AE Update | A New Home For The Advent Boxes

Some of you might remember these Advent Boxes I put together back in 2007 (inspired by a project I'd seen in Martha Stewart's Kids magazine).

For the last couple of weeks I've been working on a project (with a bunch of help from Chris) to paint the one long wall in our laundry room with both magnetic + chalkboard paint. I thought this would be a cool spot for this Advent calendar and a cool place for Anna (and Simon) to use chalk or play with other magnets (like this alphabet set).

Here's a couple before photos of our laundry room (it's right off the kitchen):

I stripped off the wallpaper border and then we got down to business of painting the magnetic paint first.

A couple of coats later we added a couple coats of chalkboard paint (they were just about the same color) and called it good.

To get the boxes to "stick" to the wall I used magnetic tape from Michael's. I used 2-4 strips per box. I put a couple strips on before I could tell that the adhesive on the magnetic strips needed a bit more reinforcement so I used red line tape to stick the tape to the back of the boxes.

So far they seem to be sticking ok. I'm not planning to put anything heavy inside the boxes and anticipate that they will get re-arranged and moved around throughout the month.

Now if I could just change up the floors...

She seemed to like it.

He definitely liked it.

81 thoughts

  1. Amy

    2010-11-30 17:00:19 -0500

    Hey Ali, I love this idea! When we moved in to our new house a few months ago, we painted one of the walls in our son's playroom in chalkboard paint. He loves drawing on the wall and it is so great for fine motor (my son has hypotonia and is also on the autism spectrum).

    I also did your advent box project and just put a picture up on my blog - I love how it turned out! Thanks so much for the great inspiration =0)

  2. Heather T

    2010-11-30 17:13:54 -0500

    Love it! Now I'm searching my house for the appropriate wall to paint in just such a way! :)

  3. Terri Porter

    2010-11-30 17:33:13 -0500

    I finally got around to making my advent boxes this year after falling in love with yours in 2007. I used thumbtacks, as you said you did that first year, and it has worked out find. Surprising how well they stay up. It is on a wall where a large frame goes, so the holes in the wall from the thumbtacks will be covered up after I take down the advent boxes. I ended up buying a white frame at Hobby Lobby and framed in the grouping of boxes. Love how it looks. For kids the ages of yours, I think the magnet/chalkboard wall is brilliant! My advent boxes are for my grandson who is 9. I posted a picture of them on my blog at

  4. Amy P.

    2010-11-30 18:39:06 -0500

    Love this idea, I saw it on DIY network this weekend and thought to myself how cool- I would love to do it in my house!! Now I just have to find a wall....

  5. Deborah Klepac

    2010-11-30 19:03:20 -0500

    I think you should do something really spiffey (is that a real word?) with the switch plate cover. Love the idea of the magnets.

  6. Carey Bridges

    2010-11-30 19:03:36 -0500

    Magnetic paint is new to me too! Such a cool idea to combine with chalkboard paint!

  7. Melissa V.

    2010-11-30 19:11:18 -0500

    Love how this turned out! Love seeing how people decorate & organize. Would love to see more of your kitchen and your studio.

  8. carriep

    2010-11-30 19:31:38 -0500

    love this, I didn't even know there was magnetic paint! will look for it>

  9. Pam

    2010-11-30 20:13:49 -0500

    LOVE this!

  10. Leora Henkin

    2010-11-30 20:20:16 -0500

    Oh, I love this. I've wondered about both the magnetic and the chalkboard paint. You will have to to tell us how they hold up. I'm afraid my guys may have gotten too old, but I could always do it for myself!

  11. Vieve

    2010-11-30 20:28:59 -0500

    So freakin' cute. Once again, I can't wait to have a home where I can do projects like this. I am loving the chalkboard paint.

  12. Susi

    2010-11-30 21:40:46 -0500

    I'm now looking for a wall I can paint with magnetic and chalkboard paint! I love how you always share before, during and after photos. Happy Holidays to you and your beautiful family!

  13. Heather

    2010-11-30 22:58:01 -0500

    I love magnetic paint and also chalkboard paint- I just painted a wall in my girls' playroom and they love it! I have one question for all of you out there who have used the chalkboard paint as this was my first project- I purchased dustless chalk and let my kids "doodle" away- however- we are having a hard time erasing it- Any advice??? Thanks- and as always- Thanks for always inspiring!!!

  14. betsy berre

    2010-12-01 00:30:51 -0500

    i mentioned your post about the advent experiences, tried to link to shannon, but couldnt find her anymore

  15. Louise Fortune

    2010-12-01 01:33:05 -0500

    Oh for the space to do something like that !!

  16. Claire

    2010-12-01 05:43:29 -0500

    Ali - I also have a chalkboard wall that I use in my workroom... love it for working out design plans.

  17. Danielle Taylor

    2010-12-01 06:44:08 -0500


  18. Donna

    2010-12-01 08:44:15 -0500

    This is such an incredibly FABULOUS idea. I absolutely love it! Now I'm trying to think of a place to do this in my house (for me, LOL!, my kids are grown). Great job!

  19. sandy k

    2010-12-01 15:03:21 -0500

    i love this idea!! i always had trouble putting my boxes up and getting them to stay. this should be great ;)

  20. Advent::Counting Down the Days « life full of whimsy~chronicles of my life

    2010-12-02 08:11:41 -0500

    [...] together. It was just a great start to the season. I love the ideas of the boxes, especially like Ali’s and Sally’s . I didn’t want to make a new one this year, because I know I have one. I [...]

  21. Jo

    2010-12-03 06:51:19 -0500

    What a fab idea!

  22. Friday Finds 12.3.10

    2010-12-06 10:55:49 -0500

    [...] I love Ali Edward’s advent box display. She painted the laundry room with magnetic and chalkboard paint, and it will double as a play [...]

  23. Katie {choc0holic}

    2010-12-06 22:58:11 -0500

    Would you mind sharing what brand paints you used for this and whether or not you're pleased with them? I'm considering creating a magnetic chalkboard space in my craft room as I have a half of the room that my kids use and they would LOVE something like this. I just hesitate and worry that the chalkboard part won't work as well as I'd like it to be.

  24. Yan

    2010-12-07 11:53:09 -0500

    When I saw your post, I knew that's what I wanted for the bedroom that's about to turn into our home office, but read so many negative reviews on Lowe's and Home Depot websites that I am dubious about starting. How many coats of the magnetic paint did you put on? Which brand did you buy? Are you still happy with it?

  25. Melissa Darnall

    2011-11-30 01:39:31 -0500

    Ali. I am about to venture painting a wall of my kitchen in chalkboard paint and perhaps magnetic paint. Now that you have had it for awhile, do you still like it? Would you do it again, or are you SO OVER IT? Do you find the chalk dust unbearable? Thanks!

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