Christmas Advent Calendar Wall Chart (full tutorial with free printables!)

I love Christmas. It’s my favourite time of year. So, it seemed only fitting that my advent calendar should bring together a few more of my most fave things; wall charts, chalkboards, typography and bakers twine!

Advent Calendar Wall Chart (with FREE printables!) | The Painted Hive

The countdown to Christmas day isn’t something I’ve given much thought to since childhood, though now with little kids of my own, it’s once again a time to celebrate. My vision is for this advent ritual to become a special family tradition which builds fond future memories (for myself, hubby and the kids).

This calendar was part-inspired by the old-fashioned borrowing system used at my primary school library (where there was a wall of modified envelopes filled with laminated borrowing cards) and features faux chalkboard date pockets which each hold a cute little shipping tag ready to be hung on the tree. The tags are adorned with a decorative snowflake and lyrics from ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’.

I really love the look of this calendar – it’s big, eye-catching, vintage-esque and gives just a subtle nod to the festive season – and am already kinda lamenting having to eventually take it down :( Though, thanks to its re-usable nature, I’m also looking forward to hanging it again next year!

This project is really easy, super affordable and completely rewarding (oh, and kinda awesome too :-). It’s also a project the kids can help with, and…there’s still plenty of time to have it complete before the start of December!

You will need…

DIY Advent Calendar Wall Chart Supplies

1 Fabric. I used lined (backed) seeded calico (from Spotlight). Of course you could use almost anything. I chose the calico because it had a lovely organic look and a nice medium weight (due to the backing). Plus, at only $5 a meter (on sale) it was also super affordable.

2 Hemming tape. Obviously, this is to hem the fabric. You could choose to sew the hems, use fabric grade double sided tape or fabric glue.

3 Timber trim. I used 18mm (3/4″) half dowel.

4 Timber stain. I used water-based interior stain in Walnut.

5 Double sided tape.

6 Thumb tacks or upholstery pins.

7 Hanging string. I used twine.

8 Paper. I used good quality photo paper though you could simply use standard copier paper. Light cardstock would also be good.

9 Shipping tags. I used 108mm x 54mm (4 1/4″ x 2 1/8″) tags (from Officeworks). I wanted the simplicity of traditional buff though you can find them in lots of pretty colours. Red would be nice.

10 Bakers twine. I used traditional red and white (from eBay) though you can buy it in lots of colours.

11 Acetone. For transferring the chart title onto the fabric. There are quite a few different mediums you can use for fabric transfers (Citrasolv and Artist Gel Medium being two popular ones). I found the acetone worked really well for me.

You will also need these completely free printables (click to view and download)…

Chalkboard Tag Pockets
Shipping Tag Template & Graphics
Calendar Chart Title

Free for personal use only.
Republication, reproduction or redistribution in any form is forbidden.

DIY Advent Calendar Wall Chart

STEP 1 Cut and hem your fabric.

Cut your fabric into a rectangle measuring approximately 950mm x 650mm (1 yard x 25″) then hem all four sides. As mentioned in the supplies section, I used iron bond hemming tape to fuse my hems though you could sew them, or adhere them with fabric grade double sided tape or fabric glue.

How To Make an Advent Calendar

STEP 2 Cut and stain your trim.

Cut your timber trim so it overhangs the fabric by around 15mm (1/2″) at each end. If necessary, lightly sand it then tint with timber stain.

Create a Wall Chart Advent Calendar | The Painted Hive

STEP 3 Attach your trim and create the hanging string.

Run strips of double sided tape along the rear of your trim, lay the pieces in place on your fabric then press down firmly. Flip the fabric over and push in five thumb tacks along each length of trim to secure them in position. At one end, create the hanging string by winding some twine around two thumb tack stems prior to pushing them in completely. Depending on the density of your timber trim and/or the strength of your fingers, you may need to tap the tacks in with a hammer (or, in my case, the flat end of a logistically convenient meat mallet!).

