Count Down to Christmas with This DIY Advent Calendar

Celebrate each day of December with a small note or tiny keepsake. We'll show you how to make a pretty advent calendar with only a few craft supplies.

The lead up to a big holiday can be just as exciting as the day itself. Look forward to every day this December with a DIY advent calendar. This cute craft can be filled with inspiring messages, gift cards, notes, small treats, and other fun surprises. 

To make the advent calendar, you'll need a canvas stretcher, small envelopes, twine, and a few other basic crafts supplies. We embellished our calendar with pom-poms and decorative envelopes, but you can decorate as much (or as little) as you like. This Christmas DIY project is totally customizable; paint your frame any color you want; draw, print, or stencil your numbers; and choose clips in a shape and shade you love.

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Calendar art

What You Need

  • Wooden canvas stretchers (4 bars to make a square or rectangle)
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Gold tacks
  • Hammer
  • Paint (we used Pure White by Annie Sloan)
  • Paintbrush
  • Twine
  • Pom-pom cording
  • Small envelopes
  • Pen, marker, or calligraphy pen
  • Stencil for numbers (if desired)
  • Small clothespins

Step 1: Create Frame

Gather all materials. Lay down a drop cloth to protect your work surface. Then notch together the corners of four wooden canvas stretcher pieces to create the calendar's frame. When shopping for the canvas stretcher bars, consider whether you'll want your advent calendar design to be rectangular or square, and buy the appropriate lengths to create your desired shape.

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Step 2: Paint Frame

Measure and mark 4-inch segments on the back of the frame. These marks will designate where your strings go. Hammer gold tacks into each marked spot. Coat the front of the frame with a simple whitewash or in your desired paint shade. Let dry before continuing with embellishments.

Step 3: Attach Cording

Stretch lengths of twine across the empty frame, attaching on the backside by tying around the hammered-in tacks. Make sure to pull the cording taut. 

Editor's Tip: Use whatever type of twine you desire for this step. We used a mix of gold string and pom-pom cording to create our custom look. You can also use ribbon or metallic wire for a hint of sparkle.

Step 4: Create Envelopes

Write numbers on the small envelopes and cards. You can use a paint pen and stencil, a calligraphy pen for hand-lettered numbers, or stickers for a more uniform look. Fill the envelopes with holiday greetings, gift cards, and other small surprises. You'll need one envelope for every day from December 1 to 25.

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Step 5: Attach Envelopes

Advent Calendar

Clip the envelopes onto the strung cording with small clips or clothespins. Display the finished calendar on a mantel or wall. 

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