Two children making a homemade advent calendar

How to make: an advent calendar

Start your Christmas countdown in style and rustle up a homemade fabric advent calendar with pockets of homemade treats.

The 1st December is a magical day. It’s suddenly acceptable to deck the halls, start buying presents and eat chocolate before breakfast. This year, begin the countdown to Christmas in style with your own, unique and lovingly-crafted advent calendar – packed full of goodies straight from the kitchen.

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Christmas tree advent calendar

What you’ll need:

  • Large piece of cardboard, approximately 50cm x 60cm.
  • Two pairs of scissors – one pair to cut the cardboard, another for the fabric.
  • Extra strong fabric glue.
  • Felt for the pouches in red, green and white (2 sheets of each colour (23cm x 31cm) and enough dark green felt to cover your tree background.
  • Decorations (we used fake snow, stick on felt present shapes and silver stick-on numbers from Hobbycraft).

Method: 

1) Sketch out your Christmas tree shape on the cardboard, making sure the area will be big enough to fit all 24 pouches, and carefully cut out.

2) Cover your tree shape with the dark green felt. Glue the cardboard and then lay the felt on top, pressing down and leaving to become tacky for about 10 minutes. Carefully cut the felt, leaving a couple of inches extra overlap. Once completely cut out, stick the overlapping felt to the back of the card to hold it in place.

3) Whilst your background dries, you can start to cut out the felt pouches. Create templates from your leftover card in different sizes then draw round these onto the felt. You will need to make folds on the sides of each felt pouch that you can use to stick the pouches to the tree.

4) Cut out 24 pouches in varying colours and sizes. Lay them across the tree to determine where you want to position them and then glue the folds in place. Press the pouches firmly down onto the tree. (You may find it helpful to iron the folds flat to make it easier to stick them down. Simply place a tea towel over the pouch with the folds folded in then gently press the iron down repeatedly for a few seconds.) When all the pouches are stuck on leave the calendar to dry overnight, placing something weighty on top of the pouches to help them stick more firmly.

5) Once your pouches have dried, cut out 24 snow trims from the white felt, in varying sizes to match the pouches, and stick these onto the top of the pouches. Don’t put too much glue on these as it will seep through and make the white felt transparent.

6) Finally, get children to help stick on the numbers randomly (to make finding them more of a challenge) and decorate with fake snow, holly, presents and whatever takes your fancy!

How to fill your calendar:

Banishing shop-bought sweets in favour of homemade Yuletide treats is the best thing about making your own advent calendar. Peppermint candy canes and will last the duration and so are a good surprise to keep for later in December. Pretty fruity biscotti will keep for up to a month and homemade chocolate drops will also last, though make sure they don’t get too warm.

For goodies that need to be kept wrapped up or eaten within a few days, use a roll of festive cellophane and sneak favourites like white chocolate chip fudge , Christmas brownie lollipops and bramble marshmallows into the pouches a day or two before they’ll be opened.

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If you’re making your own advent calendar this year, share your efforts with us on Facebook or tell us how you got on below.