Blog, DIY & Crafts, Projects

DIY Advent Calendar

November 25, 2013
DIY Advent Calendar

Okay, I know we’re hosting Thanksgiving here in three days, but I just could help but share one of my favorite Christmas projects from last year.  Just in cast you want to get a jump on the Christmas season …  It is a short season this year (because Thanksgiving is so late), so sharing a couple days early is allowed.

I mentioned last week about trying hard this year to start some family traditions around the holidays.  We started this month with our ‘Thankful Turkey’.  One tradition that we started last year was our advent calendar.  Owen loves surprises {and treats of any kind}, so as soon as I brought this guy up from the basement, he immediately remembered what it was (and what was inside).  I guess I was successful in starting one ‘tradition’ that he has remembered from the previous year {give him candy, and it’s sure to leave a mark in his mind}!

Here’s our homemade Advent Calendar:

DIY Advent Calendar

DIY Advent Calendar

It was a super fun, fairly simple project.  All I had to buy for this project was the tins (everything else I happened to have on hand).  So, here’s what you need:

  1. Frame with glass removed (I had an old unused one in the basement to use for this project).
  2. Paper for background.  I used several sheets of paper, carefully matched up so the pattern would continue.  It would easier to just get a larger sheet of paper … cute wrapping paper, maybe??
  3. Number die cuts or stickers (I die-cut mine at Archiver’s (a scrapbook store).
  4. Tins.  I found these at Michael’s in the wedding favor section.  They were $20, but I used a 40% off coupon to get them for $12, instead. See picture below.
  5. Paper for inside each tin.  I had a small pad of chevron and dot paper from Archiver’s or Michael’s, I believe.  Any fun patterned paper, or even several colors of solid paper would work!
  6. Hot glue gun OR liquid nails

Tin (they come in a pack of 30 … couple extra just in case!):

Favor tins from Michael's (wedding section)

Favor tins from Michael’s (wedding section)

It’s really pretty self-explanatory from there …

  1. Remove lid from a tin, trace onto paper, cut out circle.
  2. Glue or stick number onto center of circle you just cut.
  3. Place very, very small amount of glue around inside lip of lid (try to keep it on the silver part so you can’t see it).
  4. Press paper circle (with number stuck to it) into lid, patterned side facing out (so it shows through the clear top of lid).
  5. Repeat for all 25 days.
  6. Glue background paper into place on frame (actually, glue it to the backing of the frame … where the picture would go).
  7. Glue each tin into place as shown to form a tree.
  8. Fill each tin with a treat, and display!  Couple things to note here:  I fill each day up one at a time, just before dinner (that way we don’t have candy sitting out for Molly to be tempted by … she would destroy my project if she really wanted what was inside one of the tins).  Also, I display our tree on our mantel … out of reach of little 3 and 1 year old hands (though Molly paws could still reach if she tried hard enough … refer to first note).

Here’s a couple more shots:

Advent Tree

Advent Tree

Made with wedding favor tins glued onto paper.

Made with wedding favor tins glued onto paper.

I highly recommend this project, but if you’re still looking for more inspiration, check out these great calendars:

9 Great Advent Calendars

9 Great Advent Calendars

Love these, too?  Check out the sources here:

  1. Geometric Advent Calendar from Sanaeishida
  2. Mini Tree Advent Calendar from Oh Happy Day
  3. Brown Bag Advent Calendar from
  4. Paper Tree Advent Calendar from Spoonful.
  5. Faux Chalkboard Date Pockets from Painted Hive.  I love that each tag inside is part of the lyrics to “Santa Claus is Coming To Town.”
  6. Pottery Barn wicker and wood Advent Calendar, $179 is a little steep for my tastes, though.  Use at as inspiration and DIY your own similar calendar?
  7. Cardboard Tube Advent Wreath from Spoonful.
  8. Gold striped canvas pouches, hung from a ladder (picture has Home Depot credit, but I found it here).
  9. And of course … our lovely Advent Calendar Project!

