The first two weeks of January a usually the time when our home is in post-Christmas and holiday season transition, when the decorations are coming out and some pre-Spring cleaning occurs.
Busy as it can be, this is also a good time to think ahead to next year with a little creative upcycling. This week and next, I’ll share some easy ideas for all ages to turn this year’s holiday trash into next year’s decorations and gifts.
This week, turn those cheap, chocolate Christmas countdown calendars into a reusable, more permanent advent calendar or holiday countdown.
- The plastic “mold sheet” from the inside of the used up calendar
- Plain white bakeable polymer clay
- One bulletin board cork square (found with craft, school or office supplies)
- Flat thumbtacks
One thing nice about these little calendars is there seems to still be plenty of them in clearance areas almost into February, in case you need them. No one wants to buy an “advent calendar” after the holiday season, and the chocolate won’t keep. They should be easy to find, and significantly marked down.
To make the upcycled advent, roll the clay into 24 small balls (about a half inch in diameter), and push one into each of the calendar’s little “molds.” Scrape off any excess, so the back is flat. Pop them out and bake them according to the clay’s direction. The plastic molds are flimsy, but is you handle them carefully, you can get more than one use out of them.
Paint them however you want, and add a layer of decoupage to help keep the paint from chipping. Once dry, glue a thumbtack to the back of each one.
Paint a “Christmas tree” or other decorations on the bullet board, which can be as simple as a green triangle. You don’t have to add and “trimmings” as the little mold pieces will take care of that part.
Pin the individual pieces around the outside of the tree and hang it with tacks or lean it on a photo holder on a shelf around holidays. “Decorate” the tree with a new ornament throughout the month of December.
Not only can the calendar itself be used again and again, you can make about three calendars from one mold to give as gifts. Not bad for a little tray that once just held teeny chocolates.
Next week: A couple of fun ways to turn old holiday cards into quirky art for any time of year.