For children and adults, advent calendars add to the fun of anticipating the Christmas holiday during the first twenty-four days of December. Make your own advent calendar for a fun family project whether you select a simple design or one that's a little more involved. Choose one of these designs, add some treats or holiday messages to each day, and get ready to count down to Christmas!
Christmas Tree Motif Advent Calendar
This advent calendar may be a somewhat time-consuming, but the results make it worth the effort. If your family outgrows advent calendars, this project can also serve as a holiday wall hanging. Each triangle is a little pocket that is large enough for some candy treats, a small toy, coins, or other treats; each pocket snaps closed.
This advent calendar requires only basic machine and hand sewing skills. The sample is created with a cotton broadcloth background in a polka-dot print and coordinated quilting squares in graduated shades of green. Use your own favorite colors and seasonal prints to make your calendar unique. Make sure that the fabric you select for the background is heavy enough to support the appliqued trees.
To download and print complete instructions for the fabric advent calendar, click on the image below. You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to read and print the instructions.
Noël Advent Calendar
This simple advent calendar will take a short time to create once you have gathered your materials. You can use design elements similar to the sample shown here or you can substitute your own colors and motif. The calendar shown below uses scrapbook paper with coordinated winter snowflake designs, and one-ounce tin containers with lids. The backing is an art canvas with a three dimensional frame, which makes the calendar easy to hang.
- Art canvas on a wooden frame (15 inches by 30 inches)
- 24 tins or small jars with lids
- Coordinated paper, such as scrapbook paper
- Strong, double-sided tape or hot glue gun
- Tacky glue (or other fast-drying white glue)
- Spray adhesive
- T-square and ruler
- Kneaded eraser (to clean up guide lines)
- Computer printer
- Vinyl letters (optional)
- Acrylic paint (optional)
- Paint marker (optional)
- Select a color scheme for your calendar. Depending on the color scheme, you can leave the canvas a natural white or you can paint it the desired background color. If you paint it, be sure to let it dry thoroughly before working with it.
- Use the neck of one of the tins as a template to draw circles on the wrong side of the paper you have chosen. You could use a single color or an assortment of solid colors, magazine illustrations, old Christmas cards, or tissue paper glued and layered onto the lids.
- Carefully cut the circles and then glue them to the lids with Tacky glue.
- When the glue is dry, add vinyl numbers from 1 to 24 to the tins. If you prefer, you can hand draw the numbers with a paint pen or wide marker in a color that contrasts with the paper color(s).
- With a T-square and a ruler, draw very light guide lines. Draw a vertical line down the middle of the canvas and a horizontal line across the middle of the canvas. Draw lines to create one-inch margins on all four sides. Draw a horizontal line three inches from the top of the canvas to indicate where the bottom of the banner will sit. Then, draw horizontal lines, evenly spaced, on which you will place five rows of tins.
- Place five tins in the first row, centering the middle one on the vertical midline with its top touching the first horizontal line below the banner. Distribute the other four tins evenly across the row within the margins, using the vertical lines to help you space the tins evenly and align them with the tins above. Continue this process for four rows, making sure the tins are aligned evenly. For the final (fifth) row, align four tins between the five tins on the row above.
- Attach the tins to the canvas using double-sided tape or a hot glue gun. Allow the glue to dry if using.
- Gently erase the remaining pencil lines on the canvas.
- Using your computer and printer, create a small banner with the word "Noel," or another short Christmas greeting.
- Apply the banner, centered, at the top of the canvas using spray adhesive.
- Cut a snowflake or other motif coordinating paper and use spray adhesive to apply the snowflake at the bottom of the canvas.
Once all of the glue has dried, fill the tins with small candies, trinkets, or notes and hang it on the wall as you would a regular picture frame.
Rustic Advent Calendar With Clips
Make a Christmas tree advent calendar like this one quickly and easily using purchased materials. Using an art board backing, you lay out a simple and abstract Christmas tree shape using washi tape, then embellish it with numbers, clips, and a bow.
- Art board in your chosen size (the example above uses an 18" x 22" board)
- 24 clothespins, colorful binder clips, or other clips (note that larger clips will require a larger board size)
- Ruler, yard stick, or T-square
- Pencil and kneaded eraser
- Washi tape
- Hot glue gun
- Ready-made bow or wired ribbon to create bow
- Using a yard stick or a T-square, create a center vertical line on the art board with a very light pencil. Then, draw 1-1/2 inch margins on the right and left sides of the board.
- Now draw horizontal lines from the top margin down, spacing them evenly so that you end up with five "branch" lines with a little space left above the bottom margin for the "trunk."
- Using the center vertical line, measure, cut, and adhere a length of washi tape that runs from just under the top margin to just above the bottom margin.
- On the first horizontal row, center and adhere a three-inch length of tape along the first horizontal guideline (enough for two clips).
- On the second and third rows, center and adhere a six-inch length of tape (enough for four clips each).
- On the fourth row, center and adhere a nine-inch length of tape (wide enough for six clips).
- On the last row, center and adhere a 12-inch length of tape (wide enough for eight clips).
- Use the eraser to gently remove the remaining pencil lines.
- With a hot glue gun apply clips to each row so that the ends that open are facing down. Place clips on the first row at the ends of the tape. Then, line your first two clips on the next row below and space the clips out from there. The sample features tiny glitter covered clothespins.
- Finish the calendar by adding the numerals 1 through 24 using stick-on vinyl numbers as shown in the sample, or write or paint numbers by hand.
- Add a pre-made bow, hand-tied bow, or other embellishment to the top of your tree with hot glue.
Use the clips to hold small bags filled with candy, small holiday cards or notes, or even seasonal decorations.
Filling the Calendar With Joy
Some advent calendars simply display the numbers in a decorative or playful way to help impatient children (and adults) count down to Christmas. Others, which have containers, may contain tiny treats, toys, jokes, riddles, or Bible verses related to the Christmas season. Advent calendars are an entertaining addition to any family's Christmas customs.