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From Vintage Printer’s Tray to Advent Calendar

Another fabulous Advent Calendar idea from the wonderful mind of Liesbeth.

On very rare occasion do you find something by the side of the road that makes your heart skip a beat. This was one of those occasions. Who would toss a vintage printer’s tray to the curb? And when I noticed it had 24 sections my heart almost stopped. ADVENT CALENDAR!!  Thank you DIY gods for throwing this in my path.

By: Liesbeth

Now I could have done something cute and easy like wrapping some little match boxes in various fabric and popping one in each section, but I was feeling very crafty and invincible when I decided to make 24 little doors on 24 little hinges, hand-stamped with the numbers 1-24. So if you are looking for something quick and easy to make, this is not that project.

I am quite pleased with the result but have to admit some not-so-Christmassy things were muttered under my breath during the creation of this project. Especially when I found out the sections where all slightly different in size so each of the 24 doors was slightly different….

The Making Of:

First I lightly sanded and cleaned the tray. I decided to leave the wood untreated, keeping the charm of the vintage find. Then the “fun part” – cutting 24 little doors to size. I found this amazing superthin wood at the craft store; thin enough that it can be cut with good quality fabric scissors. Regardless, it was the fiddly measuring and cutting phase of the project (if you look closely at the below image you can see that  I needed Oreos rewards to keep me sane).



Next was a fun and easy little step – lining the tray with red felt. I wanted the little boxes to look warm and inviting when opened up.



In line with the vintage heritage of the tray, I decided to hand stencil the numbers on each little door, creating that “not completely perfect” look. I opted for white versus red to be more minimalistic in my decor and maximize the “red velvet effect” when opening a door.


When the paint was dry, it was time for another patience-testing step; attaching tiny hinges to each door, and then each door to the tray. I found some great 3/4 inch mini hinges at Home Depot.



I tried to use the actual screws to attached the hinges but it was almost impossible to make it happen. Then I decided to simply glue the hinges using superglue. Probably one of the best DIY decision I have ever made.




When I looked at the final tray it has almost become too simple and only at that stage did I decide to make the “roof” section. I cut some wood to size, with 45-degree edges for a seamless point of the roof, and then used the thin wood left-overs from the doors to cut out a backing. I kept the very top point open to facilitate hanging the finished project on the wall.

advent-calendar-roof-cutting advent-calendar-roof-backing advent-calendar-roof-attached

I then filled each little room of my trayhouse with one candy and a tiny bag of Lego from the Lego advent calendar making every day of December my sons favorite day with a piece of chocolate and some Lego.


Final touch was inserting a couple mini trees from Dollarama. I made this calendar last year and can’t wait for December 1 to come around to re-use it.


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