Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

November 30, 2010

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.


  • 1.
    dawn said…

    I love love this Ali….

  • 2.
    Beke said…

    aww wow. This is so great. I wish I had my own house (i rent) so I could do this :)

    • ….
      Asebert said…

      You can! Well I suppose you can’t paint the wall but you can have the advent calendar. I made one just like it but I used a cork board. Just make the boxes and then stick them to the cork board by pinning the box (on the inside) with a push pin!

    • ….
      Nicole said…

      When I was renting I wanted to do something similar so I bought a sheet of thin wood that we screwed into the wall and painted!! Just removed it and filled the holes when time to move. (And the magnetic chalkboard is now in the new playroom!)

      And I love the boxes. So cute!

    • ….
      Christi said…

      @Beke: you could use the 3M Command Strips to hold the boxes in place. They are *perfect* for hanging things temporarily.

  • 3.
    Brooke said…

    Funny to read this as I’m madly trying to type up my advent calendar inserts! I love that you can move the boxes around but would be a little scared that the kids would think it’s ok to draw on other walls. Sometimes I think that little voice in my head makes me a less fun Mum!

  • 4.
    Fanny said…

    Great idea! I love it!

  • 5.
    MichelleGB said…

    What a fabulous idea! I would love to do something like this…and have a laundry room too! :)

  • 6.
    Asta said…

    It’s wonderful!

  • 7.
    Beke said…

    ps…i think the floor tiles work really well with the new wall colour :)

  • 8.
    susan w said…


  • 9.
    Lee said…

    Wow, this turned out so well. Lucky you having such a well placed laundry room! Great idea :)

  • 10.
    Lana said…

    Awesome, Ali! I’m so glad that you found somewhere for these in your new home. And thank you – you’ve just reminded me to get my advent calendar out of the loft :)

  • 11.
    Louisa said…

    What a great idea! I love that it brings the Advent fun into the rest of the year.

  • 12.
    Marsaille said…

    Very cool! What a neat way to say “its ok to create”!

  • 13.
    Teresa said…

    I love these paints…once we get our house I was planning on painting a part pf my sons wall in his room so he can be creative! love the magnets for the boxes!

  • 14.
    Carla said…

    Hi Ali,

    I love the paint job. I have a can of chalkboard paint untouched downstairs and had planned to do a wall in my laundry room too, just never found the time, once again you’ve inspired me!

    If you want a quick fix for the laundry room floor, try painting that too. We painted our main bathroom linoleum floor, using porch paint. It’s durable and made a huge difference. We figured if we messed it up we would have to change it anyway, because it was ugly to begin with.

    I checked it out online and there are other time consuming steps that can be done too, like stripping the wax and base coats and top coats, etc. However, our paint store guy said to use the 2 coats of porch paint and your done. A year later it hasn’t chipped or faded or worn at all and we are still happy with the results. We went from a very stained grey, dated linoleum, to a deep dark chocolate brown. The downside is that porch paint can not be tinted to the exact color you want, but they do have a good selection.

  • 15.
    Jennifer Alfonso said…

    Love this Ali!

    • ….
      Vivi said…

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  • 16.
    katie said…

    what a great idea! If I were closer I’d come help you lay ceramic or wood floors. It’s really not as daunting as it seems. I think once you layed your own wood floor in there your whole house would be hardwood ;)

  • 17.
    Mandy said…

    Looks great Ali, and a great idea! We had the exact same floor in this house when we moved in (with country blue matching wallpaper with little yellow flowers on it.) I ignored it as long as I could, but about 2 years ago I got to cover it up with wood laminate. Love it!

  • 18.
    Ruth said…

    Such a cool idea.

  • 19.
    linda said…

    Great idea thanks

  • 20.
    Lisa W. said…

    Looks wonderful…my daughter would like to paint one wall in her room like that. Looks great. I never “KNEW” there was magnetic paint even out there…mmmmmmmmmmmm. Hardwood floors or big slate natural earth looking tiles would be oh so yummy in your kitchen and into laundry room. MMM Love to decorate, I could pop over and help with that:)

  • 21.
    EmmaJ said…

    So great! I love your advent boxes and made a similar one the same year. You are so inspiring.

  • 22.
    Ellen S. said…

    Great idea…fun and functional…I love it.

  • 23.
    Petra from NL said…

    Nice!! We still have magnetic paint waiting to be used. I think this is a nice idea for our home office too. Then I would have the chalkboard paint mixed in a different colour though…

  • 24.
    amy said…

    love it – it’s great!

