Whether your family celebrates Christmas or Hanukkah, a DIY Day-Counter makes for a festive treat and a super-simple craft project! It’s oh-so-easy to craft an advent calendar (where you open a new envelope for each of the 25 days leading up to Christmas) or a Hanukkah treat (where you open one envelope for each of the eight nights of the holiday).
Kraft Paper Envelopes: Available at Michaels; we used 3”x4” Kraft envelopes by Recollections; $1.49 for a 24 pack. michaels.com
Seasonal Washi Tape: Available at Michaels and the Paper Source; brands, patterns (we used special Christmas ones for the advent calendar and various blue patterns for the Hanukkah treats), and prices vary. michaels.com & papersource.com
Heat Embosser: Paper Source’s Heat Embossing Tool; $19.95. papersource.com
Stamp Pad: VersaMark Watermark Inkpad; available at Paper Source; $8.95. papersource.com
Embossing Powder: We used silver glitter, gold glitter, red glitter, green glitter, and white embossing powder; all by Ranger and available at Paper Source; $4.95-5.95 each. papersource.com
Stamps: We used rubber stamps in numbers 0-9 from Recollections Wood Stamp, Alphabet & Numbers Set, available at Michaels; $17.99. michaels.com
Twine: We used a more rustic-looking twine, but any kind of thin string, twine, or ribbon works; available at various prices at most grocery stores, craft stores, pharmacies (like RiteAid), or big box stores (like the Container Store or Target).
Note: You’ll want to complete steps 1-5 on each envelope before moving to step 6.
Step 1: Before you fill and seal your envelopes with Washi Tape, you’ll want to emboss your numbers on. Count out the number of envelopes you’ll need (either 25 or eight), plus a couple extra in case you want to practice. Use the inkpad to stamp the desired number on the envelope.
Step 2: Choose the color of embossing powder you want for the given number you’re working on (we used a mix of red, green, and white for Christmas, and silver and gold for Hanukkah). Sprinkle the powder on the stamped number, then shake the excess powder back into the container (you’ll likely want to lay down a piece of newspaper to catch stray powder and make for easy clean-up).
Step 3: Use the heat embosser to blast the stamp and powder with hot air until you see the change in color and consistency ripple over the number (shouldn’t take more than seven seconds or so). The embossed number cools and dries very quickly, but it’s best to set it aside and not touch for a couple minutes right after.
Step 4: Once you’re sure the number is cool and dry, fill the envelope with a treat. This could be anything from a sweet holiday note, coins or dollar bills for older kids, small candies, or seasonal trinkets. Just keep in mind that the smaller envelopes don’t offer much in the way of width, so be careful when filling them.
Step 5: Seal the envelope with festive Washi Tape. We alternated the holiday patterns for visual variety.
Step 6: Once you’ve stamped, embossed, filled, and sealed all your envelopes, thread your twine under the crease of the envelopes. We did five strands with five envelopes each for the advent calendar, and all eight on one for the Hanukkah counter, but you could divide the numbers differently depending on the space you’re working with.
Step 7: Hang your strands. Keep in mind that the filled envelopes will have some weight to them, so you’ll need to use small nails or thumbtacks. Finally, prepare to open one each day leading up to Christmas or during each night of Hanukkah!