Faux Chalkboard Pocket Assembly | The Painted Hive

STEP 4 Make and attach your faux chalkboard pockets (printable supplied).

How to assemble a pocket (visual guide above):

1 Print out page one of the ‘Chalkboard Tag Pockets‘ printable.

2 Cut around the outline for the number ‘1’ pocket.

3 Fold along the dotted lines. Take care to fold a smidgen inside/outside (as applicable) the lines so they aren’t visible on the finished pocket.

4 Use double sided tape to secure the top and bottom ends first (these ends are both doubled-over to hide any white paper and reinforce the pocket opening).

5 Punch (or cut) a semi-circle in the top of the pocket front. This isn’t essential, I just think it looks nice.

6 Fold up the back and use double sided tape to secure the rear flaps.

Once all 25 pockets are assembled, lay them out in position on your fabric then attach them using double sided tape. I just eyed this process though you could measure and mark.

Christmas Advent Calendar Wall Chart (with free printable pockets & tags!) | The Painted Hive

NOTE: Double sided tape works fantastically for this project. It holds the pockets perfectly in place though can be easily peeled off the fabric if required. This is great if you need to reposition a pocket. It’s also handy if you want to remove the pockets for storage purposes – simply peel them off and stack them with a square of grease proof baking paper in between each layer. And, if in a few years time the pockets need updating, you can also easily and super cheaply create a whole new batch!

How To Print Onto Shipping Tags | The Painted Hive

STEP 5 Print onto your tags (printable supplied) and attach the bakers twine.

How to create the tags (visual guide above):

1 Print out a copy of the shipping tag template (page one of the ‘Shipping Tag Template and Graphics‘ printable). Remember, this template uses 108mm x 54mm (4 1/4″ x 2 1/8″) tags.

2 Place a tag over each tag outline and secure temporarily in place with low tack tape. If your tape is too sticky it could tear the tags when you remove it so if necessary dull the tack by pressing on a cloth.

3 Insert the sheet complete with tags into your printer as per usual and print page two (remember, page one is the template) of the ‘Shipping Tag Template and Graphics‘ printable onto the tags.

4 Repeat with the remaining four pages until you have printed onto all 25 tags. When printing the 25th tag you need only tape one tag over the top center outline of the template.

5 Carefully peel off the tape.

6 Thread each tag with a bakers twine loop then insert into the date pockets.

DIY Shipping Tag Christmas Advent | The Painted Hive

I chose to adorn my tags with decorative snowflakes and the lyrics from ‘Santa Claus is Coming to Town’ for something whimsical and light-hearted.

Fabric Transfer with Acetone | The Painted Hive

STEP 6 Add the calendar chart title (printable supplied).

How to transfer onto fabric (visual guide above):

1 Print out the ‘Calendar Chart Title‘ using a laser printer or have it copied using a laser photocopier (inkjet will not work for this process) then cut out each line of text (it has been fragmented because it is larger than one standard letter sized sheet of paper) and reassemble it in position right side down on your chart. Secure temporarily in place with tape.

2 Working in small sections, brush on some acetone.

3 Whilst still damp use a hard smooth implement (such as a spoon) to burnish the text, transferring it from the paper to the fabric. Lift the corner of the paper from time to time to check the transference progress.

Advent Calendar (How to Transfer onto Fabric) The Painted Hive

This transfer method creates faded, distressed, aged looking graphics, which is just what I wanted for this project. It also leaves no visible residue so post washing isn’t required.

Christmas Advent Calendar (with free printables!) | The Painted Hive

STEP 7 Hang your chart and let the countdown begin!

On each day of December leading up to Christmas take a tag from the corresponding date pocket and hang it on your tree. I couldn’t resist sneaking in a few random sweets too and I’m also going to include a simple activity every third day (such as ‘write a letter to Santa’ or ‘choose a toy to donate’). Of course you could fill the pockets with whatever you like!

