There is nothing I love more than a cute, homemade advent calendar! It’s festive, a great way to make each day special in December, and there are so many options to make them fit perfectly in your decor! This year I was inspired to make some cozy stockings and hats in a rainbow of colors. If rainbow isn’t your thing, these can be made in any color!
This is a great project because it’s small to store and easy to pull out to enjoy annually. The little hats and stocking stack really compactly and then they go in with my other Christmas decor bins. I keep them on the yarn I hang them on so I just pull that out and re-hang at the beginning of the season.
What is Advent? Traditionally, it’s the season leading up to Christmas as celebrated by Christian churches. This was a time of preparation and celebration. In some churches wreaths were lit with candles, or Christmas trees were put up, or doors were marked with chalk to count the days leading up to Christmas.
The first advent calendar was printed circles in a German newspaper in the 19th century. They were for kids to cut out as a countdown to Christmas. Later, in the early 20th century, printed calendars were made. Then a few years later, around 1920, wooden advent calendars with little doors were first sold in Germany.
If you aren’t Christian, but celebrate Christmas or just want to do an advent calendar- here’s a language tidbit for you! Advent comes from the Latin word “advents” which means arrival. So just think of it as a way to countdown to when Santa comes! Advent calendars can work for all families (especially since they’ve been so heavily commercialized- ha!).
Thank you to A Beautiful Mess for the inspiration for this project.
homemade advent calendar
Let’s start with the video tutorial so you get an overview for how I made this homemade advent calendar. Then, I’ll dive in with more details below:
If the video doesn’t work here, you can watch it on YouTube here. I’d be over the moon happy if you subscribed to my YouTube channel! Videos are actually released on YouTube first (usually the night before they’re published on the blog). Thank you!
- Mini Tassels
- Pastel Buttons
- Mini Flowers
- Pastel Pom Poms
- Pom pom maker set
- Trim Bundle
- Blue Flannel
- Coral Felt
- Mint Felt
- Pink Flannel
- Yellow Flannel
- Aqua Grosgrain Ribbon
- Blue Grosgrain Ribbon
- Peach Grosgrain Ribbon
- Pink Grosgrain Ribbon
- Yellow Polka Dot Ribbon
- Pink, yellow, orange Velvet Ribbon
- Mint and blue velvet ribbon
- Blue Yarn
- Coral Yarn
- Mint Yarn
- Pink Yarn
- Yellow Yarn
- Black Ink Pad
- Numbers Stamp
- Wood Hearts
- White Twine
- Free Template for Stocking and Hat
This project took me about 3 days to complete. It’s be a great weekend project!
step 1- cut out the shape
To begin, start by cutting out a card stock template of a stocking and hat. I used my Cricut to do this. Honestly, these are super simple shapes and could definitely be drawn by hand with a pencil and then cut out with scissors. Cut one of each out of card stock to work as a template when cutting out the fabric.
Note, if you make this by hand and want to use about the same size as I did, my stocking is 8″ tall and 5″ wide. My hat is 6″ wide and 7″ tall.
If you have a Cricut as well, here’s a link to the free template to use to quickly cut these out.
Once I had my template, I laid out my fabric out in color order. This way I could make sure to cut out every other fabric in a hat than a stocking. I think the two shapes balance each other out so it’s good to vary them.
Note, I used flannel and cotton fabrics. Felt would also be a super affordable alternative that’d work great with no fraying edges!
Trace the card stock template onto the fabric with a water soluble marker. Then, use fabric scissors to cut each shape out. Make sure to cut out two pieces for each hat or stocking- there needs to be a front and a back so there’s a spot to put the treat.
Look at how cute all the stockings and hats look cut out! This is the first glimpse of what the end advent calendar looks like and I think it’s adorable!
Once everything was cut out, I ironed each piece. It would’ve been better to iron the fabric before cutting the pieces out- so I suggest that.
step 2- assemble the mittens and hats
Now that I have all my pieces cut, I cut little 2″ pieces of velvet for each hat and stocking. This is how they will hang!
Next, I pulled out my sewing machine and stitched the velvet ribbon onto each piece. To do this, I folded it in half and quickly stitched over it.
