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House of Boxes Advent Calendar Part 2

If you've been following along the last couple weeks, you know I've been working on a gingerbread house advent calendar constructed of boxes.

I have finished making 25 boxes and have put them together to build a gingerbread house.  Now it's all about the decorations.

decoration gingerbread house

How to make a gingerbread advent calendar from matchboxes
Make it!

Instructions for making the boxes were in the previous post.  You should start there!

Some general notes on assembling the houses 

When adhering boxes together, be sure you are adhering wrapper to wrapper.  You should never be gluing or taping one box to the moving part (the drawer) of another box .   Why?  Because then the box will be glued shut!

The square boxes on the 4 corners of each layer can be turned to open either to the front or the side. I will show it one way, but feel free to turn the box 90° if you prefer.  This may depend upon your decorations, taking into account that anything on the front of a drawer has to be affixed in a way that still allows the drawer to function.

Scroll to the bottom for the 24 box gingerbread house option, and the 24 box farmhouse option.

Assembling the gingerbread (chalet) style house
--25 boxes--

Bottom Layer
Use 7 small boxes and 2 large boxes.

bottom layer

Adhere 4 small boxes, side by side.  Notice you are gluing the wrappers to each other and the drawers still open and close freely.

adhere boxes

Adhere each large box to a small box, mirror image of each other.

adhere other boxes

Arrange the boxes, adding the last small box.  It's at the top center of the photo.

 bottom layer

You will not glue any of these pieces together.  Every place with a red X is a place where one box wrapper meets the drawer of the adjacent box.  If you were to glue these, the drawers would not open.

do not glue

Instead, tape across the top of every place that is loose.  The tape does not impede the function of the drawers as it is adhered only to the wrappers.  Flip the boxes over and tape the bottom in the same way.

tape edges

Cut a square of mat board or cardboard, 7.5" square. This is the bottom of the house.  Use a generous amount of adhesive to stick the board to the bottom of this layer of boxes.  I prefer tape runner rather than liquid glue.

Middle Layer

Use 4 large boxes and 4 small boxes.

matchboxes for advent calendar

Adhere the side boxes, wrapper to wrapper (shown in yellow). 

glue boxes
Add the two small boxes.  These boxes are taped, not glued.

layer two

I used a lot of tape on this layer.  The glue runner wasn't holding the boxes together as well as I would have liked.  Flip over and tape the boxes on the other side.

Cut a 7.5" square of card stock and adhere to the bottom of this layer.

tape edges
Top Layer

Make another layer the same as the middle layer, using the remaining 8 boxes.

The Roof
Cut three (you may need more) 8" squares from very thick cardboard.

Cut one square on the diagonals to make four triangles.   You only need two of them.  These are the roof gables.

The two (or more) remaining squares will be the floor of the roof.  The floor needs to be about 1/2" thick to keep the roof overhang from getting in the way of the top row of drawers.  Since my cardboard was about 1/4" thick, I only needed two squares stacked on top of each other.

Back when you were cutting out your boxes you had some leftover strips that I told you to save.  Dig those up!

Glue the two 8" squares together, with a paper strip sandwiched between.  You need at least an inch sticking out from the sandwich.

cardboard base
glue base together

Glue a piece of paper strip on each triangle (roof gable) to make a hinge.

gable ends

Glue the gables to the roof using the hinges (on the inside) and the paper strips (on the outside) to help hold them in place.

construct roof

Prop them up with whatever you have, for the moment.
roof construction

Cut a ridge pole (center beam) for you roof.  The exact length will depend upon the thickness of the cardboard you are using.  Start with a piece that is too long, and snip it off until it fits between the gable ends.  Tape to the peak of the gables.

roof strut

Use a couple more paper strips to cover the bottom edges of the roof.

cover edges

Stack them up!

Stack your layers and adhere.  Word of warning: check that you have all the layers turned the right direction before you adhere them.  (I turned my top layer 90° by mistake.  It's not a tragedy, but I have to adjust the decorations for the front of the house.)

stack layers

stacked and glued boxes


24 box gingerbread house
Skip the bottom layer described above.  Instead, make a third layer like the middle and top layers, using 4 large boxes and 4 small boxes.

24 box farmhouse
Make three identical layers, 4 small boxes and 4 large boxes, arranged as shown below (top view of the layer).  Glue the boxes where they meet wrapper-to-wrapper, and tape where they meet wrapper to drawer.  Cut the cardboard base and layer bases  5.5" x 9.5".

diagram for house advent calendar

Next post, finishing and decorating!