DIY Christmas Advent Calendar Wall Chart | The Painted Hive

There are so many ways you can tweak this project to really make it your own. And whilst I know super fast crafty projects are all the rage right now, occasionally it’s nice to take a little more time to create something that’s just that bit special (not that this particular project is overly labor intensive).

Oh, and for all my lovely Facebook friends…this project is what I had planned for the shipping tags I posted about here.

DIY Christmas Advent Calendar Wall Chart (with FREE printables) | The Painted Hive

I know it’s unusual for a ‘home’ blogger, though as I’ve confessed before, seasonal decorating isn’t a huge priority to me (I’m having enough trouble finding time for regular decorating!). This idea was just something I couldn’t ignore and I truly hope it helps inspire!


This project was originally developed by myself for IGA.


Chalkboard Tag Pockets
Shipping Tag Template & Graphics
Calendar Chart Title

Free for personal use only.
Republication, reproduction or redistribution in any form is forbidden.


How to Add Decorative Trim to Door Frames

This is part two in a three post series covering the transformation of bi-folds into barn doors. You can read the first post here.

When I was hunting down inspiration for the transformation of Charlotte’s bi-fold doors, I came across an old photo on a woodworking forum of some interior doors with decorative head trim. I know ornamental architraves aren’t exactly a new concept, though for whatever reason this particular picture really caught my eye and made me wonder about the possibility of incorporating something similar (sorry I can’t share the photo – I never bookmarked the site and can’t find it again!).

So I took some measurements and rendered up a rough preliminary concept…

Adding Molding to Door Frames (The Plan) | The Painted Hive

…then headed into Masters to see what I could find for my project.

Despite feeling that at any moment I am going to be mistaken for lost, intercepted by some well-meaning store assistant and promptly escorted to the nearest ‘decorator’ item, I always peruse the timber department when I’m at the hardware store. Being a budget-concious, cosmetic-focused home improver, many of my DIY projects rely on timber trims, panels and mouldings. Much of the time I struggle to find just what I’m after, especially when it comes to mouldings, though fortunately it didn’t take me long to track down exactly what I needed at Masters.

DIY: Adding Moulding to Door Frames (Supplies) | The Painted Hive

1 Timber plank (to give height to the existing frame and act as a base for the moulding). I used a piece of Poplar DAR which was 12mm deep (the same depth as my existing frame) x 140mm high. This piece will abut the top of the existing door frame to give a seamless illusion of more height so obviously it needs to have the same depth as the existing door frame.

2 Timber moulding (to provide the decorative crown). I used a piece of primed MDF arch moulding.

3 Timber trim (to hide the join where the new plank and existing door frame meet). I used a simple piece of rectangular pine DAR (Dressed All Round).

4 Liquid nails.

5 Finishing nails.

6 Spak.

7 Paint. I used an all-in-one primer for the base coat and the left-over paint we had from originally painting our architrave for the top coat.

How To Add Decorative Trim to Door Frames | The Painted Hive

STEP 1 Cut your timber plank to the same width as your door frame.

Measure the width of your door frame then cut your timber plank to match (see inset pic). Remember, this piece of wood will be positioned directly above the door and the idea is for it to adjoin the existing frame seamlessly. Of course you can use any kind of saw though I was lucky to test out my new sliding mitre saw and it was AWESOME! Lightly sand the cut to smooth any roughness if needed.

How To Add Decorative Trim to Door Frames | The Painted Hive

STEP 2 Compound mitre your moulding with the blade tilted to 45 degrees.

This is kinda tricky to explain and much easier to understand when you’re actually doing it! You want to create two compound mitred corners, where the timber wraps seamlessly around the corner. To do this, you need to use a mitre saw with the blade tilted to 45 degrees (you can see in the above photograph how the blade is tilted – not straight as in Step 1). First, cut each end of your face moulding keeping in mind that the finished length of the inside edge (the short side) needs to match that of your plank (from Step 1), not the outside edge (the long side). Confused yet? Like I said, much easier to understand in practice! Next, still using the saw at 45 degrees, cut two return pieces which will form the ends. These return pieces will have one flat cut (where they abut the wall) and one mitred cut (where they join the face moulding – refer to the inset pic).

