Washboard Decor (Advent Calendar Display)

This washboard decor idea is Part Two of the origami shirt advent calendar we showed you a few days ago. If you’re reading this post on Saturday, tomorrow is advent and we have one more creative idea to display the other 12 origami shirts we showed you how to make.

What could be a more perfect combo than shirts on a washboard? Read on, because this is only one half of our washboard decor – there’s more to come!

Vintage washboard decor displaying an advent calendar with 12 origami paper shirts

While we’re upcycling both these wash boards, you could probably get away with one large one instead if you prefer.

Two vintage washboards used for washboard decor

Do It Over Designers

Today we’re taking part in the Do It Over Designers blog Hop hosted by Ann at The Apple Street Cottage.

We’re a group of bloggers who take something old and/or unused and ‘do it over’ into something new. These items can be found in closets, barns, garages, yard sales, thrift stores, you name it! Don’t forget to check out the other projects at the bottom of this post. And be sure to drop back in throughout the week to visit them all!

Before we get into the tutorial, don’t forget to get your craft mojo on at Birdz of a Feather and subscribe! You can also follow us on Pinterest, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.

Watch this Fun Video

If you finger painted when you were a kid, you’re about to get reacquainted with it again. Watch the video to see how!

Materials for Wash Board Decor

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This post is sponsored by Dixie Belle Paint. All opinions are my own. Rest assured that we have used these products and would not share them with you if we weren’t absolutely thrilled with them!

Paint MDF with Chalk Paint

To start, we’re painting this MDF ‘family’ wreath. By the way, did you finger paint when you were in kindergarten? I sure did and today we’re bringing it back in a crafty way! We already started painting the MDF snowflakes.

MDF family wreath to embellish washboard decor

Kim and Garret Make It kindly sent us a few project kits to try last year and we’ve had so much fun coming up with interesting things to do with them. For example, we created a ‘light-up’ hat for the MDF Gnome DIY you see below (Part One of our advent calendar project). It’s just one example of the awesome unfinished projects they stock, so be sure to check them out for plenty of Christmas inspiration!

Advent calendar displayed on an upcycled sleigh

Dixie Belle Paint also sent us some goodies to complete this project. If you’re getting crafty before Christmas, this is the best paint to use indoors while the weather rages outside because there are no VOCs and no smell at all!

I’m using two colours of Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint: Fluff and Haint Blue for the wreath. Not only is this chalk paint non-toxic but it cleans up with soap and water. So I’m dipping right in and finger painting everything!

finger painting the MDF family wreath for the washboard decor

Since our previous advent calendar was so colourful, I’m using pretty pastel colours for this one! Although the camera doesn’t differentiate the colours well, I’m painting the leaves with Fluff and ‘Family’ with Haint blue.

Embellish Washboard Decor

Switching to a brush, I’m adding a beautiful shimmer to the snowflakes and Family with Dixie Belle’s Pearlescent glaze. Again, the camera doesn’t pick it up, but in person it’s so pretty!

Brushing pearlescent glaze onto MDF snowflakes for washboard decor

While that dries, let’s add some metallic finishes! For the gold, I’m using Gemstone Mousse in Golden Gem and for the silver accent, I’m using transfer foil. In all honesty, I wish I had some Diamond Gemstone Mousse – it would’ve be much faster and just as beautiful!

Gemstone Mousse and Transfer foil metallics for washboard decor

Back to finger painting again. I finger paint one of the snowflakes with Dixie Belle’s Gemstone Mousse.

Again, it’s water-based and non toxic so I can wash it right off. That reminds me; maybe we’ll watch Goldfinger over the holidays 🙂

Finger with gemstone mousse on it after finger painting it on an MDF snowflake for washboard decor

Before putting away the Mousse, paint some MDF letters gold too! For a blog that prides itself on the three R’s (reduce, reuse and recycle), I was dismayed to find that there were only two ‘R’s in the package of MDF letters we got from the dollar store. But that’s ok, we did manage to improvise another R!

To add the silver foil around the wreath, you have to paint on an adhesive and wait 10 minutes until it becomes tacky.

Then place a piece over the shape – shiny side up – and rub it on. I find that using something hard to scrape is the best way to adhere it to the wreath.

Before peeling the backing off, take a peek as you rub to check the progress of the transfer. If there is still areas without foil, go back and rub those spots again. When satisfied, peel it off and move onto the next leaf.

Clean the Washboard

In order to clean the washboard well, I pried off two boards nailed to the back to gain full access to the glass. I used glass cleaner to remove years of filth.

Assemble Washboard Decor

Now it’s time for the fun stuff! Gather some twine, sparkly laser tape and mini wood clothespins.

