It’s Not All Mary Poppins

I confess: I am a toilet-roll hoarder

Because it pays off! Just watch:

Busy, busy hands.
Lots and lots and lots of toilet rolls. 72, to be exact. Which I just happened to have in a giant bag in the back porch.
Lots of paint.
Add a judicious amount of clear packing tape, spatter-painted paper, card stock, and ribbon…
and you get advent calendars!!

Simple. Assembling them, which I did after hours, was a little time-consuming, but was done while I visited with my children — specifically, my eldest, visiting from Missouri with her lovely boyfriend — so that was fun. Each tube is stuffed with a chocolate or two scrunched up in a poof of tissue (just to keep it in the tube).

Pretty, effective, simple — and cheap! My kind of craft.

This used perhaps half my stash. Perhaps. Whatever shall we do next?

December 6, 2013 - Posted by | Christmas, crafts, daycare | , ,


  1. *jaw drops*


    I shall immediately commence saving them, for next year.

    I got the idea off Pinterest, but the one I saw was way classier than these. However, there was only a picture, no instructions whatsoever, so the execution, for better or worse, is my own. I opted for paint rather than the bon-bon wrapping because I wanted the kids to be able to do some part of it!

    Be aware that the kids’ input is almost entirely limited to painting the tubes. The rest of it is you, but I found it was easy, repetitive, mostly undemanding work that could easily be done while watching television or chatting with family. If your crew aren’t especially craft-oriented, you might need to spread the painting out over a week r more.

    If I were doing it over, I’d start a good month ahead of time, just to be relaxed about it. However, I opted to assemble them myself because I wanted it to be a surprise. They didn’t know, as they were painting, what they were making. This is easy to do with toddlers: they generally aren’t that interested in creating a thing, as they are in mucking about with the stuff.

    Poppy and Daniel surprised me by painting all of their tubes in one sitting, pretty much. They flagged on the last three or four, so I finished up for them. Rosie probably painted two and a bit of hers before getting bored and wandering off. She took several runs at it over three days, but I don’t think she painted even half of hers, in the end. Though you wouldn’t know that to hear her tell it!

    I made dat! Dat is mine dat I made!”

    Comment by Hannah | December 6, 2013 | Reply

  2. Oh, what a good idea! How did you assemble them?

    There should be pictures, but I got caught up in doing it and forgot to document it!

    1. Put the number labels on first. Because the tubes are painted with tempera (except the red, which was acrylic), I didn’t think the numbers would stay adhered if I used glue, so I opted to wrap the number on with packing tape. The clear tape protects the number, and sticks to itself, so even if the paint flakes a bit, the number will stay on.

    To assemble the tubes, first measure your ribbon. One way is to lay all 24 out in a long line, end to end, with a couple of centimeters between each tube. You need a ribbon twice that length, plus an extra 50 cm or so. (Better to have too much than too little!) Find the mid-point of that long ribbon, and tape that to the outside of tube #24. That is the very bottom of your calendar. Take the left ribbon and poke it into the left side of #24, then pull it all the way through out the right side. Do the same with the right ribbon. Now you have one tube, #24, with a ribbon along the bottom of it, wrapped through the middle, and poking out both sides. (Does this make any sense at all?)

    Organize your other tubes. I did this by laying them out on the floor, in order, oriented as they will be when the thing is put together. Take the end of the ribbon now coming out of the left side of #24, and thread it through #23, going from left to right. Take the right end of the ribbon from 24, and thread it through from right to left.

    Can you visualize the pattern? You are zig-zagging the ribbon through all the tubes, from bottom to top, and thus attaching them together. Yes, there will be an X of ribbon in the middle of each tube. That didn’t cause any problems when it came to putting the treats inside. When you get to the top, you’ll have enough left over to tie both ends together and loop them over a hook in the wall, or a coathook, or a nail on your mantlepiece, or something.

    If you just can’t see what I’m talking about, I’ll put together a tutorial post with pictures!

    Comment by myrheille | December 6, 2013 | Reply

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