DIY Reusable Advent Calendar
As soon as halloween is dispensed with in Paint Sew Glue Chew Towers, Abbi turns her attention to Christmas. And her favourite part of the Christmas preparation is the advent calendar. Each year we make a couple of versions for different friends, but this DIY reusable advent calendar is our favourite. The calendar is a decorated board with 24 hooks for hanging little gifts. As a gift is removed, the kids get to choose a replacement christmas decoration to put it its place. The advent calendar then looks pretty through the whole month.
- A sheet of plywood cut to size
- Paint & undercoat
- Elbow hooks
- Silver or Gold sharpie
- Silver or gold paint
- Hanging Hooks & Hanging wire
Tools required: Pencil, ruler, drill with drill bit to fit your elbow hooks.
Sizing the Board
First make the board that the presents and the decorations will be hung from. There’s no prescriptive size for the panel. Dimensions will be dependant upon factors including: The area of wall it will hang on, the size of the gifts and or decorations to be displayed, as well as how much space you have to store it for the other 11 months of the year. The “pattern’ you choose for the hooks will also be a factor.
There is a minimum size, which will allow enough “drop” – to allow space to hang the items, as well as enough space between them so they can hang free. As a rule of thumb, a 10-15cm gap between pegs, and a 12-15cm drop between pegs works well. For 24 number countdown the pattern can be 4 x6 or 3x 8. Allow a margin on either side and top for decoration. I’ve made a variety of sizes for friends (usually the 4×6 version). The version for us however is 3×8. The board was cut 45cm wide by 160cm deep. It was cut to order be a local woodmerchants for £10.
Preparing the Board
Sandpaper the board all over to prepare it for painting. Ideally outside, as this creates lots of dust.Round off the sides and corners with the sandpaper, before washing down and painting with undercoat.Once the undercoat is dry, measure (twice) where the holes should be, and mark with a pencil.Drill the holes in these pencil marks using a wooden drill bit slightly smaller than the screws on the elbow hooks.
Apply two coats of top coat paint to the board allowing to dry in between. When dry, use a stencil as I did, or paint the numbers freehand in either silver or gold pen.
Fill in the numbers in either the pen, or silver/gold paint.Decorate the top with a festive message of your choice, and some snowflakes and snow.
Assembling the board
Once all the paint is dry turn the board over, and screw in the hanging hooks and hanging wire on the back of the board before attaching the elbow hooks. Wrap the little presents and hang on the hooks. For other boards I’ve given to friends, I’ve made 24 little fabric bags that are much easier to fill each year. Its on the to do list, but I’ve not managed to make for ours at home yet. Last year we used silver gift wrap with black twine for the little parcels. (mainly sweets)
This year its midnight blue with silver embroidery thread.
I keep the bowl of our favourite christmas decorations beside the diy reusable advent calendar. The favourite felt ones. And these our favourite enamel ones. As the month goes on, the kids take the mini parcel off the board, and replace it with one of the decorations.