How to make your own Advent calendar

Get crafty in your kitchen this Christmas with the help of kitchen cabinets

As December approaches you may be considering getting an Advent calendar. But where to start?

A generation ago, advent calendars just contained different images behind numbered doors. They were based on the idea of the first known handmade wooden Advent calendar in 1851, which reflected a tradition of hanging a devotional image every day in the run up to Christmas.

This then developed into chocolates also being hidden behind the doors of the Advent calendar.

But now there are so many different types of Advent calendar. And not just for kids either! You can get Advent calendars with beauty products, beer, wine or gin, candles, toys, lingerie or socks – in fact almost anything you care to name. And many of these specialist Advent calendars do not come cheap!

So if you want to give someone special an Advent calendar to remember this year, why not try making one instead. You can end up with a lovely creation at a fraction of the cost of buying a specialist Advent calendar.

In this article we take a quick look at a few ways you could make an Advent calendar, and some ideas for what to put in them.

Before you start, we recommend you find a clear space where you can work without anything else getting in the way. A kitchen table or worktop is an ideal place to do this. Even better if you can dedicate part of a kitchen cabinet to your work-in-progress Advent calendar so that you keep everything together until the job is done!

Three ways to make an Advent calendar

The first thing you need to do is to decide on the kind of structure you want to create to house your Advent calendar. We’ve got three ideas for this:

Fabric Advent calendar

If you enjoy working with fabric you could create a very pretty Advent calendar. One option is to start with a large piece of thick green fabric such as felt or canvas, and cut it into the shape you want – for example a Christmas tree or house. You can then attach – either sew or glue – other pieces of fabric onto this backdrop, both for decoration and for the numbered pouches to contain the Advent goodies. 

The pouches shown in the image below left have images on, but just contrasting coloured fabric with numbers written on in permanent ink would do equally well. Or you can buy Advent calendar numbers from various major retailers such as Amazon..

Card Advent calendar

If you prefer to work with card rather than fabric, there are plenty of options open to you. 

Create a background for your calendar by either painting a Christmas scene or creating one from a collage of different images – perhaps using last year’s Christmas cards. You then need to stick or staple numbered pouches or small boxes onto this to hold the gifts. 

Another alternative to this is to use small envelopes such as those pictured below right, which can be purchased from online stores such as Etsy.

Box Advent calendar

There is a growing trend for Advent calendars to be based on boxes, and this is very practical if you are trying to put larger gifts in there.

If you like the idea of this kind of Advent calendar, one way to do it is to collect small boxes of different shapes and sizes and keep them safely in that kitchen cabinet until it’s time to make it happen. You can then paint or wrap them, ensuring that one end of the box is easy to open and that there is space on the box for it to be numbered. Then either stick them all together in a creation of your choice, or fit them into a frame or a larger box.

A simpler alternative is to buy an organiser box. This can work really well but may be more limiting on the size. So it all depends on what you want to put into your Advent calendar, as we will now explore.

Ten things to put in your Advent calendar

This is the key advantage to making your own Advent calendar. You can put whatever you like in it! You don’t have to stick to a theme but can vary the gifts from day to day.

Here are ten ideas for things to put in your Advent calendar.

  • Christmas decorations
  • Chocolates or sweets
  • Small toys
  • Mini toiletry/cosmetic items
  • Earrings or other jewellery items
  • Socks
  • Small cans/bottles of drink
  • Candles
  • Gift vouchers or written promises of treats
  • Clues to other gifts hidden somewhere in the home

The only thing left to decide is where to display your Advent calendar. One option is to give it pride of place in your kitchen so that everyone can see the fruits of your labours and it can help to get them all into the Christmas spirit.

We hope that the above tips are helpful and that you enjoy making your very own Advent calendar this Christmas. Good luck! And remember to check back here soon for more lifestyle tips from DIY Homefit.


To illustrate this article we have used linked imagery from the list of sites below:


Kaethe Wohlfahrt