Fifteen years ago I made this DIY advent calendar. I liked it so much that I made five more to give to each member of my family. This is one of the most treasured Christmas decorations I own as it represents so many holiday memories of our family! And it is the perfect Christmas gift.
I originally saw a DIY advent calendar similar to this in Better Homes and Gardens and decided to make one of my own. I first reached out to all of my siblings and asked them to send me copies of any family Christmas letters, recipe cards or anything that could be used in the calendar. I also had them email me copies of family photos from their old Christmas cards. Remember, you will need 25 pictures in total.
You can make yours using photos of your immediate family members, or any extended families. It’s up to you.
W H A T Y O U ‘ L L N E E D:
- one unfinished wood plaque (12″ x 16″)
- acrylic paint for edge of board
- mod podge or clear drying white glue
- three sheets white or off white tissue paper
- rub on dry transfer letters or decal (purchased or cut from a cutting machine)
- assorted family notes, recipes, letters or keepsakes
- twenty-five family holiday photos
- high-quality photo printer paper
- four sheets of holiday themed scrapbook paper, cut into 25 – 1 3/4″ squares
- mat board, cut into 25 – 1 3/4″ squares
- eyelet punch, snap tool and maker
- eyelets (in the color of your choice)
- tiny nails (to fit through eyelet holes)
- numbered rubber stamps and ink pad
S T E P B Y S T E P:
Select twenty-five photos for your calendar. On your computer resize them to 1 3/4″ square. Print them out on the high-quality photo paper and cut into 1 3/4″ squares. Set aside.
Next, cut large squares of tissue paper and decoupage with Mod Podge on top of the entire surface of the wooden board. This makes it look vintage. You can see the edges of the tissue paper in the photo above.
Cut 25 1 3/4″ squares of mat board. I talked the person at the art store into cutting them for me! Glue one piece of the 1 3/4″ square scrapbook paper on one side. Place the squares in five rows of five to make sure you have the paper designs in the random pattern you want. Using rubber stamps, add the numbers 1 – 25.
Turn all of the squares over and carefully glue one photo to the back side of each square. I chose a special photo for day #25 (my parents) which I just love!
With a sharp pencil, carefully mark the center point for a hole on the numbered side of each square. It should be exactly in the middle of the square which is 7/8″ in from each side. I placed the hole 1/4″ down from the top.
Using the Eyelet Punch, Snap tool and Maker, punch a hole and secure the eyelet in the hole. Make sure you always put the numbered side of the square on top when adding the eyelet.
Next, mark the location of the five nail holes in each row. The first row of nails should be placed 4 1/2″ from the top. Each nail will be 2 1/4′ apart. The height of each row of nails is also 2 1/4″ apart. Carefully tap the nail into each hole until it is secure. Make sure there is enough of the nail sticking out to hold each square.
When you are done hang each square on a nail. Enjoy your DIY advent calendar for the entire month of December! And many years to come.
I know this looks a bit intimidating, but the end result is so worth the work it takes to make! And it really does make the perfect Christmas gift for family members.
You can also make another one of my DIY advent calendars if you are looking for a two hour DIY. Happy Holidays everyone.