I painted enough letters to play with two wording ideas. Merry Christmas turned out to be too long for the width of the washboard.

Merry and Bright was just right! Below is the wallpaper I’m using to cover the signage on the fronts of each washboard. It’s from a wallpaper sample book we got for free! It pulls in the Fluff and Haint Blue colours of the chalk paint as well as the gold Gemstone Mousse! 

Create the Advent Calendar

First, working on the advent calendar, cut pieces of twine to span the width of the washboard. Measure how much distance you need to fit 12 origami shirts.

Then use invisible tape to secure the twine on both sides.

Run a piece of laser tape down the middle of each washboard leg right over the invisible tape holding the twine. Trim off any excess sticking out the sides.

Add a snowflake and the other 12 origiami shirts, from part 1 of this project, and you’ve got yourself another cute advent calendar idea! In reality, I may not hang the laundry out to dry (Hubs does the laundry around here), but I sure know how to craft it!

washboard decor advent calendar with 12 mini paper origami shirts

The other Christmas washboard decor got matching wallpaper, some snowflake embellishments and of course the family wreath.

washboard decor embellished with MDF family wreath and MDF snowflakes

Here they are together before we add them to our Christmas display.

Two upcycled washboards for washboard decor

I couldn’t wait to see how the other half of the advent calendar, the washboard, looks leaning up on our Christmas sleigh decor! It all looks so pretty together. We don’t have room for a tree, so this our our little slice of Christmas decor.

We hope you’re getting crafty by now for Christmas too; it really is the most wonderful time of the year! Check out these 31 Christmas Craft Ideas for Adults!

Pin Christmas Washboard Decor

Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!

Pinnable image for washboard decor

Do It Over Designers

Our talented blogger friends have some amazing and inspiring Christmas DIYs this month. Don’t forget to visit these posts for more upcycled do-it-over transformations!





33 thoughts on “Washboard Decor (Advent Calendar Display)

    • Thanks so much Patti! I enjoyed getting creative with these twice!

  1. Sara, this is just darling. You’re absolutely right, the pairing is perfect!

    • Thanks Kim; sometimes you just have to save the best for last lol!

  2. How creative, Sara! I never would have thought to decorate a washboard for Christmas. It turned out quite lovely! When you asked if we remember finger painting I had no idea you meant daintily adding paint with your finger. I remember going crazy with smearing paint over the paper! Lol!

    • My earliest memory of finger painting was smearing paint on one half and then folding to make a mirror image. I can still distinctly remember the ‘fox’ design I made and the smell of the paint! I guess I was dainty from an early age – lol!

  3. Oh my goodness – I just love those little shirts displayed on the washboard! Perfect!

    • Thank you Ann! I’m so happy I was able to get this done for our hop because advent starts tomorrow. We created this in record time; from concept to blog and video all within 24 hours. I think I’ll go catch up on some sleep soon – lol!

  4. Such an original idea, Sara! The little origami shirts are adorable and a perfect match with the vintage board.
    Merry Christmas!

    • Thanks Rachelle; we pride ourselves on our originality :). Merry Christmas to you too!

  5. You have done it again Sara, this idea is fabulous. I would love to find one of those washboards, you never see them over here. The origami shirt are a brilliant idea.

    • Thanks so much Anita! We are so lucky to have an abundant of thrift stores and antique markets full of inspiration!

    • They are so fun to decorate with; can’t wait to see what you come up with for your laundry room!

  6. Too cute Sara and I remember finger painting so well. In fact every time I use my Unicorn SPiT my hands look like a paint bomb went off while I was holding it. Love the idea of decorating a washboard for Christmas. It’s the perfect backdrop. And those origami shirts are still adorable.

    • I keep saying I’m going to try Unicorn SPiT; the only thing stopping me is that I know it’s scented and I don’t do well with anything that smells unless I can do it outdoors (which isn’t an option in the winter).

  7. I love that you used shirts, I’ve never seen that before – brilliant idea! I love making Advent calendars too, I just made one using paper bags, so easy to put together! Pinned!

    • Thanks Jane – we pride ourselves on original ideas – so glad you like it 🙂

  8. This is so creative Sara! I love how you tied the washboard with laundry! The colorful shirts are so fun! Thank you!!

  9. The advent calendar with the shirts on the washboard is adorable! Would be so cute in the laundry room!!

    • Thanks Maria! I only occurred to me half way through our first advent calendar, but it all works well together!

  10. Your advent calendar using a washboard turned out super adorable.
    Pinned it for inspiration.
    Merry Christmas,

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