Sunday, November 1, 2009

Assembeling your Kaiser Craft Advent Calendars...

This is probably going to read far more complicated than it actually is. Hang tough, we will get through the project together. If you have questions, post a comment and I will try to answer it.

I found the instructions that KaiserCraft gives for the project too simplified. I am here to help fill in the blanks.

First of all you need to get your kit and sort it. You will see that there are strips of the dividers that come all connected and they need to be separated. Don't be tempted to just break them apart and start sanding. You will be sanding for much longer than you want to. I suggest you use a craft knife or utility scissor to cut the pieces apart as close to the edge as possible. This will minimize the sanding time.

I found that my little craft hammer like the Making Memories one I got with my eyelet setting kit came in handy to tap pieces in place. Just don't hammer directly on to your project. Use a scrap piece of wood to protect your project pieces when hammering.

Keep all like pieces together.
The piece I found most perplexing was the long skinny piece. When I made my first one, I didn't understand what is was for and assembled mine without it. Turns out that it is used to snug up the pieces together. Look at the bottom of the KC picture and notice there is a skinny strip on top of the bottom piece between it and the dividers.
My friend made hers with it and it turned out fine, I made mine without and it too turned out fine. You decide if it is needed or not.

So once you have all your pieces separated, sanded and organized it is time to paint. Now this is what I learned the hard way. I painted all of my pieces, assembled it and realized there were tons of gaps between the small divider pieces and the inside and outside walls. Turns out you need some craft glue suitable for wood to keep things all snuggly fit together. I then had to disassemble mine which was not fun as the notches from the dividers fit tightly into the back piece.

When you do get to the gluing stage, you will need to clamp the inside and outside wall together so that there are no gaps. I used painters tape for this as it is cheap, suitable for class purposes and easily does the job. The thing is, you don't want to apply tape to freshly painted pieces. I suggest you paint only those areas that are inside and hard to reach. This means all the little divider pieces and the insides of the walls and the portion of the back piece where all the drawers fit in. Make sense?

When your painted pieces have dried, grab your glue and a friend to help you hold the pieces together as you tape/clamp your project.
Tear off some strips of painters tape (low tack tape that is usually green in colour) and have it handy.
Put the small divider pieces in to the back. Pick one side to work on first and then apply glue to the edges of those dividers. Put in one inside wall piece and one outside wall piece. Place a piece of tape starting at the back and coming around over the front of the divider section and down the inside wall and on to the front. Make this as tight as you can. Repeat so that you have two pieces of tape clamping each side.
Now rotate your project and do the same for the next side. Repeat for each of the four sides.
Lastly, run the tape around the outside of the box to keep all your corners together.

So how complicated did that read?

When the glue has dried and you remove the tape, then you can finish painting. This way you don't ruin your paint job when you remove the tape. Now if you painted all your pieces a few days earlier, I think the paint should have dried well enough that you can use the tape on the painted surfaces.

What to do while the glue is drying and your project is setting up? The little boxes of course.

The wall of the boxes are 1-1/2" high but when you fold them up the bottom of the boxes makes the boxes just a wee bit taller. I cut strips of paper 1 -5/8" wide and I believe 7-1/2" long. You will need to cut 24 strips but cut one first and wrap it around the box. You should have about a 1/4" of overlap to adhere the paper together. If it is the right length, use this piece as your template piece. You will need to mark the placing of where you need to notch out that half circle for the front of the box. Lay down your strip of paper, place the front of the box over it, line it up with the top and then draw the half circle on to the strip of paper. Using a 3/4" punch and the drawn line as a guide, punch out the 1/2 circle. Check your fit. If it will wrap around your box nicely then use this piece to mark all your other pieces and then punch out the notch.
I just used my tape runner to adhere the paper to the boxes. You may chose to use a paper glue instead.

That is it for assembling. All you need to do now is your layout and all the fun decorating bits.

One last tip for painting the chipboard numbers that come with the kit.
If you are going to have them all the same colour, paint them while they are still on the sheet. You can always do touch ups after the numbers have dried and you have removed them from the backing. I used a Rangers Paint dauber in Pearl to paint mine.

Once you have your project finished, I suggest you post a picture of your advent calendar on the Kaiser Craft forum in the Beyond the Page section. Lets flood their forum with our projects and tell them that Brigit made me do it! LOL

Don't forget to post any questions you have here, I will look at my blog daily and provide what answers I can.
Have fun!


  1. Thank you so very much - this is just what I needed to help me complete my project!

  2. Thank you so much for going to this trouble. It was kind of daunting when I noticed there were no instructions with the kit.
    Thanks again.You have probably saved me a lot of time.

  3. This is brilliant! I never could figure out what that extra piece was for...
    Thank you so much!

  4. I ruined a couple of the little boxes( novice crafter here) and I was wondering if you had any suggestions on what to get to replace them. Thanks!