christmas countdown calendar…

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

it’s hard to imagine so many wonderful ideas could be packed into one project, but media team jan hobbins has wowed me once again.  be sure to check out her clever advent calendar project perfect to adorn your home this holiday season.  jan’s use of dies, layers, and embellishments is sure to inspire your christmas creativity too…t!m


Hi everyone, Jan here today sharing my first November tutorial for the Tim Holtz Media Team.  Now that my Fall and Halloween decorations are packed away, it’s time to think about Christmas.  Nothing like a big snowfall like the one we had here recently, to put one in the Christmas mood!  Lynette, a co-worker of mine created a Halloween countdown calendar using chicken wire a couple of years ago, and I’ve wanted to make one for Christmas ever since.


  • Surfaces: Speciality Stamping Paper, Frosted Sheets, Core-dinations Kraft Core, Postale Tissue Wrap, Grunge Paper, Merriment Paper Stash, Christmas Wishes Worn Book Cover
  • Layering Stencils: Doily
  • Dies: Seasons Greetings Stamp & Die set, Boughs of Holly, In The Bag, Jumbo Tattered Pinecone,  Stacked Snowflakes, Holiday Greens
  • Embossing Folders: Greetings & Greens
  • Embellishments: Numeric Alpha Parts, Paper String Striped Twine, Monocle, Tidings Token, Trinket Pin, Snowflakes Adornment, Christmas Remnant Rubs, Hinge Clips, Christmas Word Bands
  • Distress Ink: Frayed Burlap, Brushed Corduroy, Vintage Photo
  • Distress Stain Spray: Antique Linen, Peeled Paint, Tarnished Brass
  • Distress Markers: Brushed Corduroy, Iced Spruce, Fired Brick, Forest Moss, Crushed Olive, Bundled Sage
  • Distress Paint: Picket Fence
  • Distress Glitter: Rock Candy
  • Archival Ink: Jet Black
  • Alcohol Ink: Snow Cap
  • Mediums: Glossy Accents, Matte Multi Medium
  • Adhesive: hot glue gun
  • Tools: Vagabond, Sizzix Magnetic Platform; Water Brush, Mini Blending Foam, Craft Sheet, Sanding Grip, Drill Punch; staple gun
  • Other: 11” x 14” Frame, chicken wire, thin wire

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

First off, cut a piece of chicken wire that fits an empty 11” x 14” frame.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

Using a staple gun, staple the wire to the back of your frame.  This chicken wire, for some reason, had a an extra wire on one side.  I ended up clipping it and wrapping the wires around to hide the ends.  I added a bit of Snow Cap Alcohol Ink to my wire, to tone down the silver.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

I wanted a small base on my frame so I could glue my greenery on it.  I took a piece of 6 x 12 grunge paper and a glued on a piece of Merriment paper with Ranger’s Matte Multi Medium.  Next I die-cut three sides ( the flat side was covered by the book) with the One the Edge Boughs of Holly die.  The length ended up about 7” and the width just under 6”.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

Next, I sprayed my die-cut square with Antique Linen and Peeled Paint Distress Spray Stains.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

With a small hole punch, I punched the top corners and the bottom right.  Using very fine wire, I attached my die-cut to the chicken wire, through the punched out holes.  I find that grunge paper can withstand the added weight and the holes wouldn’t tear as easy, as opposed to chipboard.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

I used the Christmas Wishes Worn Cover for my next embellishment.  This is going to be used for storing my countdown numbers.  I did not bend the spine at this point, I just left it flat.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

I die cut a small holder using Tim’s In the Bag die and paper from the Merriment Collection.  Ink the edges and assemble.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

I matted and adhered a piece from the Christmas Ephemera package for the front of my bag.  I then adhered the bad to the inside of my book.  It is glued a little closer to the outside so my book front closes.  I just bent the back of my spine, as I didn’t want it in full book width.  The front of the spine is just slightly bent.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

The front of my book is decorated using the Tim Holtz Season’s Greetings Framelits and Stamp die set.  I started off stamping my wreath and poinsettia images with Ranger’s speciality stamping paper and black archival ink. I then cut out the stamped images with the matching framelits.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

For added dimension, I embossed the wreath with the Greetings and Greens Texture Fade set.  I love it when there’s an embossing folder that matches dies, for added textures.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

Using my Distress Markers, I added in a bit of color to my stamped image.  I wanted to tone down the white, so I used a lighter color to shadow around the black images.  After this, I applied glossy accents to the solid black leaves, berries and my poinsettias.   I immediately applied Distress Rock Candy Glitter and set aside to dry.  I can’t stop using this glitter on my Christmas projects, it gives everything a vintage frosty look.  Once these pieces were dry, I adhered the poinsettias to the wreath, and the wreath to the front of my book.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

For my countdown cards, I used different designs from the 3 1/2 x 2 1/2 ATC size designs in the Merriment collection.  The corners were trimmed with a corner punch and then the edges inked.  The adhesive backed numbers are the Idea-olgy Numeric Alpha Parts.  I was short a number two, but there is the word twenty, which works perfectly!

