12 Best DIY Advent Calendars

You would think that I, of all people, would make my own Advent Calendar. I don’t. I don’t even buy the good ones. I buy the ones that are $1 at the checkout of the hardware store right next to the batteries and air fresheners. The upside to this arrangement is the chocolates always have a hint of pine-fresh scent.

I’ve given my 2 nieces an Advent Calendar every year since they were born. This has been going on for the past 20 years or so. And every year it’s been a $1 calendar. In my defence, I always spend the time it takes for the person in front of me to check out flipping through the calendars making sure to get the most attractive of all the $1 cardboard boxes filled with squares of brown wax.

This year was a bit different. This year I went all out. Because LAST year when all the advent calendars were on sale after Christmas I bought two Kinder Egg calendars. Which have sat in my closet for the past 11 months where the chocolates have been gathering a festive coating of white bloom and possibly worms. Merry Christmas!

It took all of the strength I had not to eat those Kinder egg calendars on a variety of occasions in the past year. Easter for example. And one day when it rained. And the day I had a lot of laundry to do. And most Mondays. And the day I brought them home from the store. That was a particularly difficult one. But I didn’t. I was strong and I left those calendars in tact because I am a good aunt, I have excellent restraint and because I am a grown up who has a cupboard filled with baking supplies including bags of chocolate chips I can rummage through whenever I want to.

Oh, but that’s not the good news. The good news is I’ve decided they can have their wormy calendars, because I’m going to make myself a super-cool advent calendar this year.

I just haven’t decided on which one. There are some pretty ugly, homemade advent calendars out there in Pinterest land, but I’ve selected what I think are the best of the bunch.

So if you’re thinking of making your own advent calendar this year look no further.

I have done the research for you.


Just click on the photo to go to the original source and in most cases, instructions.




















This one isn’t my favourite, but I like the general idea.  If it were me, I’d use a really stained, worn, old muffin pan (it has to be a mini muffin pan to have enough compartments by the way) and I’d use white, gold and black for the covers.  Black or white ribbon and a less cutesy label on the bottom.  Other than that, love it, lol.








I’m leaning towards the white bags on the wall because I love how simple and contemporary it is.  My initial reaction is always to go for rustic, but the rustic doesn’t show off as well if it isn’t balanced by some simple white contemporary.  That’s what I think anyway.  Today.


  1. Shelly McKay says:

    All of these are fantastic ideas! To think I’ve been buying the lame stale chocolate ones all these years – lol

  2. Diana says:

    The one which is folded and pleated like Diamonds and symmetrical shapes. Definitely but with white paper! Great. Maybe only Diamonds hanging straight in a row… hmmmm. My problem is what to fill it with!!!???
    I wish, somebody would make one for me!

  3. Jody says:

    These are neat. I used to have a mini quilt with a Christmas tree pattern. It had 24 little ribbons on which you tie a mini candy cane. I don’t know why I don’t still have it.

  4. maggie van sickle says:

    I love the little green trees albeit they would take up a bit of room but they are something the family could do together. They could be different colours depending on your decor for Christmas. Whatever you make Karen will be just right and fit your personality.

  5. Su says:

    I like the brown paper bag garland one….. simple yet a bit rustic and somehow elegant all at once… thanks for sharing

  6. Mary says:

    Hmmmm. These are a wee bit too tasteful for me. I still like the brown wax in a cardboard box with pictures of elves and Santa on it. If someone wants to give me 24 cookies, however, I wouldn’t complain.

    • Louise says:

      I’m with you, Mary. I guess I just like the traditonal Advent calendars – although my mother always bought ours from some art museum and each door had some kind of appropriate painting behind it. But the brown wax was just the same!

      • Mary says:

        When I was young, we never had an advent calendar although I remember seeing them in the shops and wishing we could have one. When my daughters were young, I made it part of our family tradition. Time will tell if they keep the tradition going. Merry Christmas, Louise!

  7. Jody says:

    What hardware store do you get advent calendars at????? just asking………

  8. jainegayer says:

    Love the one with all the edible treats in glass jars underneath.

  9. Heather says:

    So did anyone else notice that the muffin tin has an upside down 6? Apparently Dec 9 comes twice this year.

    These are all great!

  10. sherry says:

    Oh what fun! Love the paper cone Christmas trees and the idea of putting seasonal activity suggestions in them. Also love chocolates, so half the trees must have a Lindt chocolate ball:)
    Spontaneous fun + milk chocolate = A Merry Christmas time.

  11. Tracie says:

    I’ve been telling myself to make this craft for several years now, so thanks! I love these ones so much!!! Can’t pick just one, but do so love the bare branch with hanging advents. Hmm, I guess I just picked one….I remember them being so basic in my childhood. Pop out a chocolate, (never a good one) and another day closer to Christmas! I still remember believing in Santa at ten years of age… Also, I’m keeping up with my Challenge this year. So far. Yay for me….

  12. Meg says:

    omg I still have time to make one of these, and get it across the US by 1 Dec…I think. If I decide what goes in it now… annnd mail it immediately. crap. this wasn’t on my gift list, but it should be. this totally needs its own day on the pledge calendar.

  13. Laura Bee says:

    Now I can’t decide-maybe I’ll use my square 9 spot tin along with some tied up packages. Stick them all in a basket I can put high up away from my 4 year old. (she is officially 4 today – in the morning! – Wed lol.)
    Then Thursday I can start Christmas. Wheeee!

  14. Claudia says:

    I like the green cones (Christmas trees) version a lot, and the gingerbread one, too (although they’d never make it until Christmas (yum)), but the white-bags-on-the-wall is really cool – so stylish! Thanks for sharing!

  15. Agnes says:

    Karen, you are freaking me out. Apparently we have the same taste in timely posts.

    I just published this one on Monday! http://makezine.com/craft/advent-calendar-roundup/

  16. Melissa says:

    Other than brown wax, what goes in an advent calendar, or what are they for?

    • Karen says:

      Just a plain old count down to Christmas. There’re mainly just for chocolate eating fun now, but there are more serious, religious versions as well that include parts of bible verses etc. behind each door. Behind the doors there can be candy, chocolates and small gifts. There’ve been a lot of people putting “tasks or to do lists” in them too. But fun things. So behind every door would be something fun and wintery to do that day. Like go tobogganing. Or walk around and look at Christmas lights. Or watch a classic Christmas move. Bake cookies … you get the idea. Basically a really great way to trick your family into taking part in The Christmas Pledge without knowing it. ~ karen!

    • Lisa E says:

      The original advent calendars were Christian based. They were used in great anticipation to countdown and celebrate Christ’s birth. I have never used one, nor did my family growing up so please do tell what is the purpose of brown wax a few have mentioned?

      • Karen says:

        Hi Lisa – We’re referring to the small, awful, waxy pieces of horrible chocolate that are in the inexpensive advent calendars. ~ karen!

  17. Lynn in Alberta says:

    I am old fashioned so I like the muffin tin idea the best ⛄️ . I use to set out a kiss on a plate for my girls . As I had a chocolate lover in my pair an she would open all the doors as soon as she saw it displayed .

  18. gigi says:

    chalkboard, candy bar buffet, and brown paper packages, tied up with string; these are a few of my favorite things ♪♪♪
    Thanks again for assembling them all in one place.

  19. Jean in BC says:

    Lovely! I like this wine one myself :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The Art of Doing Stuff