  • 25.
    Alexandra said…

    Love this so much – super cool!! I adore chalkboards – my husband is a teacher and he has pulled them out of school dumpsters for me!! We have 3 huge ones… one in the kitchen, one in the garage and one in the kid’s playroom. Your kids will have so much fun with it :)

    Also loving your freshly painted kitchen – hope you’ll share more photos of it and any thoughts on painting kitchen cabinets. My honey coloured, oak cabinets are making me crazy – so anxious to paint them – would love any tips you might have.

  • 26.
    Kristi said…

    Love it! I’ve seen chalkboard paint, but magnetic paint is new to me! I can’t wait to check it out!

  • 27.
    Nicole LeBlanc said…

    Genius! Will be showing this project to my husband….now I need to find a place where I have that much wall space…my laundry room has no wall space left! Thanks for always showing your brilliant ideas to us all!

  • 28.
    steffb said…

    Hmmm, just got a lake cottage and was trying to figure out a wall to chalkboard paint – doh! The entry/laundry area will do just fine LOL. Love it ;-)

  • 29.
    Sally said…

    You lucky girl w/ a laundry room on the main level! What a great idea. This looks so cute!

  • 30.
    Tracy said…

    That is the coolest thing ever!!! I love it!

  • 31.
    cat123 said…

    i LOVE !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • 32.
    America said…

    That’s an awesome idea!! This will be my first year with the Advent Calendar and am a little lost on what to do. Wish I had time to do something like this, have always wanted the chalkboard wall paint!! Wonderful job!!!

  • 33.
    Gabi said…

    Such a cool project and idea! I love it!

  • 34.
    Jenni Hufford said…

    oohhh i love this! chalkboard paint also loved the peek in your kitchen – the glass cabinents are gorgeous!

  • 35.
    Dawaila said…

    Always wondered how that magnetic paint would work. Glad you tested it forme! Just never know what I will find on your blog, thanks.

  • 36.
    Katie said…

    We painted our dining room wall with magnetic paint years ago when we turned it into our desk room. Painted over it with bright yellow paint. Since dark grey is gloomy and well, dark. I found that you have to use alot – especially if cover with another color paint. Be prepared to paint. Flat magnets work best for putting stuff up on wall. Light weight items work best. Having something between the wall and magnet doesn’t work – hence flat strips of large pieces for anything paper size or use those those photo frames. I love it.

  • 37.
    marisa said…

    I did the same thing in our play room/family room. Not holding our magnets much lately though :( Not sure what happened

  • 38.
    Liz Ness said…

    How fun!

  • 39.
    Rebekah Pontow said…

    I’ve always wanted a chalk wall! So great and it makes your room look bigger! I bet the kids are loving it. Thanks for sharing!

  • 40.
    Cynthia H said…

    so cool! I love the merry christmas you wrote in the midst of it.

  • 41.
    Molly said…

    Very cool! Also like that shelf with hooks to the left of your (exterior?) door. Plenty of time for the floors … never a shortage of projects for the home.

  • 42.
    Anne said…

    The wall looks SO MUCH BETTER NOW! What a cooool thing for kids!! Great idea! I think I might have problems convincing my husband from this purpose for a wall… lol.
    Love from Germany!

  • 43.
    Charity said…

    What a great idea. I didn’t realize they had magnetic paint. We’ve been talking about putting a thin sheet of metal with rounded corners in my boys’ room, but I think this would work out so much better!

  • 44.
    liz kartchner said…

    always love those darn boxes… someday I will make some. :)

  • 45.
    Tamara said…

    I had no idea there was such a thing as magnetic paint, or that you could paint over it and not lose the magnetic nature of the paint. Love these tips! Thanks so much :)

  • 46.
    madeline St onge said…

    Love that wall Ali, what a good idea. The kids are going to have so much fun with it

  • 47.
    jenn said…

    The wall looks awesome! I think this could be an inexpensive solution to your changing up your floor:

    the boxes look like a 3D art installation!

  • 48.
    annette said…

    Great idea!!!!!!!!!

  • 49.

    love this! I did an advent frame as well when I saw yours, but alas – the fabric backing is coming off [I didn't secure quite so well]- I may neeed to replace the whole back with a board painted with magnet / chalkboard paint – my husband bought some on sale a few months ago! Wheee! Thanks so much for sharing – your wall is fantasitic btw [Wonder what one wall inour playroom would look like black?- J

  • 50.
    Terri Lynn said…

    Ali….I have a chalkboard wall and recommend ***Chalk Ink*** ( You will love them and their vibrant colors. It’s the chalk Starbucks uses for their chalkboard signs (I asked them…and they pointed me to Chalk Ink).

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