Holiday Advent Calendar DIY|

Advent Adventures

<p>Sophie shares her memories of Advent calendars and shows you how to make your own.</p>

In my family the countdown to Christmas was huge.  It always began with the annual presentation of an advent calendar which my grammy or mom would purchase at the local bookstore or Woolworths.  Usually it was a pictorial scene: a snowy village, santa’s workshop, the town of Bethlehem, printed on a heavy cardstock.  Hidden within the image were little perforated windows, each of them numbered, 1 through 25.  Every morning, as the number of days until Christmas grew fewer, I would open a numbered window to reveal a tiny picture, sometimes depicting the Christmas story and sometimes just a toy or wintery object.  I remember the excitement of searching for the morning’s window.  Sometimes it was hard to find, which made it all the more fun.  I even remember making my own one year.  Carefully cutting open the windows with an X-Acto knife and gluing little pictures behind them.  It's nice to see that others, like Jennifer Michie, recall those same calendars and have gone on to create their own creative versions as well.

Things have evolved since I was a kid - and now there are all sorts of fancy ways of counting down the days - Little wooden shelves with tiny numbered drawers, little sewn pockets for special notes, even thread spools turned into secret message keepers.

Advent Calendar DIY-Complete|

I wonder what's inside ...

My sister Freda became inspired by the most recent issue of Family Fun magazine, where they turned TP tubes into a prize-holding advent calendar. Here’s her version, using the inserts of duct tape rolls (being that we have sooooo many of them lying around our workshop!). It’s up to you whether you want 24 or 25 windows - some folks go up to Christmas day, some only to Christmas Eve.  Just adjust your supplies accordingly.

Advent Calendar DIY Materials| 

Cardboard centers from duct tape rolls are perfect for this project


  1. Foam core or heavy cardboard, painted or covered in paper if you like.
  2. 24 or 25 duct tape roll centers.  If possible, leave the last bit of tape on the roll, so they won't need to be painted or decorated.
  3. White glue 
  4. 24 or 25 little "prizes", small enough to fit in the rolls.
  5. Tissue paper
  6. Glad Press'n Seal food wrap. You can substitute cellophane and rubber bands.
  7. Number stickers, or paper marked with numbers 1 through 25
  8. Scissors
  9. String or wire to make a hanger

NOTE:  This project takes at least 2 days, because the glue takes 24 hours to dry.

1.  Lay out your tape rolls in the pattern you desire on your foam core. You can do rows or make a shape like a tree, circle, or snowflake.  Make sure to leave a bit of space between each roll.  You will need that space to be able to cap them later.

Advent Calendar DIY Step1|

2.  Pour white glue into a shallow dish. Dip one entire edge of the roll into the glue.  Place in position, then move onto the next roll, moving along the pattern one by one until all the rolls are secured.  Let dry for 24 hours.  You may want to place heavy books on top to keep the base from curling.

3.  Once dry, fill the center of each roll with treats or prizes.  You can wrap the treats if you like.

Advent Calendar DIY Step2|

4.  Place a layer of tissue paper over the treat to hide it and make it colorful.

Advent Calendar DIY Step3|

5.  Seal each hole with a square of wrap, securing the sides of the wrap to the sides of the duct tape roll.  You want a tight seal, like a drum.

Advent Calendar DIY Step4|

6.  Add number stickers on top of the cling wrap.

7.  Carefully poke holes in the very top of your foam core, slip wire or string through the holes and secure to make a hanger.

Advent Calendar DIY-Hanging Fixture|

Here’s hoping your countdown to Christmas is filled with joy, excitement, love, and surprises!

On a side note:  While planning this blog, my husband Scott had an inspirational vision of transforming one of Freda’s duct tape wreaths into an advent wreath.  Everyone at Sophie’s World was so tickled by Scott’s vision (who is not, by his own admission, a “crafty” guy) that Freda set about right away to make it a reality.  Here’s the result!

Advent Calendar Wreath Variation2|

See ... everyone can be creative with this one