Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved advent calendars. Okay, sure, I may or may not have eaten all the candy at once for one year. Counting down the days til Christmas builds lots of anticipation for the holidays. My son’s finally at an age where he really loves opening presents so the holidays will be a ton of fun this year. The thing is, advent calendars can be kinda pricey! And they also tend to have candy, which I wanted to avoid for my 2-year-old. So what better than creating a fun, affordable DIY advent calendar? I filled this baby with small toys from the Dollar Store and used materials that were super budget-friendly. Want to learn how to make your DIY advent calendar? Keep on reading for a step-by-step tutorial!
Materials Needed for Your DIY Advent Calendar
I’ve pinned this supply list with affiliate links so you can jump to the product page to learn more. For this project, you’ll need to round up the following:
- Chalk paint
- Antiquing Wax
- Paint Brush
- Old frame
- Kraft Paper
- Toys or candy
- Hot Glue Gun + Glue Sticks
DIY Advent Calendar Step 1: Make Your Frame
A few months back, I found the UGLIEST painting in the world sitting for free on the side of the road. No kidding, it was UUUUGLY. My husband thought I was nutty for picking it up. But I knew the frame would come in handy one day!
To find your frame, stroll the thrift store aisles and look for a frame that’s sturdy (ideally wood) and will bear weight well. If you feel extra handy, check out this easy tutorial for creating your frames using super inexpensive building materials. Done and done.
If your frame has a picture, like mine, flip it over. Using a pair of needle-nose pliers, pull out any wires, picture hanging materials, and nails.
I chose to paint my frame with a farmhouse finish using white chalk paint and brown antiquing wax. I watered down the chalk paint to do a light wash over the frame. Then, I applied the antiquing wax to the corners. I smudged the wax to remove any lines, keeping the color concentrated on the edges.
DIY Advent Calendar Step 2: Hang Your Twine
Cut jute or twine to length, using the back of your frame as a guide for determining how long to make your cuts. Apply a super generous heap of hot glue to affix your twine to the frame.
I used a ruler to keep my twine relatively level and equally spaced. With hot glue, I stuck the twine on the frame every 4.5 inches down the sides.
DIY Advent Calendar Step 3: Create Your Gift Envelopes
Alright y’all, if you want this project to move along much more quickly, then buy pre-made kraft paper envelopes. I like the challenge of creating things very inexpensively, though. So, I found a roll of kraft paper at the dollar store and made my envelopes.
Use this template and trace the outline of the envelope onto your kraft paper. Then cut, cut, cut. You can either unlock this one download by liking my Facebook page below *or* nab lots and lots of downloads (including this one!) by subscribing to my resource library. Click right here to head to the resource library or click on the box a little further down.
Once you’ve cut out your envelopes, fold the bottom flap up and the side flaps over to create a little pocket for your goodies. I used a small piece of masking tape on the back of the envelope to keep it closed.
I found lots of truck toys at the dollar store, which my son’s going to adore. Truck stickers, these little sponge thingies that expand in water to turn into truck shapes, and some Hot Wheels cars — he’s going to be in heaven. To be fair, I’m not hanging Hot Wheels cars since they’re kind of heavy. All the other goodies are pretty light!
DIY Advent Calendar Step 4: Affix Your Tags
To make your calendar tags, feel free to print this cute little printable right here. You can either unlock this one download on this post *OR* download tons of goodies in the resource library by clicking the box below.
Cut out the tags. Then, using a hole punch, create one small hole in the tags and two small holes in each envelope. Using twine and ribbon, thread the twine through the envelopes and tags, tying the gift envelopes onto the frame as you go.
Then you’re all set! Hang and display your gorgeous advent calendar. And if you create your DIY advent calendar, be sure to tag me on Instagram @homebeautifully so that I can share your post with the tribe!