Tuesday, November 27, 2012

DIY Advent Calendar

December is quickly approaching, and this year, I really wanted to create an advent calendar that I could open with my 3 year old son each day leading up to Christmas:  

DIY Advent Calendar

Last year we were given a Christmas Story advent calendar and my son looked forward to reading it each day and adding the daily ornament to the Christmas tree.  I became inspired to create my own calendar this year when I saw this image on Pinterest:

I pinned this image some time ago but true to myself, I could not commit to how I would re-create this calendar.  Would I use black fabric, burlap, or maybe a pattern?  What about the bags?  Should I go simple with brown lunch bags or maybe try to find little galvanized buckets?  How would I hang it, what would I include each day?  The options are pretty much endless.  So......the option I chose was to do nothing.

These are all really simple questions and decisions, but as I am with most decisions, I just can't commit because then the decision becomes permanent.  This explains why, after almost four years in our house, we still do not have window coverings on most of our windows.  I realize this is just a calendar, but this decision paralysis often carries through to the small things. 

Green and white advent calendar

(The little blurb coming toward me in this picture is our puppy who decided she wanted to be in this shot.  Also, you may notice the paper shades on the far windows in this shot.)

However, while I was at Hobby Lobby on Monday, I came across a yard of this fabric on clearance in the returns bin:

(I also made these little ornaments based on another Pinterest pin)

For some reason, this fabric inspired me to get moving.  I love that it is green, but not your typical Christmas green.  I was actually going to sew this project together but in the end decided to use Stitch Witchery thinking I might be able to easily tear it apart and re-use the fabric for some accent pillows.  Turns out, though, that it works REALLY well and I don't think this thing will easily come apart any time soon.

Advent Calendar

Oh, yes, did you notice the lack of kitchen hardware?  Yet another decision I can't commit to.....

DIY Advent Calendar

I started by pinning the fabric to my desired width of 22" so that I could hang the calendar against the side of our kitchen pantry (24"):

I always iron in my crease before adding the Stitch Witchery to keep my measurements exact and lines straight:

After sewing your edges, it is time to attach a bar to the top of the fabric.  I pinned mine in but sewing or Stitch Witchery will work too.  I chose to use a bamboo stick I had lying around the house.  You can also hem the bottom, but I ended leaving it as is because I liked the frayed edge:

Green and White Advent calendar

(I didn't take close ups of the top and bottom, but you can see it here)

Next, break out your stencils, paint, and lunch sacks:

Finally, attach your sacks to the fabric panel.  I punched two holes into the top of the lunch sacks
 and used yarn and an embroidery needle to attach my lunch sacks.

I also couldn't help but add a little sparkly embellishment:

Green and White Advent Calendar

I attached these using super glue and quickly learned that super glue sticks better to skin than it does to paper bags.....I'm still pealing it off my fingers as I type this!

I didn't actually fill the sacks yet, but I purchased some stickers and little odds and ends at the store today.  I also plan to include an ornament in each bag that my son can add to a little Christmas tree we will have in his room.  Finally, me, my husband, and my son's grandparents are going to write little notes that we can include in the lunch sacks.  I really think he is going to love this new tradition!

I really liked this image I found at Satori Design for Living, and think I will replace the lunch sacks with an ornament each day:

Will you start a new Christmas tradition this year, or do you already have some favorites you are looking forward to?  I'd love to hear about it!


  1. This is so adorable! I love the white sacks with little surprises in them! We've always done an advent calendar in my home as well but I always bought one.. My kids are older now and still love it!

  2. This is perfect. I need to update mine and you've given me an idea. Thanks for the mention!

  3. Thanks for stopping by to see the project! I'm excited to get started tomorrow.