Saturday, 23 December 2017

DIY Christmas Advent House

Merry Christmas Eve Eve, guys!

I've been busy doing loads of Christmas crafting every day this December, and I've been loving every minute of it. I've made a bunch of pom pom wreaths, done a load of Christmas cross stitching, and most recently, I've completed my own wooden Advent house.

I was inspired to try this project after I saw a tutorial from Hobbycraft pop up on social media which showed how to turn one of their wooden houses in to a colourful Advent house. They painted the house white and some of the cubby holes in colourful acrylic paints, and finished off by adding patterned Christmas paper to some of the others. It looked super cute, and I thought it would make a lovely Christmas decoration to pull out year after year, so I popped in to Hobbycraft especially to buy one, and placed a separate order for the paints once I'd decided what I was going to do with it.

From the start, I knew I wasn't going to make it in to an Advent calendar, but instead use it to display small decorations or even some of my nail polish collection. However, I still followed parts of their tutorial, and went for a similar look.

I began by painting the whole house with two coats of white chalky finish paint using a square brush, and a small watercolour brush to get in to the corners the larger brush couldn't reach. This took me a few afternoons (as I had to work in short stages because of back and joint pain), and a whole 250ml pot of paint. I found painting it really therapeutic, but the paint didn't always go on as smoothly as I'd hoped, which I think was because I used a cheap paint brush with crappy bristles from my parents' DIY supplies as I forgot to buy a suitable brush to use. I'm hoping I can neaten it up a little by gently sanding it down, but thankfully, the bad paint job is only noticeable close up.

Once the paint was completely dry, it was time to start getting creative. I gathered my supplies together, and decided to use some of my mid-century style Christmas patterned card, wrapping paper, and fat quarters to decorate some of the cubby holes with to give it a retro look. I still had a lot of amazing fifties-style fabric left over from making hoop art last Christmas, that I knew would be perfect for what I had in mind.

I measured each section with a tape measure, and cut out card to fit. With the patterned card, I simply cut each piece out and popped them in place, but for the fabric and wrapping paper, I first cut out white card to fit, and attached the fabric and wrapping paper to the card with double-sided tape to give them a nice rigid back. I then wedged each background in place, and they've remained in place perfectly, without the need for glue or tape. I thought it was best not to stick them in like the tutorial shows, to make it easier to switch up the backgrounds from year to year if I fancy a change, or want to update the look to keep up with festive trends or a change in our Christmas decor. I also decided not to paint some of the sections in red and green acrylic paints like I was originally intending, for the same reasons, but mostly because I really like the way it looks now without feeling the need to add in bold blocks of colour.

I'm so pleased with my finished Christmas house, and glad to have found another project that allowed me to use my fifties Christmas fat quarters again, because I love those fabrics. I still need to find plenty of small decorations to display in the house, but I think it makes such a lovely and unique Christmas decoration on its own, and fits in perfectly with many of my decorations. I currently have it sitting alongside the Christmas tree in my bedroom, surrounded by a mountain of presents and baubles, and it looks great! I have a feeling I'll be bringing it out year after year for many years to come.

The Advent houses are unfortunately sold out online now, but check your local Hobbycraft store if you want to give this project a go, as they could still have some in stock. Okay, it's a bit late to start a new Christmas project now, but you could always put one away to work on next December. They retail for just £5, and the white chalky finish paint will set you back another fiver. It's then up to you what festive paper, card, fabric, or wall paper to use to decorate your house, and if you want to paint any of the compartments with colourful acrylic paints, which start at around £1.50 a bottle. It's a great inexpensive, fun, and easy project, and in my opinion, totally worth the money, time, and effort. I only wish I'd picked up a second house to paint and turn in to a nail polish display house!

Apologies for how awful today's photos are. The daylight has been so dark and dreary all month, and I've been waiting and waiting for some decent light to take photos in, but it's England and of course, our Winter daylight is shit. I gave up and took a few photos on my phone for Instagram as Christmas will soon be over, and decided to use them for the blog post, too, as I'm running out of time to share Christmas posts. I'll replace these photos with better quality and better dressed photos after Christmas, whenever we finally get some decent daylight again, and I have the energy for taking photos. I really must invest in studio lights for next Winter!

Anyway, I hope you're all having a lovely Christmas Eve Eve whatever you're up to. Are you guys all ready for Christmas yet? I've finally got all the presents wrapped, and the decorations hung, and once I get the Christmas crackers and table favours made, I'll be ready to start baking, relaxing, and celebrating tomorrow. Only two more sleeps!!

What are your plans for Christmas?

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