Make a DIY Advent calendar for your family this season. Learn how to make this Christmas display and get our best ideas for what to put in your Advent calendar. 

By BH&G Holiday Editors
February 06, 2019

A homemade Advent calendar is a lovely way to count down to Christmas, and makes an easy DIY Christmas project! Tuck a few of your family's favorite things inside embellished boxes tied up with string. Jazz up each day’s container using patterned papers and punches. To make the Advent calendar even more display-worthy, hang glittery ornaments and mini honeycomb-paper balls in between your treats. Plus, you can easily match the calendar to your existing Christmas decor. 

25 assorted boxes hanging on wall with ornaments and snowflakes
Credit: Carson Downing

How to Make a Hanging Advent Calendar

Supplies Needed

  • Sticker paper: white
  • Printable numbers (optional)
  • Cardstock: copper glitter, pink glitter, gold metallic
  • 25 matchbox-style gift boxes, assorted sizes of star-shape gift boxes, and/or small patterned paper envelopes
  • Crafts glue
  • Patterned paper: pink-and-white star
  • Assorted punches: circles, scalloped circles, small star
  • Adhesive-foam circles
  • Crafts knife
  • Sewing needle
  • Cording: copper-and-white
  • Mini clothespins
  • Curvy willow branch
  • Assorted ball and snowflake ornaments: glittery dark pink and light pink
  • 2-inch honeycomb-paper balls: pink and white

Step-by-Step Directions

Follow these simple how-to instructions to assemble your homemade Advent calendar. You can repurpose paper towel rolls, craft with old mint tins, and reuse the envelopes from holiday cards to make this Christmas display.

match box with pink candies day 10 of hanging advent calendar
Credit: Carson Downing

Step 1: Create Numbers and Wrap Boxes

Choose 25 small, lightweight containers that can be easily hung into an Advent calendar. You can use envelopes, repurposed toilet paper tubes, mint tins or small bags; anything that is light enough to hang from a string (but large enough to hold a few goodies!) will work. Print or use a pen to write numbers 1 through 25 onto white sticker paper. Use assorted circle and scalloped circle punches to punch out the numbers and create a sticker for each day of your Advent countdown. Cut small strips in assorted sizes from glitter and metallic cardstock to fit the boxes or containers you're using. Use crafts glue to adhere the strips of paper to the box tops as desired, then add a numbered sticker to each one. Read on to find out how we decorated different shapes of boxes and envelopes.

glittery star box with pink m&ms day 25 of hanging advent calendar
Credit: Carson Downing

Step 2: Decorate Unique-Shaped Boxes

If you're using a box or container that is an odd shape, you can still creattively cover the box with patterned paper. Trace around the lid onto the wrong side of desired cardstock or paper, then cut out the shape from this area and glue it to the lid. Or, leave the box as-is and wrap a wide ribbon around the center and secure to the underside of the box lid with hot glue. Just remember to adhere a number sticker to the top of each box!

Step 3: Decorate Holiday Envelopes

To use decorative envelopes in your DIY Advent calendar, punch out circles and scalloped circles (or other shapes) from assorted cardstock or paper and glue them to the front of an envelope. Attach a number sticker on top of circles, then punch small holiday shapes from gold metallic paper and adhere them using adhesive-foam circles.

Step 4: Finish and Hang Your DIY Calendar

When your boxes and envelopes are decorated and numbered, use our easy hanging techniques to form the calendar.

To hang a box: Using the tip of a crafts knife, pierce a small hole in the top of each box. Then, push a needle into each hole and move it around to slightly enlarge the hole and thread a length of cording through the hole and knot the end inside the box. Be careful not to make the hole too large–you don't want any goodies to fall out!

To hang an envelope: Hang each envelope using a mini clothespin, then clip it to a length of the same cording you used to hang the boxes. You can even clip an envelope to the cord of a hanging box! You'll need to fill these envelopes with lightweight goodies, or else the envelope will become too heavy for the clothespin. Handwritten notes are a great way to fill envelopes!

To assemble the Advent calendar, find a sturdy branch (check your backyard or a local park) and make sure it's clean enough to hang inside your home. Hang each box and envelope by tying the cording around the branch. You don't have to hang in number order, but you should stagger lengths of cording to save space. Use matching cording to hang other decorations, such as ball ornaments, snowflake ornaments, and honeycomb-paper balls. Then, all you have to do is fill the Advent calendar for your family! 


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