Nina’s Altered Christmas Project # 1: Christmas Countdown

Hi! My name is Nina and I’m a stay-at-home mom and scrapbooker. I’m no expert at altered art so anything I can do, you can definitely do also.

This Christmas, I wanted to do some simple altered art projects just so I can finally use up some of my stash. We all have too much stuff. (C’mon, admit it!) And in order for us to make room for more, err, the new and whatever the future holds, we need to let go of the past. Agree?

So, I humbly present to you Nina’s Altered Christmas. Come back and play along with me as we explore 15 different altered art projects.

Nina’s Altered Christmas Project # 1: Christmas Countdown

The goods: So I grabbed some old CDs, 25 all in all, and a big CD plastic CD container. For the cover, I grabbed some Gauche Alchemy Wallpaper (love the red!) and the Lush Kit (which is all about wine so I thought, Christmas Cheers!). The round circles are patterned paper and two pieces of lovely cloth from the Lush Kit. The sticker “For this special occasion” is also from a sticker sheet from the Lush Kit.

The “Welcoming Christmas” cardboard is actually from the back of a Christmas card from GA’s December 2008 Kit.

The fairy and “welcome home” stickers are from my personal stash.

What I did for the CD container cover: Trace the CD container cover on the back of the Wallpaper. Cut out. My adhesive and sealant for this project is Acrylex Gel. But you can use other mediums, like gel medium or Mod Podge (available at the store). What I like about Acrylex Gel is it works wonders on glossy surfaces like CDs and you don’t need a base layer like Gesso (available at the store) to make sure whatever you paint or stick will stay stuck.

So this is how it looks like inside the CD container. As you can see, all you have to do is remove the top CD to reveal how many days are left until Christmas. (I still can’t believe it’s December 1 already! Where did the year go?)

The goods: an old vintage books, any patterned paper with Christmas countdown numbers (I used last year’s Making Memories paper), stickers, vintage stuff (preferably with images), patterned paper, everything but the kitchen sink (unless you want to include that also, maybe a picture?), anything flat that you can use to decorate the pages

What I did for the CDs: I grabbed an old vintagey book (got it from the used bookstore for like $.20) and ripped out 25 pages. I then stuck the front side of the CDs on each page. Let dry. Cut around the CD. Since the book pages I used are pretty fragile, I just punched the holes in the middle of the CDs with my finger. (Save those bits for a future project!) I also sealed the CDs with the book pages with my adhesive medium.

Then I just cut up my Christmas countdown paper (Making Memories) and stuck it on one side of the CD. If the numbers are too big, I had to make holes in them by tracing the back and cutting them out.


The goods: As I mentioned earlier, I used a vintage book, Making Memories patterned paper for the numbers, and of course more vintage goodness from Gauche Alchemy Kits. I used the Lush Kit, last year’s Christmas Kit, and stuff from my personal stash.

What I did: Here’s a quick tip so that your CDs all don’t look alike. Try to work randomly and not consecutive numbers to ensure that they don’t look alike. Sometimes, it’s easier to work with sticking the number down first since they’re big and there’s no room for much else. And sometimes, it’s easier to use an image first so that you can determine what size of number you need. For a more unified look, I worked with the text on the pages facing the same direction. Also, it’s fun to use chapter pages like “Chapter 20” for day 20.

For the last page, I used the clear CD cover inside the container and stuck down stickers from the Lush Kit. The “cheers” sticker was one whole sticker and I decided that I’d rather see the letters separated so I cut them up and stuck them on cardstock before sticking them down.

Parting words: So I know it’s December 1 and you may or may not have the energy/time/opportunity to make a countdown calendar. Your Christmas countdown calendar need not be as time-consuming as this one.

Some alternate Christmas countdown calendars:

Grab a magnetic board, a square piece of colorful cardstock and some magnetic numbers.

Get an old flip calendar and stick patterned paper and numbers on each page, back-to-back. Decorate with stickers or photos.

Get some hooks and stick them to the wall. Hang numbers on them and remove one each day.

 Inspiration: My favorite place around the holidays online is still Martha Stewart. This in particular is wonderful! Poke around for endless inspiration.

More tutorials: The amazing Tim Holtz has just started his 12 Tags of Christmas! So excited! Also, this year, I’m following Noreen’s 12 Days of Christmas. Check it out HERE.

I’m posting Project # 2: Cardboard Background Cards next!




8 Responses

  1. such a wonderful project!

  2. What a cool idea, that is awesome!

    P.S.-I’ve got my latest circle journal entry on my blog if you haven’t seen it already, I haven’t renewed my Flickr yet and can’t upload it to the group! lol

  3. Gorgeous project, Nina. What a fabby idea. And it’s a great way to use your scraps too. Well done.

    Since I’m fairly laid up, we are skipping advent for the first time in our kids lives – we usually make a huge production of it. Instead, we are stapling together garlands of mini candy canes, wrapped chocolates and saltwater taffy. They’ll snip one treat off per day until Christmas.

  4. Thanks for looking, ladies!

    Maggi, that is just such a gorgeous project! When you gals are done with it, you should definitely have it published in Somerset!

    Nicole, that sounds like a wonderful project. I think my son would’ve loved that better than this one. lol.


  5. the gogs in my noodle are happy looking at this Nina.

  6. Yay Nina…that’s fabulous!

  7. Love it Nina! I’ll be checking back tomorrow!

  8. very creative! great job, sis!

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