Collaborative Project: Advent Calendar Christmas Tree Fridge Magnet to Countdown the Days til Christmas!

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I still can't believe I am finally getting to write this post and that this fun fridge magnet Advent Calendar Christmas Tree is actually currently living on my fridge!

The idea to create a fridge magnet Advent calendar tree has been bubbling around in my mind for a couple years now, but I was pretty certain I didn't have the drawing skills to pull it off, much less the computer chops.

And then one day I had a very good idea! A brilliant idea, actually! Fanie could definitely design fantastic little ornaments! We could create a joint project!

Pop right over to her part of the joint post and get her side of the story and the free pdfs for her ornaments.

Fanie is a talented illustrator, graphic designer, cartoonist, and zine maker whose work I have enjoyed by way of her blog, Fanie.ca, and her contributions to Craft Leftovers Monthly, a zine for crafty minded people published by Kristin Roach (who also writes a blog by the same name - Craft Leftovers).

Just look at her ornaments! I have been smiling and chuckling since she sent me the first couple "prototypes". I am so grateful to Fanie for joining me in the project - without her delightful sense of humor and ability to translate an idea into charming illustrations, this project would still be on the "ideas for posts" list - possibly indefinitely.

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Without further adieu, here is my fridge happily providing the perfect display real estate for the Advent Calendar Christmas Tree. The overall dimension of the tree is approximately 10" wide by 16" tall. The ornaments are on average 2" in diameter.

I am so making one for Diane and taking it to her on Thanksgiving.

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The inspiration for this tree? Children! This is an Advent Calendar they can play with to their hearts content. Young children who don't yet understand the concept of Advent, will still enjoy a decoration they are allowed to touch and play with. Older children who are learning to count and those who can understand the concept of Advent will also love that this calendar can be rearranged at will.

For that reason - because this is for kids - the tree should be placed way down near the bottom of the fridge within easy reach of tiny hands.

IMPORTANT NOTE! Placing the tree within easy reach should be avoided when very young children are present as the ornaments, which are about 2" in diameter, could present a choking hazard.

The best part for you Moms? Most all the work has been done for you! Pick up a packet of 8 1/2 x 11 magnet sheets designed for your printer - you will need 4 sheets - see bottom of post. Follow the easy instructions below. In an hour or so, you will have an Advent Calendar! Talk about a project that is perfect for Moms who are just too busy to spend hours and hours making a complicated Advent Calendar.

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Free Tree Bottom pdf

FreeTree Top pdf

These links will take you to the free pdf downloads for the two halves of the tree.

A word about using your printer. The packet of magnetic sheets clearly instructs that a practice sheet of regular printer paper be run through to be sure all the settings are correct.

To determine the orientation of the magnetic sheet in the paper tray, place an X on one side of the sheet and make a note of whether you placed the sheet in the paper tray with the X facing up or down. Now print and observe if the X is on the printed side or non-printed side of the paper.

This is your guide for placing the magnetic sheets in the paper tray. In the case of my own printer, the white printable side of the magnetic sheet must face down.

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Now you are ready to download and print Fanie's part of the project:  Her adorable Advent ornaments.

Note: Your printer settings should be set for landscape for the trees and portrait for the ornaments.

 

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You will have two tree sections - top and bottom, and two sets of advent ornaments.

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Cut out your tree sections. A paper cutter or straight edge will help with the necessary straight line where the top and bottom meet.

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Cut out the ornaments. I found I liked how much neater my ornaments appeared when i cut just inside the line.

Now pop everything on your fridge and you are done!

EASY! And FAST!

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For those children (of any age) who want to color their ornaments, Fanie has made black and white copies of her ornaments available - also here on her post.

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I found that felt tip pens worked the best on the surface of the magnetic sheets.

Unfortunately, I used one sheet of my pack of paper to make an initial test to make certain the magnetic sheets would work for this project. So - in order to color a sheet of black and white drawings, I printed the pdf on to a piece of photo paper. It does not accept the marker ink as well as the surface of the magnetic sheets - that is why you see the unevenness in the colors.

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Here is a test using a strip of magnetic sheet material. #1. Sharpie Pens. #2 Washable, non-toxic felt tip markers. #3. Crayons - which tend to sit on the surface and come off on fingers - least recommended. #4. Colored pencils. Does not come off.

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Another alternative for making the ornaments magnetic is to use adhesive backed magnet material. If you are into making magnets, you may have a stash of this material sitting around.

Although it is available in large sheets, it is most easily found in business card size. But if you have it in large pieces, by all means use it for the tree. The business card size is perfect for the ornaments. Just print on good quality printer paper and attach to the self adhesive magnet material.

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Cut a rectangle around the ornament, remove the paper strip from the adhesive side of the magnet, and attach the ornament to the magnet.

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Now cut around the ornament. You will get a lot of waste this way so if this advent tree is NOT for use by young children, you could actually cut out your ornaments and then...

