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DIY Advent Calendar for Kids: 3+ Kids!

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How to make an Advent Calendar for kids. This calendar can hold items for multiple children AND adults if you choose!

My pain point EVERY year is the Advent Calendar. EVERY YEAR we argue over which kid gets the treat from that day and who gets to open it. We can never remember who opened it last. It’s expensive and I’m certainly not buying one calendar for each kid. I think if it were cheaper candy items, it’d be one thing, but I’ve often gotten the Lego Advent Calendars. Needless to say, I made a small Advent Calendar MANY years ago that was pretty small. It worked for 1-2 kids, but we have three kids now.

A few years ago, I bought a HUGE bin with plans to make a giant Advent Calendar. It had 24 slots and I figured I could always add adult items too like mini wine or scratch offs etc. so there was a little treat for everyone. Apparently this is called a soda crate. But… it was that project that’s sort of been sitting and waiting for me to be inspired.

AND IT FINALLY HAPPENED! INSPIRATION. I love how this came out. I stuffed it with a variety of items and there’s room for more. Maybe next year, I’ll put something in there for my husband too. This year, I didn’t quite have the energy leftover once I finished this. Here’s how to make your own!


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Please read the whole post so you don’t miss any important information!


DIY Advent Calendar for Kids AND Adults!

Supplies:

24 slot soda box that is going to be made into an Advent Calendar.
24 slot soda box that is going to be made into an Advent Calendar.
  • Box with 24 open spots: This is apparently a 24 slot soda bottle crate. Don’t ask me where I got it or where to find another one. I can’t remember and I looked everywhere online. Leave me a comment if you have ideas for where to find one! My box is 18.75″ tall x 12.75″ wide (pockets are 4″ deep).
  • Green spray paint
  • Scrapbook paper: Red & Christmas themed, Ideally you’d want a big piece of poster board (the paper, not the foam) so you could just cut it to the correct size, but I used two pieces of 12×12 red scrapbook paper with the excess trim left on so it would be a full 12.75″ wide)
  • Washi Tape, gold
  • Glue stick
  • Smart Sticker Cardstock in White, Green, Red: https://cricut.pxf.io/qnjrgb
  • Toys and/or candy for each day (see ideas list at the end of the post)
  • My Cricut template is here: https://design.cricut.com/landing/project-detail/63810f3c7c12a43009360a9b You’ll likely need to make adjustments based on your box.

Step-By-Step Tutorial

Step 1: Prime and paint your box. I skipped priming because I was lazy and I was hoping it would work. It did.

24 slot soda box being spray painted green to make an Advent Calendar.
24 slot soda box being spray painted green to make an Advent Calendar.

Step 2: Cut your base scrapbook paper with your Cricut machine. Note that I’m using the FULL WIDTH of my red scrapbook paper including the piece you’re supposed to trim off. This is because my box was 12.75″ wide and I needed the full width to be able to attach my paper to the edges.

I carefully measured everything out and figured out that I could use 2 pieces of scrapbook paper for this.

Cutting regular red cardstock on the Cricut Maker 3 for the base of the front for an Advent Calendar.
Cutting regular red cardstock on the Cricut Maker 3 for the base of the front for an Advent Calendar.

One piece of poster board would have been better, but our local store didn’t have white, red, OR green. Ugh. Guess it’s that time of year.

You’re welcome to use my Cricut template for your cut outs, but you’ll probably need to make some considerable adjustments, unless you get lucky and find the SAME box as me.

I did make some adjustments to my design AFTER I made this.

  1. I added a cut out for a circle to fit into, allowing you to close the windows without a sticker.
  2. I also made the Christmas paper cut outs so you can have your Cricut cut those too. This will allow you to add the little circle that will fit into your circular cut on your base paper. This is a bit of a guide to my chaos.
The Cricut design that I made with an explanation of what each part of the design is for.
The Cricut design that I made with an explanation of what each part of the design is for.

Template: https://design.cricut.com/landing/project-detail/63810f3c7c12a43009360a9b

Step 3: Bend open your pockets and make sure everything lines up properly.

Windows for the Advent Calendar cut out on red scrapbook paper with my Cricut Maker 3.
Windows for the Advent Calendar cut out on red scrapbook paper with my Cricut Maker 3.

Step 4: Cut out your Christmas scrapbook paper for the tops to each pocket. This is the piece that will attach to each window. I recommend using my adjusted style for this so you have a little tab to tuck into the red base paper when the window is closed.

Christmas themed scrapbook paper cut out in small rectangles to go on the Advent calendar windows.
Christmas themed scrapbook paper cut out in small rectangles to go on the Advent calendar windows.

Step 5: Glue the Christmas scrapbook paper to each window.

Gluing rectangles of Christmas themed scrapbook paper to the top of the Advent Calendar.
Gluing rectangles of Christmas themed scrapbook paper to the top of the Advent Calendar.

Step 6: Cut numbers 1-24 with Cricut Smart Sticker cardstock. Make sure the color coordinates well with the scrapbook paper you used. Stick each number on it’s corresponding window.

Number 1 in white Cricut Smart Sticker cardstock, used for numbering the window on an Advent Calendar.
Number 1 in white Cricut Smart Sticker cardstock, used for numbering the window on an Advent Calendar.

Step 7, Optional: Add a sticker with a child’s initial to each window, denoting which child will open the window each day.

Letters G, K, and T in red Cricut Smart Sticker cardstock, used for noting which child is opening the window that day on an Advent Calendar.
Letters G, K, and T in red Cricut Smart Sticker cardstock, used for noting which child is opening the window that day on an Advent Calendar.

Step 8: Glue and/or Tape your scrapbook paper down. I only used washi tape, but I wish I’d glued down the base red scrapbook paper prior. You’ll need to trim away the excess red on both sheets of red scrapbook paper.

I tried to tape the washi tape in a way that made the box look like a Christmas present. It came out really well!

Lining up my windows on top of my wooden box.
Lining up my windows on top of my wooden box.

Step 9: Fill the pockets! I added one item per kid for each day to avoid fussing.

Ideas for Inside the Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar made with my Cricut Maker 3, scrapbook paper, and a wood box.
Advent Calendar made with my Cricut Maker 3, scrapbook paper, and a wood box.
Advent Calendar made with my Cricut Maker 3, scrapbook paper, and a wood box. There's a sticker with the child's letter for opening the window that day.
DIY Advent Calendar made with my Cricut Maker 3, scrapbook paper, and a wood box.
Advent Calendar made with my Cricut Maker 3, scrapbook paper, and a wood box. Initials of the child's name notate which child's turn it is to open the calendar that day.

Please share and pin this post! If you make this project, share it in our Stuff Mama Makes Facebook Group. We have regular giveaways for gift cards to craft stores. You can also tag me on Instagram @doityourselfdanielle; I love seeing everything you make!

DIY Advent Calendar made with Cricut Maker 3 and a big wooden box.
DIY Advent Calendar made with Cricut Maker 3 and a big wooden box.

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