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

The number cards fit perfectly in their holder.  It was a little tight, as my cards ended up thicker because of the alpha parts, but two will always be on the wire.  I punched small holes in the top corners and bottom right corner of my book and attached it to my frame the same way as my holly die-cut.  I know this is now discontinued, but I used my Tim Holtz drill punch for the holes in the thick book cover.  Love using this when using thicker material, especially when I want to punch a tiny hole (the smallest is about 1/16).

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

For my greenery corner, I die-cut two Tim Holtz Jumbo Tattered Pinecones out of Kraft Core cardstock.  Sand the edges.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

I lightly sprayed Picket Fence Distress Stain Spray on my pinecone die-cut.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

I immediately dabbed at it with a damp towel or a baby wipe to give it a more mottled look.  You could also lay a stencil on top and dab at the open areas if you would like a slight pattern.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

The pinecones were rolled and assembled following Sizzix’s PDF instruction sheet that is available on their website.  I then applied glossy accents, Distress Rock Candy glitter randomly.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

My snowflakes were made using Frosted Film Sheets from Idea-ology.  I applied Ranger’s Matte Multi- Medium, then adhered Postale Tissue Wrap Paper.  After I die-cut my snowflakes, I realized the tissue did not stay adhered to the film, so I applied Glossy Accents, which worked perfectly.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

I liked the idea of the snowflakes having a light translucent quality, but I still wanted a snowy look.  I took my Tim Holtz Doily stencil and applied Picket Fence Distress Spray Stain to my tissue covered frosted film.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

The snowflakes were die-cut using the Tim Holtz Stacked Snowflakes Bigz die.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

My greenery was cut out using various shades of green papers from Tim Holtz Seasonal Stash collection, Kraft-Core and the Sizzix Holiday Greens Thinlit set.  I think this is going to be my new favorite die set,… love all these greenery bits!  I lightly sprayed my greenery with Antique Linen and Tarnished Brass Distress Stain Spray.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

I used a hot glue gun to adhere all my greenery and pinecones.  The ends were tucked in under the book (this is why I didn’t attach this corner to the frame.  I also glued on my snowflakes, a few in the greenery and the others on the wire and frame.  I purposely glued a snowflake so it would stop the book from opening while hanging up.  Because it’s plastic, it’s strong enough to hold and won’t break.

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

To finish off my Countdown Calendar, I threaded Paper String Striped Twine through the holes of my book spine, along with a Christmas Word Band, and tied in a bow.  Hanging from the bow, is a Snowflakes Adornment, Monocle, Tidings Token, and Trinket pin.  All of these pieces were painted with Picket Fence paint, which was then lightly rubbed off.  I applied glossy accents to a few areas, then Distress Rock Candy glitter.  The monocle has a white rub-on from the Christmastime Remnant Rubs.  The number cards are attached to my frame with the Idea-ology Hinge Clips.

I hope you enjoyed my Countdown Calendar tutorial.  There’s still time to make one before we all start counting down!  I left the inside cover empty on my book, but I was thinking of putting a flat pocket there.  When my children were little we had a countdown calendar that, instead of treats, had small strips of paper with different Christmas activities written on each day.  It really got us in the Christmas Spirit!

Thanks for stopping by,


*be sure to check your local stores for these supplies or you can click the links below to purchase online…

(SSS=simon says stamp / IE=inspiration emporium)

