Friday, 14 November 2014

Handmade Advent Calender Inspiration

14 home made advent calender ideas
I love advent calenders, I always have done. When I was a kid I used to love opening the little windows to see what picture I would get each day (we didn't have chocolates back then - sigh!) I looked forward to the 25th so much. Usually that would be a bigger window with double doors (woooh!) and you knew there would be a nativity scene behind it. 
When the kids were really young they had shop bought standard calenders, you know they type - the rather un-Christmassy picture on the front and the microscopic chocolates behind the doors. So probably about 12 years ago (maybe longer) they made there own and in typical "waste not want not", "ain't broken don't fix it" style we have been breaking them out every year since. I add a little sweet for each day, mostly chewies as I like to use ones which are wrapped, but the odd mini chocolate Santa or coin gets in there too.

So today I'm sharing our old homemade calenders in all their slightly beat up glory and a few words about how we made them.

Plus I have a fantastic collection of great DIY advent calender ideas and tutorials which might inspire you to make your own too. Who knows, you might still be using it in 10+ years like us!

First then our oldies but goodies:
Our daughter made this papermache masterpiece.
Home Made advent calender ideas

It is a large piece of thick card with 25 small boxes glued on. We saved a load of boxes, the sort that toothpaste comes in is a good size, you can use both ends because you want to cut the top off anyway.
The whole thing was then papermached all over with kitchen roll and watered down pva. 
Then when it was dry it was painted with green acrylic paint.
Then she went to town cutting out coloured card shapes and decorating them with 1 to 25. She used mostly puff paints, but I think there are some sequins on there too.
home made advent calender ideas
When the paint was dry the numbers got glued on randomly and a few final flourished added with gold and silver pen.
Here's a word of warning if you do have a go, don't use very thin, narrow boxes (like number 7 in the photo below), it is really hard to get the sweets out!
make your own advent calender
The boys both went for a matchbox version. Unsurprisingly you need 25 matchboxes to make one of these. You can buy matchboxes especially for crafts but I actually found it cheaper to buy boxes with matches in them and we haven't run out of matches since!
make your own advent calender
The boys decided on the arrangement of boxes they wanted and we glued them together. Then we covered the edges with a strip of coloured paper.
The slidey out bit of the matchboxes had a paperfastener added to make a little handle. I did this by stabbing though with a skewer holding a lump of bluetack inside. I did NOT let the kids do that bit!
We drew numbers on each drawer front and they each got a sprinkling of glitter "snow".
Handmade Advent Calender Inspiration
Then they stuck some decorations on. A cake decoration boy, a little paper tree, tiny people meant for model railways and some (giant!) presents made from playdough to go round the Christmas tree, sadly I see a few have dropped off over the years :-(

The last homemade Advent Calender in our house is one I made for my husband a few years ago as a surprise. He insists we share it so each year one of us is odds and the other evens.

easy to make advent calender
This was super easy. I cut manilla envelopes in half and just glued them to make little packets and then just Googled Christmassy numbers, printed them out and stuck them on. The little packets are just attached to a length of wool by an assortment of mini clothes pegs. Ours is in number order as we don't have time in the mornings to be looking for the right day, however by about the 10th it doesn't hang very straight. The weight of the sweets on the right makes it pull across - by the 25th they are all gone and it hangs beautifully again. You might want to mix the numbers up to stop that happening.

Inspired to make your own Advent Calender this year? 

There's still time and they don't have to be involves a sweet each day. Check out some of these lovely ideas too, lots of fabulous alternatives.

This little clay ornament garland from Eat, Knit and DIY is so delicate, I love the jingle bells.

This round advent calender by Organized 31 is made from an old record - how clever is that?!

This cute washing line Advent Calender from Creative Ramblings has a fun activity to do each day, and is decorated with washi tape (love washi tape!)

This beautiful fabric tree from Little Red Window gets gradually decorated as Christmas gets closer, so beautiful.

This washing line idea from While He Was Napping also has activities for each day, and free printables included.

This mini chest of drawers by Ribbons and Glue is just stunning, I love the metallic finish papers. 

Hugs are Fun have created this beautiful modern felt Advent Calender with a brilliant super clear step by step tutorial.

Christina, Plain and Simple had a genius idea and did a temporary switch round on an exisiting piece of art just for Christmas time - clever stuff!


My Treasures shared this cute Christmas Countdown quite a few years ago now, I love that fact that, just like ours, you can tell that children were really involved making these!

Here is another from Creative Ramblings, little bead pots attached to a baking tray with magnets, how cute is that? 

Mabey She Made It has a competition running right now to win a pattern to make this beautiful Advent Calender from Sugar House Shop (there are other designs as well and she has a discount code too) 

I have more advent calender ideas on my It's Christmas pinterest board too along with lots of other festive bits and pieces. 
Maybe this will be the year when you make a family heirloom calender.