Happy Monday, and here’s to a great week of Thanksgiving … followed by the official start of the holiday season!!!  Cheers to that!


Linking up at these great parties!

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  • Reply Abby @ Just a Girl and Her Blog November 25, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Katie, this is SO cute!!! I love the idea of using tins! And the papers you chose are adorable. Awesome, awesome job! Thanks for sharing!

    ~Abby =)

    • Reply Katie November 25, 2013 at 4:52 pm

      Hi Abby! Thanks for stopping by! I guess it was the day of advent calendars, huh? I just love yours, too! You can fit much more chocolate in those bags than in my little tins (dangerous!). I love the bible verses, too. What a special idea to add a little more meaning to the advent calendar (instead of just the treats!).

      Thanks again for stopping by. Happy Thanksgiving, and thanks again for the link parties every week. They are my weekly inspiration!!


  • Reply Meredith November 25, 2013 at 11:24 pm

    That is so adorable!! It actually makes me feel like I need to do a craft project now. :) Found you through the Monday pinterest link up party!

    • Reply Katie November 26, 2013 at 1:12 am

      Hi Meredith!! Thank you! It was super easy! By the way… I just read your post about why Mondays still suck when you’re a SAHM. Love it and love your honesty!! Thank you!

  • Reply anna November 26, 2013 at 12:49 am

    love this! so adorable

    • Reply Katie November 26, 2013 at 1:09 am

      Thanks! Thanks for stopping by!!

  • Reply Wicked World of Lucas November 26, 2013 at 7:05 am

    What a great advent calendar. Seen loads of designs recently but this is awesome. I may have to give this a go #magicmoments

  • Reply Youbabymemummy November 26, 2013 at 11:23 am

    This is lovely! x

  • Reply Ashley @ 3littlegreenwoods November 27, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    What a sweet tradition! I also began a Christmas Countdown with my children last year. They loved it and are already asking about the fun things we are doing this year.

    I love how you used the tins to hide the yummies for your children!

    Ashley @ 3littlegreenwoods

  • Reply Emily November 30, 2013 at 8:12 am

    So cute! I’ve always wanted to make an advent calendar with the little tins. Thanks so much for linking up to Tasteful Tuesday at Nap-Time Creations. I just posted the weeks’ features and THIS is part of the amazing round up! Don’t forget to come back to the party next week.. its bigger and better than before, plus there is a HUGE giveaway!! I’ve shared on all my social media sites… would love for you also to share the round up. Emily

    • Reply Katie November 30, 2013 at 12:58 pm

      Thanks, Emily!! Thanks for including my project in your post today! Love your site!

  • Reply Courtney @ Crafts by Courtney December 1, 2013 at 1:38 am

    I saw your Advent Calendar on Show Off Weekend Blog Party and had to stop by and let you know that I loved it. I just posted my Advent Calendar in the same blog hop, actually right next to yours.

    You did a beautiful job and I would love to share. I’ll be pining for sure and following you on Facebook!1 Looking forward to seeing your new posts!

    • Reply Katie December 1, 2013 at 4:41 am

      Hi Courtney! Thank you! I’m so glad you stopped by and said “hi”. I just liked you on Facebook, and can’t wait to follow your blog!
      Have a good rest of your weekend!

  • Reply Jaime Oliver December 2, 2013 at 12:27 am

    wow this is a super idea .. thanks for sharing and linking up with #MagicMoments

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    Thus is the cutest! Featured it at Project Inspire{d} this week!

  • Reply Kristi November 18, 2014 at 9:11 am

    LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this Katie!!! I’ve always wanted to make a project with those little tins! SO pretty! And SO fun!!!
    Kristi recently posted…Holiday Gift Guide & Giveaway!!!My Profile

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  • Reply Alicia November 19, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Love this idea! Thank you so much for sharing. What size frame was used? Can’t tell if it’s 11×14 or 12×18?


    • Reply Katie November 19, 2014 at 8:05 pm

      Hi Alicia! It’s 11×14! Thanks for the question!

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