Worn Covers Christmas Wishes (IE|SSS)
Merriment Paper Stash (SSS|IE)
Kraft-Core (IE|SSS)
Tissue Wrap Postale (SSS|IE)
Frosted (IE|SSS)
Grungepaper 6×12 (IE|SSS)
Specialty Stamping Paper (SSS|IE)
Doily Layering Stencil (IE|SSS)
Stacked Snowflakes (IE|SSS)
Jumbo Tattered Pinecone (SSS|IE)
In the Bag (IE|SSS)
Boughs of Holly (IE|SSS)
click here (SSS|IE)
Seasons Greetings Framelits (IE|SSS)
Greetings & Greens (SSS|IE)
Paper String Stripes (SSS|IE)
Remnant Rubs- Christmastime (IE|SSS)
Alpha Parts Numeric (IE|SSS)
Tidings Tokens (SSS|IE)
Snowflakes Adornments (IE|SSS)
Word Bands Christmas (IE|SSS)
click here (SSS|IE)
Trinket Pins (IE|SSS)
Vintage Photo Distress Ink (SSS|IE)
click here (SSS|IE)
Frayed Burlap Distress Ink (IE|SSS)
Jet Black Archival Pad (IE|SSS)
Antique Linen Distress Spray (IE|SSS)
Peeled Paint Distress Spray (SSS|IE)
Tarnished Brass Distress Spray (SSS|IE)
click here (SSS|IE)
click here (IE|SSS)
Crushed Olive Distress Marker (IE|SSS)
click here (SSS|IE)
Iced Spruce Distress Marker (IE|SSS)
click here (IE|SSS)
Picket Fence Distress Paint (SSS|IE)
click here (IE|SSS)
Snow Cap Alcohol Ink (IE|SSS)
Glossy Accents (SSS|IE)
Multi-Medium Matte (IE|SSS)
Water Brush Detailer (IE|SSS)
Sanding Grip (SSS|IE)
Drill Punch (IE|SSS)
Mini Ink Blending Tool (IE|SSS)
Craft Sheet (SSS|IE)
click here (IE|SSS)
Vagabond (IE|SSS)

Pin it to remember it!

Christmas Countdown Calendar by Jan Hobbins |

Don’t forget to follow Tim Holtz on Pinterest for more great ideas and inspiration!

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80 Comments to “christmas countdown calendar…”

  1. Millie says:

    Love Love Love It!!

  2. RandellynB says:

    Love this project! Wow the project this year with all the new product are absolutely fabulous!

  3. Rose Isch says:

    This is wonderful, now have to order more dies!

  4. Rose Isch says:

    This is wonderful, thanks for sharing!

  5. Wow!!! Wonderful project…LOVE IT ♥

  6. heather doute says:

    I can easily see this as a perpetual calender for any time of the year. I’m going to have to try something like this with the dies I have. It is projects like this that wish my college tuition wrecked budget had more funds for Tim Holtz supplies.

  7. Dorothy says:

    Love this, wish I had all of the supplies!

  8. Rosann says:

    I love this idea; love your choice of prints for the number cards and the bag !!

  9. laurie says:

    Wax paper was the trick!

  10. laurie says:

    I just purchased the Holiday Greens. I can not seem to get a good clean cut, is there a trick? I run it through 3 times. I havent tried using wax paper, not sure I need to?? I’m not using thick paper. I have the right plates…any help will be appreciated.

  11. I missed this over the weekend. So beautiful! I love everything Jan creates and this is exactly why.

  12. Kathryn Fraser says:

    This is divine. I wish I had more time between now and Christmas to make this! I’ve already got about 5 projects lined up to complete. (Not to mention all the products I would need to buy too!). Perhaps next year

  13. LynneZ says:

    Jan – I totally love your idea here. This is so very awesome. Thanks also for the great tutorial.

  14. Lagene says:

    What marvelous details you created for this amazing Christmas calendar!

  15. Gigi says:

    Jan, that is so “over the top” beautiful! Great job.

  16. Tommye Bell says:

    Wow! That’s awesome! TFS your talent with us.

  17. Carole12 says:

    Wow! Wow! J’adore

  18. Robin Parker says:

    Love this awesome xmas project…

  19. Helen Cooke says:

    Festive fun at its finest!!!

  20. Cindy Flynn says:

    wow, I absolutely love the advent calendar. I don’t own the dies but this is one I might have to save for…

  21. Maureen sala says:

    Wow. This is a fantastic project. Your artwork to transform paper is magical. Love the project


  22. Frankie says:

    This is just beautiful! Now I want so many of those supplies! 😀

  23. Blue Shirt says:

    Just beautiful. Do you think she’ll make one for ME?????

  24. stampersuzz says:


  25. Sue W. says:

    Fabulous idea! Love all the details, Jan.

  26. Retta says:

    How neat is this project? Great idea for a permanent seasonal decoration! I know I have some chicken wire out in the shed….I just have to find it! Thanks!

  27. ruby t says:

    yowza…this is am packed with great techniques. The bag inside the book is the best.

  28. Elisa Wellman says:

    Jan, this is quite simply the Best holiday project & I am quite looking forward to attempting it. While I do not have all the dies, I can surely improvise but not for those lucsious Greenery. Yum! Thanks for the clear directions, too

  29. Sharon Young says:

    What a fun way to count down and get into the spirit! So many cool techniques. The greens are a fabulous touch. Thanks for the inspiration.

  30. Violet says:

    What a lovely project. Love the snowflake die.

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