Don't worry if you've already bought a shop version, you can just eat those teeny chocolates with a cup of tea whilst making your home made masterpiece, no-one will ever know!
You might also be interested in:


Knitted Mini Christmas Trees
Knitted Mini Christmas Trees
Scrabble Christmas Sign
Christmas Scrabble Sign
Christmas Pud Sweets from Chocolate Buttons
Christmas Pud Sweets from Chocolate Buttons
Reindeer Noses
Reindeer Noses
I'll be linking up at all these great link parties, why not have a little look.
Julia Nyanyo
Julia Nyanyo

Hello, I'm Julie. I love making things and this is where I share my enthusiasm.

37 comments:

  1. Wow, you are so crafty and imaginative, these look great. Thanks for sharing. Blessings

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  2. So many great ones here! We have a wooden one that we use every year. My teen still enjoys opening it every morning of Advent! Thanks for linking up!

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    1. Never too old for an Advent Calender!

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  3. These are cute! Saw your blog from the Friday Favorites! Following you on FB and Pinterest!

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  4. Oh I love the little shelves. I was just thinking maybe we could use egg crates and cover them up too.

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    1. Ooo, good idea, I bet you could do all sorts with egg crates. Be sure to let us know if you share your creation.

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  5. So many lovely ideas here.My problem is I plan to make one, then can never decide what style I want to make.

    Thanks for all these ideas though. I love the ones that you and your family made and all the other ideas too.

    Kate

    over from #SITSBlogging

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    1. Hi Kate, thanks for stopping by. I do hear that there are some people who may make a different one every year. If you are not like that, and more like us (make one that lasts forever) then I guess it is important that you choose carefully!

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  6. Wow! This is totally cool!! I found your wonderful post on the Creative Style link up
    Thanks
    Angie
    http://www.godsgrowinggarden.com/

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  7. Thanks for sharing on Oh My Heartsie Girl Friday Feature this week!!! I love the magnetic board, that caught my eye!!

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  8. Thanks for sharing so many great ideas. I am now going to be on the hunt for matchboxes!

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    1. I still have a few matches left in a bag from when we made these! But like I said, I think you can just buy empty ones in craft shops, I can't imagine they would be very expensive.

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  9. Lots and lots of fabulous ideas, I really want to make a reusable advent calender, so I shall definitely be checking out all these fab makes.

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  10. Thanks a lot for sharing this! I have to make one with my son this year as he doesn't like chocolate and would prefer a calendar with cheese or Pokemon cards!! :-) Ciao from www.scramblednest.com stopping over from Keeping it simple Monday Link party

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    1. An advent calender with cheese, that would be fab! You could pop a baby bel, cheese string or dairylea triangle in a little envelope or drawer just before he comes down to open it each day, that would be fun, or keep the advent calender in the fridge!

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  11. My family and I love Advent Calendars, so this post was so much fun to see all of the fun ideas for ways to countdown to our favorite holiday. Thank you for sharing!

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    1. It is a really lovely way to get ready for Christmas, I'm glad you like the collection of ideas. Thanks for stopping by.

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  12. Thanks for sharing my Advent Calendar! Pinning for you. :)

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    1. My pleasure Christina, it's been fun putting this together.

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  13. Awesome inspiration - working on my first Advent Calendar this year! :)

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  14. Wow! Loads of inspiration with some fantastic ideas. Love your oldies but goodies :)

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    1. Thanks, we love them too, sometimes new and modern is just what you want and other times it's nice to bring out an old favourite.

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  15. so many fun ideas!!
    thanks for sharing!

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  16. I love advent calendars! Your matchbox version is so great. Thanks so much for sharing at the Make it Monday Party! Hope to see you again next week.

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    Replies
    1. My lads will be pleased someone likes their efforts!

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  17. This is a great collection! Pinned!

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  18. how fun!! I love advent calendars!! pinned this!

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  19. What a great collection of homemade advent calendars! I am so in love with that felt deer one at the bottom. So graphic and modern and bright!

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    1. It's beautiful isn't it. As I put this collection together I was really struck about how many different styles of Advent Calender are possible, how much variety is possible. And of course this is just the tip of the iceberg!

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  20. Found this on Come Along Ponds - so many great ideas. I can't decide which one to make.

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  21. Well I think I like them all, they are all darling!!! I am stopping by from Merry Monday Linky party from earlier this week. and Now I have an invitation for you to stop by and link to yet another Party. Hope to see you soon,

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  22. Though we don't do Christmas, I could use the counting to a specific day idea with our own days that we do observe in my culture which is really nice. I think my son might be able to understand and may get excited by this for next year since he's old enough now. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful creativity with us at the Creative Style Linkup!

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  23. I love advent calendars! You know I need to make that deer one, stat! Thanks for the inspiration and sharing at the party! Hope to see you again this week! Theresa @DearCreatives

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  24. Oh I adore all of these! We love DIY advent calendars too - so special :)
    Thanks for sharing at #Pintorials

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  25. your families advent calendars are so creative and fabulous! when i was a child i always had the ones with chocolate..good memories! will have to try and make one with my kids this year!

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  26. I love all these ideas! I need to get cracking on mine!

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  27. Julie this is SUCH a great roundup! I love how you shared your family's advent calendars and those of others, too. Thanks for linking at On Display Thursday!!

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