Count down the days until Christmas with this Advent calendar. Then put it to work as a display shelf the rest of the year.
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From 1/4 x 4 boards, cut four shelves (A) to length using a stop block for consistency. While your saw is set up, cut the case top and bottom (D) to length as well.
Cutting groups of parts to identical lengths is essential to assembling the grid for this display.
Cut the 4-inch partitions (B) and 5-inch partitions (C) to length. While the saw is set up to cut each group of parts, cut four 4-inch spacers and two 5-inch spacers from scrap pieces of 1 x 4 wood.
Mark the partition locations on both faces of each shelf. To begin assembling the grid, glue and clamp four short partitions to a shelf using spacers to help hold the partitions upright (Project Diagram, Drawing 1). Check that the partitions are 90 degrees to the shelf using a square. Repeat to create three more shelf assemblies using the 4-inch partitions.
Allow the glue to dry for at least three hours before handling the shelves.
Using a carpenter’s square to align the shelves, glue and clamp two assemblies so the partitions on one shelf align with the partitions of another shelf. Repeat for the other pair of shelves.
Separate the remaining partitions with 4-inch and 5-inch spacers, then glue and clamp the center partitions to the shelves of the subassemblies (Project Diagram, Drawing 2) to complete the grid.
Use a carpenter’s square to align the case bottom (D) with the shelves (A) as you glue and clamp it in place. Repeat for the case top.
Measure between the outside faces of the case top and bottom and cut the sides (E) to length. Glue and nail the sides to the top and bottom (Project Diagram, Drawing 2).
Cut the frame pieces (G) oversize. Then cut a 45-degree miter on one end. Hold the inside of the mitered end against an inside corner of the frame and mark the frame edge at the other inside corner. Cut the frame piece to length and cut the opposite frame piece to the same length.
Miter-cut the other two frame pieces to length. Glue and nail the frame to the case (Drawing 3).
Measure the back of the case and cut the back (F) to fit. Center the back on the case and drill 3/32-inch countersunk pilot holes through the back and into the case.
If you want a back without holiday colors to use the rest of the year, cut a second back, stack it on the other, and drill pilot holes through both backs into the case. Then add countersinks separately to each back. This will help make them interchangeable.
Temporarily screw the back in place on the case. Then use a pencil to lightly trace around the shelves and partitions for each opening. Remove the back, and mask off every other square with painter’s tape. Use a 1-inch roller to paint every other square red (Show Stopper shown). Remove the tape and let the final coat dry overnight. Then tape and paint the green (Fresh Arugula shown) squares.
Paint the rest of the case, including the back face and edges of the back (F) white (Snowbound shown). After the final coat dries overnight, screw the back to the case.
Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to glue one half of a 6-inch Hangman picture-hanging bracket through the back into the case top. Attach the other bracket to a wall using wall anchors as needed and hang the shelf. Attach felt pads to the bottom corners of the back to avoid marring the wall, and hang the case.
Wrap small boxes in the paper and ribbons of your choice.
Remove the wire rings from 25 round tags (#219413) and spray-paint them the color of your choice (metallic gold shown). After the final coat dries, label the tags 1 through 25 using a contrasting metallic color marker.
Spray-paint lengths of string to match the tags. Use the painted string to attach the tags to the packages so each number is visible from the front.
After hanging up the display box, fill it with colorful numbered boxes.