Source: Fox & Star
The countdown has begun! A DIY advent calendar is the perfect way to celebrate every day of the holiday season, especially when you take the time to create one with your family.
Whether you’re going for bright and seasonal or modern and understated, you can make a Noel countdown that’s both functional and beautiful to display. Once your calendar is complete, have fun filling it with treats or trinkets the whole family can enjoy. Here are 24 of my favorite DIY advent calendars to celebrate the season!
1. Hanging Matchbox Calendar
- Gather 24 matchboxes and wrap them in brown kraft paper (brown paper grocery bags work, too).
- Print out advent numbers in the font and color of your choosing (the calendar shown was printed with Avenir Black in Size 80 and a gray shade), cut them out, and glue them to the front of each box.
- Tape a 5-inch piece of baker’s twine to the inside edge of of the outer box, and slide in a little goody. Candy always works, but you could also use small trinkets like Mexican string dolls.
- Hang the matchboxes from branches stuck in a vase, or even from a mini Christmas tree and enjoy!
2. Paper Forest Calendar
Source: Hello Happy Studio
Creating this colorful little forest calendar is easy with the aid of a printable. Write a pre-Christmas activity on the back of each tree, then stick them into a wooden base by drilling holes.
3. Interactive Book Calendar
Source: Sarah Jane Studios
Give your little ones the gift of a good book- or 24! Wrap books (you can get used ones or borrow library books to cut back on expenses) in white paper and decorate with with oodles of bright craft supplies, from pipe cleaners to giant pom poms.
4. Scandinavian Patterned Calendar
Source: Nalle’s House
Marimekko fabric makes this colorfully patterned calendar a real showstopper. You can use any fabric you like, but using one that’s PVC-coated will make sewing a lot easier since you won’t need to hem. The letters are printed and attached with clothespins for a quick finish.
5. Party Popper Wreath
Celebrate the season with a daily party popper, made out of cardboard tubing and stuffed with corn kernels and candy. Cover each popper with colorful tissue paper, number, and glue them to a cardboard base. Unless you speak Bulgarian, you’ll have to translate the page and go by the tutorial’s step-by-step pictures — and, like the author, you can get your kids in on the action.
6. Balloon Calendar
Source: Look What I Made
This cheerful calendar will bring a smile to your face every day until Christmas. Fill balloons with messages (think massage tokens, date night ideas, etc.) and hang them with black paper tops to mimic ornaments . A driftwood Christmas tree is a great base for hanging, but you could also use a poster board or wooden plank.
7. Fuzzy Sheep Calendar
The winter coat of this sweet sheep grows with each passing day. Kids will love covering the numbered dots and watching him come to life. To make your own, draw or print out the outline of an animal and numbered circles, sticking with sheep or any other creature you like. (This site is in German, so be sure to translate it to follow the steps!)
8. Geometric Calendar Blocks
Source: All For The Boys
This modern building blocks calendar is made from 2-inch treat boxes decorated with a Sharpie. Stick a little toy in each box and let kids have fun arranging the blocks in different configurations as the days pass.
9. Instagram Calendar
Make a yuletide countdown with your favorite pictures of the year. Print out square photos and decorate the backs with washi tape before hanging them within a frame using clothespins and twine. Add the numbers however you like — Sharpies, stickers, or printed out on 2-inch circles as shown.
10. Paper Cup Calendar
Source: The Things She Makes
White and red paper cups make for perfectly seasonal treat holders. Hang them from a string with paperclips and decorate with stamped clay advent stars. You could also draw on the numbers or use paper cut-outs.
11. Treat Bag Calendar
Source: Fox & Star
Origami paper is the perfect material for making your own colorful treat bags since it comes in a wide range of hues and patterns. A strip of washi tape and a decorated peg jazz up these little sweet sacks even more. Simply gather them in a small bin for display.
12. Advent In A Jar
This advent calendar is ideal for those who are short on space, and free printables make is a quick and easy project. Just write pre-Christmas activities on little strips of paper and attach them to pom-pom balls. Fill the jar, then slowly empty it as the month progresses.
13. Christmas Street Calendar
Source: Mr. Printables
Free printables make this cityscape advent calendar a straightforward project with fabulous results. Simply score the dotted lines and fold — no need to glue. Put a little toy or tasty treat in each house.
14. Tiny Takeout Box Calendar
Source: Studio DIY
Bring some unexpected materials into your Christmas crafting repertoire with this cheery calendar. Simply buy a pack of colorful takeout boxes, decorate with number stickers, and you’re done! Fill the boxes, and stack them into a pyramid, hang them as a garland, or arrange them however you like.
15. Baby Sock Calendar
Source: Martha Stewart
The only thing cuter than tiny toes are the tiny socks that house them. To make an advent calendar that puts these little accessories to use, hang a collection of adorable and/or pairless baby socks from a ribbon above the mantle, and fill each with a little treat.
16. Toilet Paper Roll Calendar
Source: Morning Creativity
This chic, house-shaped calendar is surprisingly made of toilet paper rolls. Cover the end of each roll with brown paper that’s been printed with a cool font. Fill with lightweight gifts, and punch through the paper to retrieve them.
17. Lunch Bag Calendar
Source: Third Floor Design Studio
Paint or draw elegant black numbers onto brown paper bags to make this simple but chic advent calendar. Hang the bags from twine using paper clips.
18. Pantone Card Calendar
Source: Brit & Co
How’s this for a colorful countdown? Celebrate the end of the year with beautiful hues printed on Pantone postcards, each adorning a 4 x 6 gift box. Mount the boxes on foam board, or simply display them on an entry table.
19. Magnetic Tin Calendar
Decorate magnetic favor tins with free printables and bright paper. You can make your own metal frame to mount them on, or just stick them onto the fridge for a display that’s easy to store and recreate year after year.
20. Chalkboard Chocolate Calendar
Source: Eilen Tein
Transform an ordinary store-bought chocolate advent calendar into a chic black and white chalkboard display. Simply paint the cardboard with a layer of white paint, followed by chalkboard paint, then trace the window outlines and write on numbers with chalk. (This is another non-English site, but the pictures are easy to follow!)
21. Wine Bottle Countdown
Source: Style Me Pretty
This countdown will ensure every day leading up to Christmas is a party, but you may need help celebrating them! Assign each of 24 days to a wine bottle, and decorate with a large number print-out. You’ll be in the holiday spirits in no time.
22. Mini Mitten Garland
Source: Knit Picks
Knitters will love making this sweet garland of little yarn mittens. You could gather a few friends to help, or start knitting now for next year’s calendar (or, of course, you could just buy some). These tiny mittens can also be used as ornaments or wreath accessories.
23. Newspaper Cones Calendar
Source: Clementine La Mandarine
If you have a pair of scissors, a glue stick, and an old newspaper (or phonebook), you can make this modern and minimalist advent calendar. Simply fold the pages into cone shapes, stick in a little treat, and fold over the top. Pin to a cork board with a lightweight trinket inside.
24. White Paper Envelopes Calendar
Source: A Few Things From My Life
This minimal calendar composed of white envelopes with red lining is pretty enough for adults but still fun for kids. Seal each envelope with a numbered sticker and mount on posterboard. You can add visual interest by decorating with ornaments, gift bows, and wintry figurines.
It’s easy to let the holidays breeze by without taking the time to soak in any yuletide joy. An advent calendar is the perfect way to savor every day of December, and you can create one that’s as complicated or minimalist as you like, using everything from matchboxes to photographs and newspaper. Touches of washi tape, bright paint, a funky font, and of course, a fun surprise inside will make for a unique Christmas countdown your family is sure to enjoy.