Monday, November 25

DIY Advent Calendar

I'm so glad to finally get this tutorial finished- this Monday through Friday work week is really cutting into my creative time.  I'm really going to get a good schedule figured out soon, I hope.

I was inspired to make a natural/rustic appearing advent calendar after months of admiring this one at Pottery Barn, which was obviously outside of my "advent calendar" budget for the month.  In all honesty, I think this one cost us about $5, considering we had to buy a box of staples for the staple gun and a yard of burlap.

So here are the details:

a board/old piece of wood/cut piece of plywood (basically whatever you've got): ours was 30"x 20" x 1/4" 
approx 1 yard of burlap (or other similar fabric)
staple gun
staples (appropriate for the width of the wood backing)- we used 1/4" thick wood/craft staples
filler/decorations for each pocket
a handy helper (ie husband), especially if you're not keen on running a staple gun ;)


The fabric ladies always mention that to cut burlap, you must first grab a loose string and pull it through the entire piece of fabric to create a place to cut, in order not to fray the fabric.  You then line your scissors up to the opening in the fabric, and cut along that line.

I honestly did have the majority of the work, though, because I had to cut twenty five pieces of burlap.  And mind you, I was just guessing sizes, but this is about what we found worked the nicest.  I measured approximately 8 inches by 4 or 5 inch rectangles (I'm no pro).

I then folded each rectangle to create the pocket-  I tried to make them as close to the same size as possible, and those were about 3 inches wide (overlapping the burlap), and 3 inches tall.

To form the pocket, I folded the bottom of the burlap up, and held it in place until my stapling helper could connect it to the board.

Notice the measuring guide- we did want to follow an appropriate pattern in order to fit all 25 pockets on our board.  I wanted to keep the shape of a tree (triangle), so we used the obvious pattern seen in the finished project:


We did use 3-4 staples in each pocket, to make sure it was secure enough to hold some gifts/candies with which I intend to fill it!

Repeat the process, attaching each pocket.  I would definitely recommend sizing your pockets by a rough drawing prior to beginning (unlike us).  We ended up removing the first 3 rows after we realized I had spaced them too far apart.  The second time around, we used a pencil to mimic the pockets and appropriately placed them before actually stapling each one.
I'm really not that patient, it seems.

I grabbed some artificial berries from our decorations last year and some greenery from one of our trees to keep this calendar company until the small gifts/treats arrive.  

It's just beautiful.

I'm really excited about teaching our two-year-old the miracle of Christmas, and though I know she'll be so excited to get gifts, we're going to use this Advent Calendar as a reason to celebrate the real meaning of Christmas.  I think I'll be able to keep her attention for a few minutes each night during advent, knowing there's a special treat waiting in a burlap pocket, just for her :)

I hope you get a chance to celebrate the season of Advent.
Or, at least, to make and enjoy an Advent wreath :)



Linking up at SongBirdblog, Funky Junk Interiors, Shanty-2-chic and Inspired by Charm


  1. Great idea Lisa and it looks so simple to make! I'm glad I found you over at the Twelve Days of Christmas Linky Party.

    1. Thanks Marie- it's completely Pottery Barn-inspired style on a budget! Always the best inspiration :)

  2. Replies
    1. Thanks, Shannon! I've got a two year old who keeps our house cluttered with busy toys/games, so I'm always vying for some more simplicity :)

  3. What a lovely Advent Calendar! I love its rustic simplicity. Thanks for linking up to my 12 Days Party.

    1. Thank you! It really was my pleasure!
      Merry Christmas!