DIY: Adding Moulding to Door Frames | The Painted Hive

STEP 3 Cut your trim.

If you are using a square or rectangular piece of trim (like I am) there is no need to mitre it. Simply cut a face length to overhang your door frame on each end by the depth of your trim (for example, my door frame is 900mm wide and my trim was 12mm deep, so I cut it to 924mm). Then cut two small return pieces to fit between it and the wall (refer to inset pic). Sand any rough edges.

DIY: Adding Moulding to Door Frames | The Painted Hive

STEP 4 Attach your moulding to your plank.

Attach the face moulding first. Run a squiggly bead of liquid nails along its length, position it on your plank then carefully clamp it down (I used G clamps). You may want to use blocks or pads to prevent the clamp feet from damaging your moulding. Wipe away any excess glue with a dry cloth. Allow to set.

To attach the returns, apply a sparing amount of liquid nails, position them in place then clamp (I used a picture frame clamp though as the return pieces are only small you could simply use tape to hold them in place until set).

How to Add a Decorative Head to Door Frames | The Painted Hive

STEP 5 Attach the plank, complete with moulding, to your wall.

Hold your plank in position above the door frame and hammer in at least three long finishing nails. There should be a structural stud running along the top of the door frame so hammer the nails in toward the base of the plank to ensure you catch the stud. If needed, use a punch to recess the nail heads. You could forgo nails and simply glue the plank in place if desired.

DIY: Adding Moulding to Door Frames | The Painted Hive

STEP 6 Attach your covering trim.

First, attach the face trim. Hold it in position over the join where the existing door frame meets the plank then either glue or nail it in place. My trim is pretty chunky so I opted for nails. Glue would be better for fine trim. If using nails, obviously try and avoid the gap beneath the trim where the two pieces of timber meet.

Next, attach the return trim pieces with some liquid nails then use tape to hold them in place while the glue sets.

DIY: Adding Moulding to Door Frames | The Painted Hive

STEP 7 Fill any nail holes and conspicuous gaps.

Use some spak to conceal the nail holes and fill any noticeable gaps. I like to keep a damp rag and sharp implement on hand to keep things neat as I go. Once the spak is dry, sand lightly.

You can see in the above pic that I have also added a thin piece of trim to the top of the moulding. Of course this isn’t a necessity, I just felt it needed a little cap to finish it off. I simply cut a piece of timber to fit then glued it on.

DIY: Adding Moulding to Door Frames | The Painted Hive

STEP 8 Paint!

I applied one coat of prep and finished with two coats of white gloss acrylic (to match my existing architraves). Ahhh, the magic of paint!


Fini! Remember, this is only phase one of the door transformation so please try and ignore the visible gap at the top of the door, oh, and also maybe the fact it is a kinda ugly bi-fold with one lost-looking black nipple of a handle (that will all be changing soon)!

Now, here are some of those side-by-side before and afters I adore so much…

DIY: How to Add Moulding to Door Frames | The Painted Hive

I’ve gotta admit I am pretty stoked, and a tad surprised, with just how well this turned out. The virtual rendering was drawn-up on a whim to give a basic visual representation of the idea with no real ambition to actually replicate it though by chance it has turned out almost exactly the same! Freaky.

Now, onto stage two; the barn door cladding! Hmmm, wish me luck :-)

DIY: How to Add Decorative Moulding Trim to Door Frames | The Painted Hive




Masters Home Improvement

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This is part two in a three post series sponsored by Masters Home Improvement.
You can read part one here. All opinions expressed are my own.


Plush Rugs Giveaway: $400 Gift Certificate

You may have noticed that giveaways aren’t exactly common around here. I made the decision to be sparing with them because; 1) this is primarily a DIY decorating blog and the ethics nazi in me wants to keep the focus on just that, and 2) giveaways are pretty prolific in blogland already so standing out from the crowd is kinda tricky.