Then, I used my sewing machine to sew around each stocking. For the hats, I realized I wanted them to hang so they look like hats (with the pointy side up). Because of that, I wouldn’t have a place for the treat to hide. So I cut out another piece of fabric and stitched that onto the bottom of the hat to create a little pocket before stitching up the sides of the hat.
Note, you can see this step much better in the video!
Once everything was stitched together, I turned the pieces right side out and put them on the table with all the different trimmings arranged by color!
Isn’t it looking cute?!
step 3- add embellishments
And now, I sat down with my favorite holiday movie (You’ve Got Mail) and had the BEST time watching that while gluing everything in place! I just used a hot glue gun and went to town trying to make each piece unique. I lined pom poms up, added as much trim as I could, did a diagonal design of flowers and added ribbon to each edge.
Although it was looking really cute at this point, I knew one thing was missing- pom poms for the top of the hats! I thought of buying something for it, but used yarn I had on hand and made a little pom pom for each hat. Note, making pom poms is really easy with this tool.
Can you see what a nice textural additional those made?! I really went all out with the embellishments. For me, this was fun and I’m a more is more girl. If you’re into a simpler look, go for that! There’s so many ways to make these cute!
step 4- wooden numbers
Finally, I figured that each hat and stocking needed to be numbered. For that, I used wooden hearts that I stamped with the number 1-24.
Then, my husband drilled a small hole in the top of each one.
Last, I put white twine through each heart and tied a knot at the top.
Here’s some FAQ about the numbers that I’ve received-
Should an advent calendar have 24 or 25 days? Technically, Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas. Since Christmas changes days of the week, the length of Advent varies. It can be between 24-28 days long. Advent calendars were first commercially made in Germany and had 24 wooden doors to simplify things. Now people usually choose to do 24 or 25 days based on personal preference. Most store bought calendars have 24 openings.
Personally, I do 24 days for my advent calendar and begin on December 1 and end on December 24. I figure nothing is needed on Christmas Day with gifts that day (though my son is always disappointed in that- lol).
step 5- hang the handmade advent calendar
To hang the advent calendar, I used a screen that’s sitting in my living room. I used painter’s tape to secure yarn to the back of the screen. Then on the yarn I strung the numbers and hats and stockings. This held very nicely.
If I didn’t have the screen, I’d simply hang command hooks on a wall and then tie the yarn to it.
Ta da! Here is my rainbow homemade advent calendar. Isn’t it so cute?! Also, please note the matching Santa hats I made my porcelain cats- lol!
I think they look so festive hanging! And each one can have a little treat, mini present, or a paper with an activity listed inside. Note, read to the end of the blog post to see some ideas on what to put inside an advent calendar!
The colors and motif make me so happy! As do the level of detail! I am so excited to pull these out each year.
ideas of what to put in the advent calendar
What do you put in a homemade advent calendar? There’s lots of things! Like a little Lego build, chocolate or any treats, mini science experiments, a daily art and craft project, little figurines from a show your child loves, and candles work for adults. I have tons of really good options linked below.
Lego. Every year Lego comes out with a great advent calendar that my son loves! So I buy that and put each day into my handmade advent calendar then he gets to do a little build or a new mini figure. This year I’ll probably do the Harry Potter advent calendar.
Treats. You know those cheap chocolate advent calendars from the grocery store? I usually buy one and remove the chocolate and put it in my advent calendar. Turns out there’s fancy chocolate ones too! Maybe I’ll grab one for my husband and I. Either way it’s a tasty option.
Science. My son is really into science. There’s a bunch of science advent calendars where you can make a daily science experiment. I could see that being fun!
Arts and Crafts. Another thing I think would be a great activity is a daily art and craft you can create. There’s some pre-made crafty advent calendars that look great.
Figurines. Some kids would love a different little figurine daily. I actually think my son would love this! These come in tons of themes to work with each child.
Candles. So this one is a little different- it doesn’t go in the calendar (except this option). You burn the candle a little each day as a count down to Christmas. There’s marks with numbers to know how far down to burn the candle. I did this yearly growing up and I loved it! It was very cozy to do it at the dinner table and then my sisters and I took a turn blowing out the candle.
Ok, so there’s my happy little advent calendar! Please let me know if you have any questions in the comments. I’m happy to help. If you want more advent calendar ideas, I also have tutorials for a mini village advent calendar, and a tree advent calendar.
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