Last year I decided that I wanted to start an advent calendar tradition since my kids were finally at the age where they were getting excited about Christmas time. I shopped and shopped (online mostly) and kept coming back to this cute Advent Calendar on the Pottery Barn website. I kept telling myself no because who can really afford all the cute stuff they sell? Yes, I would love my house to look like a page from their catalog but I would also love to have food on the table and gas in my car.
FINALLY, after receiving a coupon in my email, I decided to splurge. I placed the order in early November but the shipment date kept getting pushed back. One morning in early December, I checked my order status only to see it got pushed back yet again and wouldn’t even ship out for a few more weeks rendering it useless until next year. Completely fed up, I cancelled my order, went out to garage and raided my scrap woodpile and made my own! I think I like my DIY version even more than the one I was going to pay a lot of money for!
If you’re feeling crafty and in the Holiday spirit this might just be the project for you. I used (mostly) materials that I already had on hand as leftovers from other projects but it wouldn’t cost much to go buy this stuff new from the hardware store. Here is what you’ll need:
- Wood scraps (or new wood cut to size at the store)
- Glue (E6000 is my glue of choice)
- Wooden star from the craft store (mine is about 8 ½” wide)
- Clothes pins
- Mini stockings (or anything that would be cute hanging from the clothespins)
- D-rings or picture hangers
First you will need to cut your wood to size. I used some wooden planks that were leftover from a plank wall project I did in my master bedroom. My planks are 3 ¾” wide and were already painted white. I cut the length to size on my chop saw. Here are the cuts I made…
- 45 ½” long for the base (or trunk) of the tree
- 8 ½” long for the top branch
- 12” long for the 2nd branch
- 17” long for the 3rd branch
- 22” long for the 4th branch
- 24 ½” long for the bottom branch
Once you make the cuts you will want to lightly sand the wood just to make sure nobody gets a splinter. Then paint each wood piece white (or your color of choice). My wood was already pre-painted but I spray painted the star and clothes pins white and set them out to dry. I didn’t worry about getting great coverage because I kind of liked the rustic look of the wood grain showing through.
Once the paint was dry it was time to assemble! For my project, the planks were way too thin to nail together so I used my E6000 glue instead. The trick with this glue is to let the project sit overnight to dry in a place where nobody (i.e. the kids) will mess with it. This glue is awesome and, once dry, it will hold really well. My advent calendar has been stored all year and it’s still holding strongly and looking great!
First I glued the star to the top of the base. My star is glued to where about 1/3 of the star is above the top end of the board and the 2/3rd’s of the star is glued down.
For the branches, I just eyeballed the spacing but here are the measurements for how mine is spaced out for reference. The top branch is glued 4 ½” from the top of the base. The remaining branches are spaced about 3 ½” apart. That leaves about 8 ½” at the bottom for the trunk of the tree.
Once you have everything placed and glued you’ll want to glue the clothespins on each of the levels. I just eyeballed the spacing and let it sit out to dry. There are 3 clothespins on the top branch, 4 on the second, 5 on the third, 6 on the fourth, and 7 on the bottom branch.
I originally wanted to use cute little bags just like the pottery barn version but when I was at Hobby Lobby I found some cute mini stockings on sale and thought they’d add a fun look. I bought 25 of them plus a tube of paint with a pointy tip so I could easily add the numbers.
Just wait until the kids naptime and add the numbers 1-25 on all the stockings and let them dry for an hour or two. Before you add the stockings, flip the advent calendar over and add a D-ring or a picture hanger to the back so you can mount it on the wall.
Now find a place on your wall to display your advent calendar and start thinking of things to put in the stockings or bags for each day. Carrie has some great ideas!
This project is very easy and, although it seems like several steps, the skill level necessary is low so anyone could manage this. The great thing about this is that it’s just a cute (much cuter, in my opinion) than the Pottery Barn version for a fraction of the price!!