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place a square of the self adhesive magnet material on the back. Just take a little extra care in handling so the edges don't get roughed up.

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Another option! Say hello to my little test fabric covered tree!

I realize the little downloadable tree I have made for you is pretty simple. There are two reasons for that. I wanted to showcase Fanie's ornaments by keeping the tree as simple as possible; and, this little tree pattern is the very first thing I have ever made in "Pages" - so no fancy stuff here! I am just thrilled it resembles a tree!

I recommend Fabric Mod Podge for attaching the fabric to the magnet sheet tree as some glues will soak through and "stain" the fabric. A glue stick will work too, but the bond may break down.

Cut a rectangle of fabric about 12 x 20 inches. Download the tree patterns onto the magnetic sheets, and cut out. Apply Mod Podge to the white surface of the magnetic sheets and place the Mod Podged surface against the back of the fabric or paper. Once dry, cut the fabric (or paper) using the magnetic sheet as your guide.

As long as you use a thin cotton or cotton blend fabric, the fabric will not interfere with the magnetic bond between the tree and the ornament.

A note about magnetic sheets. I used Staples brand magnet sheets. I paid about $8.50 for four 8 1/2 by 11 sheets. I understand Avery also makes a similar product. I am told by people who have used both products that the Avery is a heavier and stronger magnet.

The Staples product magnetic bond is quite light - easily managed by little hands and yet strong enough so that the ornaments don't come flying off every time you open and close the fridge door.

I have had my test tree in use for a couple weeks or so and never lost an ornament.

And a note about sticky fingers! You might want to consider spraying your ornaments with a couple coats of acrylic spray to prevent damage from wet or sticky fingers. Just a thought!

So! Now you absolutely have no excuse for not making an Advent Calendar this year.

And I promise you are going to totally love how Fanie's whimsical ornaments brighten your holiday spirit every single day of Advent.

Fridge Magnet Advent Count Down Tree

Added December 2013:  This year i added an extra "bottom" to my tree!  Lots more room for ornaments!  Read more here!

This is too cool! Thank you

This is too cool! Thank you very much!!!

Thanks!! It was so great to

Thanks!! It was so great to have something that looked so good, was quick and easy - one evening!! I've posted pictures on my blog - http://kateoz.blogspot.com/2010/11/magnetic-advent-calendar.html
Thanks so much for your generosity....

Pam, This is simply

Pam, This is simply wonderful. I've really been interested in doing an advent calendar, but I'm one of those busy moms you mentioned. I definitely wouldn't have had time to put together something this cool.

My son is nearly two years old and is quite the blossoming little color-er. I plan to print off the black and white version, and let him color a new ornament for the tree every day. (Thanks for the tip on those *washable* felt tip markers, BTW. I was a little worried what Sharpies would do to his little fingers!)

I'm actually thinking I may make this a holiday tradition. Mark each year's ornaments with his name & age on the back, and hold onto them as keepsakes. Then let him color a new set the next year. One of these years, he may even start coloring *inside* the lines! ;-)

This is very generous of you

This is very generous of you guys! I am solidly in the holiday spirit, and my kids LOVE magnets, so I can't wait to print everything!

Pam, I LOVE this! I am

Pam,
I LOVE this! I am printing them out right now. I want to make up a few batches for my daycare children to have as well! Thanks so much! I'll head over to Fanie's site right now to get the ornaments and thank her, too! Such a brilliant, quick, and cute idea! I also happen to have huge rolls of magnet that I'm always looking for a way to use! Thanks so much for this!
As always, I totally love you!
Rebecca@RootsAndWingsCo
ps my version will be mod podged from typing paper because of the type of magnet that I have on hand. Even with that extra step these will be so quick and easy! LOVE it!

I am sooo doing this for my

I am sooo doing this for my daughter! I have made some magnetic paper dolls for her and she loves to play with them on the fridge. Thank you!

I purchased a package of 12 adhesive magnetic 8 1/2" x 11" sheets from Oriental Trading Company for $9.99 plus shipping. But, they can't be run through the printer.

Excellent idea! I think I

Excellent idea! I think I need to get to the craft/office supply store to get some magnetic sheets. My little Grandsons (2,4) would love this. They have regular Advent Calendars with the pockets but this one is interactive for them. I think I will print out the black and white so they can color theirs. That way Mom and Dad can have their artwork on the fridge.

Oh you clever girl! I love

Oh you clever girl! I love magnetic projects. Though we can't actually use this one because our fridge in encased in a wooden cabinet like lots of UK fridges, my children will love this idea anyway. I'm quite sure magnetic printer sheets are also out of the question around here but they would have been perfect for our personalized paper dolls on a baking sheet project... phewy!
A really successful collaboration, wonderful ladies :)
PS, I like your colours too - very Dr Suess

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