That said, giveaways offer some really fabulous pros. They are; 1) a great way to reward loyal readers, and 2) just plain fun!

Though, when you combine the aforementioned points with a desire to offer your audience something worthy of their readership it takes something pretty special to twist your arm.

Well, this amazing opportunity from Plush Rugs almost broke my wrist!

One lucky reader will win a $400 gift certificate to purchase any rug they like! There are thousands to choose from. You can search by size, colour, style and material, just to name a few.  They also carry all the major rug brands, such as Suyra and Karastan.

Here are just a few that caught my eye…

Giveaway: $400 Plush Rugs Voucher | The Painted Hive

1 Kas Porto Herringbone | 2 Jaipur Highlanders Aberdeen | 3 Surya Reeds | 4 Loloi Sahara | 5 Surya Country Jute | 6 KAS Izteca Chevron

Giveaway: $400 Plush Rugs Voucher | The Painted Hive

1 NuLoom Sketched Medallion | 2 Surya Fallon | 3 Brentwood | 4 NuLoom Sirius Trellis | 5 NuLoom Meredith Chevron | 6 NuLoom Lavanna Trellis

Giveaway: $400 Plush Rugs Voucher

1 Surya Frontier | 2 NuLoom Solid Trellis | 3 Surya Fallon | 4 NuLoom Delhi Chevron | 5 NuLoom Treillage | 6 NuLoom Star Trellis

Giveaway $400 Plush Rugs Voucher

1 Surya Farmhouse Stripes | 2 Surya Reeds | 3 Surya Matmi | 4 Surya Frontier | 5 Momeni Laguna | 6 Karastan Sierra

Giveaway: $400 Plush Rugs Voucher | The Painted Hive

1 Surya Frontier Lime | 2 Surya Frontier Jade | 3 Surya Frontier Papyrus | 4 Loloi Revive | 5 Chandra Strata | 6 Momeni Geo

Giveaway: $400 Plush Rugs Voucher

1 Surya Vintage Tan | 2 Surya Vintage Light Blue | 3 Surya Vintage Honey | 4 Surya Hillcrest | 5 Momeni Palace | 6 Surya Vintage Beige

If Plush Rugs was a beach, and the sand represented their volume of rugs, the above collection would merely account for the measly grains that get stuck between your toes! They literally have tens of thousands (yes, you read right!) to choose from!

Good luck to all entrants (and then good luck to the winner who actually has to decide on a rug)!

Giveaway: $400 Gift Certificate from Plush Rugs | The Painted Hive

‘Like’ Plush Rugs on Facebook or Google+ then comment on this post with the word “PLUSH”
‘Like’ The Painted Hive on Facebook then comment on this post with the word “LIKED”
Share this post on Facebook or Twitter then comment on this post with either the words “SHARED F” or “SHARED T”



Pinspiration and Blog Glitches

Here’s the thing…last night I published a pretty awesome giveaway post. This morning my heart sank just a bit when I noticed there was not one single comment on it :-(

After some rational investigation, followed by a slightly less-rational minor freak out, I discovered that the post never published to my feed (so none of my subscribers knew about it) and it also wasn’t showing on my homepage (so no-one who came to my site knew about it either).

Long story short, I’ve been forced to unpublished the giveaway post until the visibility issue is identified and resolved though will hopefully get it back up again next week (so keep an eye out!).

For now, though, here is a ‘test’ post disguised as an inspiration gallery featuring some of my latest fave pins :-)

 Black Study - New England Home

 New England Home

Fall Dining Room - Better Homes & Gardens

Better Homes & Gardens

Chevron Sitting Room

Pinterest (original source unknown)

Kitchen Wall Chart - Lingered Upon

Lingered Upon

Kitchen Notes

We Heart

Vintage Bathroom

Pinterest (original source unknown)

Living Space - Tillman Long Interiors

Tillman Long Interiors

Twin Bedroom

Pinterest (original source unknown)

Landscape Gallery - The Design Files

The Design Files

See what else I’m pinning…

Follow me on Pinterest!

