Sunday, July 26, 2015

Santa Pockets & Star Countdown Tutorial

Move the 5 point dimensional star from Dec. 1st along 
and up the pocket rows until Christmas Eve.
Components are connected with 15mm maille jump rings 
(and some brads) through small punch holes.
When fully assembled measures approx. 49" tall x 19" wide. 
Panels can be disassembled for easy storage for next Christmas.

(Requires 12x12 mat to cut large shapes.)

1. Identify and cut the shapes:
A head/beard base shape
B beard overlay
C face with features
D mouth overlay
E mustache
F hat base with fur trim & ball tassel shapes
G torso with reinforcing hanging bar
H upper arm (with separate tip)
I sleeve fur with trees
J mitten with separate thumb
K reinforcement circles for punch holes (48)
L star base  M star front   N star rims (5)

N-P pocket panel bases (3)
Q pockets (24; model uses 6 each of 4 papers)
R pocket rims (24)
S pocket numbers 1 thru 24
T belt bottom and tip layers
U buckle base and prong overlay
V hem fur trim with trees
W right boot assembly
X left boot assembly

15 mm black chain maille jump rings (21)
Medium brads: 13 white; 2 red; 7 pewter/gray
Eyelets: 5 medium
Ribbon or twine to hang

2. Prepare each pocket shape by bending side and bottom panels back from front panel, then bending mid-side perforation forward, tabs forward to form gusset. This will add dimension to the pocket to allow insertion of the dimensional star marker.

3. Glue the rim to the top edge of front panel

4. Center and attach numbers to pockets. (NOTE: number is shown here as example. Accuracy of number order placement will be easier once ALL pockets are in place on the three panels.)

5. Insert the pocket tabs into the corresponding cut slots on the base panel,
 then . . . .

. . . fold the tabs away from the pocket center and glue in place on the backside of the panel.

Attach all 24 pockets in this same manner, arranging in your own patchwork order, to fill all three panels, as shown in the following three images.

Also attach reinforcement circles at ring punch holes.

Here is the completed bottom panel for this sample project.

Here is the middle panel.

Here is the top panel.

NOTE: The top panel has pockets on the bottom row and top row only. Belt assembly covers the middle row of slots.

6. Assemble the buckle by positioning the overlay (with prong) over the left as shown here end of the base shape. Glue the edges that touch together, leaving the prong unattached.

7. Layer the belt base and belt tab shapes and glue together.

Slide the second-from-left hole punch over the prong tip . . . 

. . . and slide into position so that the blunt end lines up exactly with the outer edge of the buckle. Center top to bottom, and glue blunt end in place.

Also bend tab layers and slide under the right end of buckle as a realistic belt would do. (NOTE some of the images here do not have the tab inserted under the second side of the buckle.)

8. Position the upper assembly over the belt base, matching the hole punches shown in this image. Adjust then glue in place, including belt tip to base belt, and pront to buckle.

9. Position the belt assembly on the upper panel, with the belt's lower edge barely concealing the bottom pocket slots. Also line up the panel side and belt end edges, and glue in place.

10. Prepare face shape by attaching the mouth overlay shape as shown.

11. Position  beard overlay over face, overlapping a scant 1/4", with top edge even. Glue the overlapping edges together.

NOTE: though not shown here, it may be better procedure to work through the positioning with the beard base shape as a guide. A) position face/mouth assembly at top of beard base with top edge and hole punches aligned and temp tape or anchor in place; B) position beard overlay with hole punches lined up with beard base. 
C) Detach and glue the face and overlay shape edges.

12. Position (replace) face/beard assembly over beard base and glue in place. Position and attach cheek and eye pupil shapes into corresponding openings.

13. Position and attach cheek overlays, eyebrows.

Position and attach mustache, centered, with mouth shape exposed at lower center.  

Layer nose and overlay. Position partially in the nose recess, partially overlapping the mustache.

14. Layer the three tassel ball scalloped circles (rotate scallops to offset as shown) and glue together.

Position fur trim shape at hat lower edge with punch holes lined up exactly.

Position tassel ball centered over hat tip.

Optional: attach a second largest scallop circle shape behind the tassel to conceal the hat tip from the back.

15. Assemble the hat over the top of the head assembly, line up the hole punches, and attach with a series of white brads.

16. Position and attach the hang bar reinforcement shape on the backside of the torso shape. Insert and attach eyelets in the punch holes.

NOTE: hanging ribbon or twine can be threaded through the side pairs of eyelets or holes to create a "loop". The center hole is simply to reinforce the middle of the bar.

17. Attach the head to the torso shape by lining up the corresponding holes. Insert pewter or gray brads in the 7 holes, bend prongs on backside, etc.

18. Assemble the sleeve and mitten: position the arm tip at the end of the mitten shape with corresponding edges lined up. 
Hold in place while placing the end of the larger arm shape over the exposed backside of the mitten, arm and tip edges coming snugly together. Adjust as necessary and glue mitten in place to both shapes.

