up. You'll have maybe around 10 seconds after taking it out to really be able to bend or unbend.

Remember to hole punch before placing in the oven. Use embroidery thread to hang on buttons. Or those sticky velcro circle dots could work for a cleaner look-but not sure how it will hold up with paint on the backside.

For the wall hanging, I cut out pieces of felt to create a stable, trees, hay, water bucket, a nest, and a manger. I sewed on buttons for hanging the ornaments. But make sure you check to make sure that when the pieces hang there's space for the other pieces so they're not in each other's way and you'll want to make sure the birds that hang near the nest can rest perfectly on the beam beside it. And of course the baby needs to lie perfectly in the manger.

I know there's printable shrink film (for ink jet printers..don't put it in your laser printer unless you aren't afraid of breaking it) but the files I've uploaded to google docs has some darkening spots. If you want a clearer copy, let me know and I can email them to you as I haven't found the perfect doc sharing program I want to use yet.

The PDF file comes with 10 images on it. That's because about half of them show the pictures facing one way and the others the other way. In case you want them looking a certain way. Sorry the first image is missing eyes and such, but image 2 will show you how I drew it in.

Please give credit if you make one and post it online by linking back to this website. You may not use the template to create a work to sell.

Download template here! Bear with it. It's a bit slow.

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