Converting Bi-folds to Barn Doors (The Plan)

I’ve coveted barn style doors for almost as long as I can remember. Something about their exposed hardware, diagonal trim and gracious nod to yesteryear just gets me.

A few years back I tried quelling my desire for them with a simple barn door-esque update of my built-in master bedroom wardrobe

Faux Barn Style Door Makeover

…though still my craving lingered.

So, when it came time to transform our neglected guest room into a proper ‘big girl’s’ room for Charlotte, the boring bi-fold was high on my hit list. Though, rather than reach straight for the concrete boots, I thought I’d ‘take care of it’ in a more sustainable way with a little cosmetic rehab!

Bi-Fold Door Before

I’m going to keep the existing door, which is still in perfectly good nic, and simply clad the plain exterior in a decorative, yet simple, barn-style manner using trim, cosmetic hardware and a fresh lick of paint. I also plan to customise the outer frame with the seamless addition of some crown moulding.

Here are a few inspiration pics…

Barn Door Inspiration

Clockwise from top left:
House Beautiful | Design Sponge | Southern Living | Tillman Long Interiors | Decorpad | Dillon Kyle Architecture

And here is my rough rendered concept…

Barn Door Virtual Rendering

You can catch up with my previous posts about Charlotte’s room here.

Yep, I’m aware that barn doors are typically, though not exclusively, on sliding tracks though as I have no provisions for that I’m making the most of what I’ve got :-) And I’m not totally certain what’s going on with the whole dual tone thing…for whatever reason it’s just the vision I’ve had from the beginning.

My first port of call for this project was, of course, the hardware store. I’m fortunate to have a Masters within fifteen minutes of my home though before I dragged two unpredictable kids in-store I first jumped online to do some preliminary scouring.

I know from past experience that ideally proportioned timber trim can be pretty elusive, so I was kinda excited to see that Masters offers a completely FREE cutting service (which is also handy for minimizing those otherwise overly large lengths and panels to fit in your car). I also took advantage of their Live Chat (which I found via their Facebook page) to ask whether the cutting service extended to MDF (as, due to health concerns, this is no longer commonly practised). Not surprisingly, the answer was no. Though that’s okay, there’s always plywood instead.

Anyhoo, after a quick* visit to the actual store, here are some of the project materials and supplies I decided on (*warning: there is really no such thing as a “quick” visit to Masters. Home improvement distractions abound – in a very welcome way!)…

DIY Barn Door Supplies

There were three good options for the decorative cladding:
1 Primed MDF (64mm x 11mm x 2.4m long) $3.77 each.
2 DAR Poplar (64mm x 6mm x 1.2m long) $4.46 each.
3 Raw Plywood Board (1200mm x 900mm x 9mm) $16.89 each.
To keep costs low, and because I wanted something reasonably thin, I decided to go with the plywood board which I had cut (for FREE – awesome!) into 60mm wide lengths (15 in total).

I bought a $5 sample pot in a colour called ‘Lyndhurst Castle’ by Wattle. It’s a soft, yet warm, brown-green-grey.

No explanation needed :-)

And here is the splurge item I just couldn’t resist…

Bosch Sliding Mitre Saw

One of the best things about undertaking a project like this is having a somewhat legitimate excuse to finally purchase some of those loooooong desired DIY toys. Like this totally awesome sliding mitre saw which doubles as a hovering spacecraft when not in conventional use – handy. Can’t wait to try this baby out!

I’m still yet to choose hardware (hinges and handles) and am not totally certain how to go about the crown architrave though will be sure to divulge all in an upcoming post (which will feature a full tutorial and, of course, after pics!).

So, whada you think? What type of barn door would you opt for?



Masters Home Improvement

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This is part one in a three post series sponsored by Masters Home Improvement.
All opinions expressed are my own.