Repeat for both left and right arm assemblies.

19. Assemble the sleeve and hem fur strips by positioning and attaching the tree accents where the small guide marks indicate for tree base edges.

NOTE that the model project has trees cut from two greens.

20. Position the thumb along the inner edge of the mitten shape, with top angled edges even. 

Position sleeve fur strip approximately centered over the mitten-to-sleeve joint.

21. Assemble the left and right boots as shown, with reinforcement circles at upper punch holes, heel shape, bottom tread strips on top, contrast shape behind toe highlight cutout.

22. Assemble the bottom of the Santa by placing the boot upper edge UNDER the lower panel edge with punch holes lines up, with fur strip over the top.

Insert 6 white brads through all layers and secure on the backside.

23. Position each arm assembly with the inner tab inserted UNDER the torso side edge. Insert a red brad through the top hole and secure on the backside.

24. Prepare to assemble the remaining panels and elements by bending open the 21 jump rings.

(This is the package of chain maille 15mm black rings used in this project, from Darice, available at JoAnn Fabrics & Crafts.)

25. Insert open rings through punch holes of one panel, then through corresponding holes of upper panel.

NOTE: It may be helpful to place the two panels being joined back-to-back with holes lined up, then insert the ring end through the layered and lined up holes.

(This image shows ring attachment through a reinforcing back panel layer as well as the red face front panel; explained in step 29 .)

Shown here is the side ring(s) that will attach the top panel to torso and sleeve tab bottom punch hole.

26. Prepare the dimensional star marker shapes. 

Fold the star front perforations as "mountain" folds on each of the 5 radiating lines, then re-fold the shorter half of each line as a "valley" fold to produce the faceted star with ridges.

Layer the 5 star rim shapes one at a time and glue together into one thick rim, taking care to line up edges as exactly as possible.

27. Position the rim assembly over the backside of the star base shape, adjust so that all edges are exactly lined up, and glue in place.

28. Bend the star point tabs back. Apply glue to each, then . . . 

. . . place the star front into the base "tray", with fold edges and points inside the rim.

Work the star fully into position, using a blade tool like the spatula as necessary to force the point long fold edges down fully.

Apply pressure along the edges and at points until front is securely attached.

To use the countdown calendar, insert the star into pocket One on December 1st. On each successive day, move the star to the next pocket (pocket numbers match the day number).

29. To help arms stay in place, cut 3" circles, and fold in half. (Circles with perf lines are included the SVG Attic file.) Position the circle with fold or perf line vertical, in line with the joint between arm and panel. Glue the arm half to the arm backside.

Use temporary adhesive to attach the panel half of the circle in place. This will hopefully allow the circle connector to release, if you wish to disconnect the arms from torso for storage.

30. Thread a length of twine or ribbon through the back reinforcement paired holes and tie with a loop between long enough to suit your own hanging situation.

For this model project, four twine lengths were grouped, with the ends tied to the loop length in a double knot. Trimmed ends are hidden between the band and the torso shape.

To preserve the calendar from year to year, you may want to add additional backing to the panels, and other components. You may simply use a second cut shape, or as in this case, chipboard.

For Silhouette users, you can use "Remove Compound Path" feature. 1) place the panel shape on screen cutting board; 2) select panel/select "remove compound path"/de-select frame & holes/select and delete slots/select frame & holes/group.

Another method would be to simply glue the completed panel onto the center of a 12x12 reinforcement cardstock or chipboard sheet, use rotary equipment to trim away excess, then use a pointed tool such as an awl to punch the ring holes through the attached sheet at the panel's existing punch hole locations.

Double up boots, sleeves, hat also, as desired.


  1. oh la la !!!, j'adore noël et toutes les noëleries bien sûr!! ce père noël est magnifique et impressionnant, mon peit fils va être ravi
    toutes vos dernières créations sont géniales, j'ai toujours tellement hâte de découvrir vos nouveautés

    merci , bravo cordialement martine

    1. Merci a vous aussi. Encore vous avez me rendre heureuse. Ce mot "noeleries" est c'est magnifique. Je voudrais l'Americanize de quelque maniere d'autre! Je serais toute occupee en chasse pour les occasions de l'dire, entre aujourd'hui jusque noel, peu-tetre apres!

    2. Merci encore a vous. Comme toujours, vouz avez me rendre heureuse. Le mot-la, "noeleries", c'est magnifique. Je ne jamais le rencontre. Je serais en chasse de trouvais les occasions de l'ecrivez ou du dire, entre demain jusqu'au noel, peutetre apres!

  2. Coucou,
    Merci à vous de votre réponse et de votre gentillesse !
    je suis contente que noëlerie vous plaise, ici on utilise le mot
    noëlerie pour désigner toutes les décorations de noël, mais vous l'avez bien compris!
    en tous cas je ne cesserai de vous dire à quel point j'adore vos créations!

    magnifique, poetique,conception formidable ......merci, bravo @ bientôt