How to Make an Advent Calendar

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Advent calendars are a fun way to get in the Christmas spirit. Each day you get a little closer to Christmas, and you get a small gift. There are a lot of creative calendars on the market, but there’s nothing quite like making your own. Make a simple calendar using household items, or pick up a few special materials to make a more elaborate one.


EditMaking an Advent Calendar Out of Toilet Paper Rolls

  1. Gather your supplies. To make an advent calendar out of toilet paper rolls, start setting aside empty rolls ahead of time. It may take you a while to save enough to make the calendar. You will need the following materials:[1]
    Make an Advent Calendar Step 1 Version 3.jpg
    • 25-31 empty toilet paper rolls
    • A large piece of cardboard
    • A glue stick
    • Multipurpose glue
    • Scissors
    • Brown paper
    • Markers or crayons
  2. Draw the numbers. Decide if you want to make your calendar for the entire month of December, or just until Christmas Day. Draw numbers on the brown paper for each day on your calendar.[2]
    Make an Advent Calendar Step 2 Version 3.jpg
    • Make sure the numbers are small enough to fit over the opening of the empty toilet paper rolls. Leave some space between each number so it is easier to cut them out.[3]
    • Once you have drawn all your numbers, cut them out. Cut them out in squares, leaving yourself enough room to glue them onto the empty rolls.
    • If you don’t want to draw the numbers on, print out some numbers from your computer. Open your word processor an find a font you like. Type out your numbers and size them to fit your empty rolls. Print the numbers onto brown paper, and cut them out.[4]
  3. Glue your numbers to the empty rolls. Use the glue stick to glue each number to the opening of an empty roll. Cut off any excess paper.[5]
    Make an Advent Calendar Step 3 Version 3.jpg
  4. Fill the empty rolls with small gifts. Buy or make enough small gifts for each day on the calendar. Get creative with your gifts.[6]
    Make an Advent Calendar Step 4 Version 3.jpg
    • Not every gift has to be an item. Make some of the gifts certificates good for a home-cooked dinner, or a back rub.[7]
    • Keep the gifts light so that they don’t weigh down the rolls.[8]
  5. Make a base. Find a large piece of cardboard. Assemble your rolls in order on the cardboard. Make sure you can fit them all comfortably.[9]
    Make an Advent Calendar Step 5 Version 3.jpg
    • You can align the rolls close together in rows and columns, or space them out along the board. If you space them out along the board, you can add decorations to the cardboard.
  6. Glue each roll down to the cardboard base. Keeping the gifts inside the rolls, place the rolls back onto the base. Once you have the rolls how you like them, glue each one down to the base.[10]
    Make an Advent Calendar Step 6 Version 3.jpg
  7. Decorate your calendar. Add holiday decorations to the background of your advent calendar. Decorate the rolls as well. See if you can come up with a theme for your calendar.[11]
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    • Use the layout of the rolls to help you come up with fun design for your calendar.
  8. Mount the calendar on a wall. Hang the calendar on a wall using some twine. Punch holes in the top two corners of your calendar. Take a long piece of twine and tie an end through one of the corners. Tie the other end through the opposite corner. You can hang your calendar wherever you like.[12]
    Make an Advent Calendar Step 8 Version 3.jpg

EditMaking a Matchbox Advent Calendar

  1. Gather your supplies. You need a few special materials to make a matchbook advent calendar. Craft matchboxes come in various sizes, so feel free to mix and match. Washi tape is a type of decorative masking tape. You can find these supplies online, or at your local craft store: [13]
    Make an Advent Calendar Step 9 Version 3.jpg
    • Enough matchbooks to make 25-31 days
    • Patterned paper
    • Washi tape
    • Stickers
    • Ribbon
    • Craft glue
    • Decorative trinkets
    • Markers and paints
  2. Decorate the boxes. Decide how many calendar days you want to include in your advent calendar. Lay out the appropriate number of matchboxes.[14]
    Make an Advent Calendar Step 10 Version 3.jpg
    • Remove the drawer from each matchbox so that you’re only decorating the shell. Use a combination of ribbons, washi tape, and decorative paper to decorate each shell.[15]
    • Decorate the front of the drawers to match the shells. You don’t have to use identical patterns for the drawers and shells, but make sure they complement each other.[16]
  3. Add numbers to the drawers. Use paints or markers to add numbers to the front of the drawers. Or, if you prefer, cut out some numbers from the scraps of your decorative paper and glue them to the drawers.[17]
    Make an Advent Calendar Step 11 Version 3.jpg
    • Feel free to mix and match techniques when making the numbers. Your advent calendar should be a reflection of your creativity.
  4. Fill the matchboxes with gifts. Once you’ve decorated every matchbox, fill them with tiny gifts such as candy, money, or small toys. Get creative with your gift ideas![18]
    Make an Advent Calendar Step 12 Version 3.jpg
    • You can also make personalized certificates to put in the matchboxes. If you’re making one for your mom or dad, put a certificate that says you’ll do a chore. If you’re making one for your boyfriend or girlfriend, make a certificate good for a romantic dinner.
  5. Arrange the matchboxes into a tree. Stack the matchboxes until you’ve made the shape of a Christmas tree. Once you’re happy with the shape, glue the boxes to each other. Make sure all the drawers are facing the same direction.[19]
    Make an Advent Calendar Step 13 Version 3.jpg
    • Place the calendar on a table or counter top, or thread some ribbon through the top box and hang it on the wall.[20]

EditMaking an Advent Jar

  1. Gather your supplies. In this twist on the classic advent calendar, each day is stuffed into a jar. To find the gift you have to pull the day out of the jar, and read the clue. Save a jar from your kitchen for this project. Gather the following materials:[21]
    Make an Advent Calendar Step 14 Version 3.jpg
    • An empty jar
    • Felt balls
    • Decorative paper
    • Pens or markers
    • Paints
  2. Decorate the jar. Use paints and decorative paper to decorate your jar. Make sure you thoroughly wash your jar if you’re saving it from your kitchen. Clean any labeling off the outside, and rinse any remaining food from the inside.
    Make an Advent Calendar Step 15 Version 3.jpg
  3. Cut out strips of paper. Cut enough pieces of paper for each day in your calendar.[22]
    Make an Advent Calendar Step 16 Version 3.jpg
    • Write a message on each strip of paper. Your messages can be activities, such as “go to the movies,” or you can leave clues for gifts hidden in the house.[23]
  4. Glue felt balls to each piece of paper. The felt balls will make it easier to pull the messages out. After you glue the balls on to the paper, fold the paper to hide the message. Write the numbers on the outside of the paper strip for easy searching.[24]
    Make an Advent Calendar Step 17 Version 3.jpg
    • Toss the messages in the jar and screw on the lid. Each day find the appropriate date, and see what your gift is![25]


  • Turn your old Christmas cards into decorations for your calendars. You can also use wrapping paper and bows. Add as much or as little decoration as you like.
  • Get creative with your advent calendars!


EditSources and Citations

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