Holiday Craft: How to Make an Advent Calendar


I have always wanted to make my own advent calendar. There is something magical about counting down the days until Christmas. Growing up, we had a calendar where you would take a small candy cane out of a numbered pocket and replace it with a small ornament everyday. We did this every day of December until we reached Christmas day. It was always the highlight of my day, eating the candy and seeing what fun ornament would be put in its place.

This year, Mom It Forward put together a "31 Days of Service Calendar". This is the year I decided I had to make my advent calendar. Instead of using candy for my countdown, I decided I wanted to incorporate the daily service projects on the list. Everyday the Mom It Forward calendar gives you a small and simple way to make a difference in someone else's life. I can't think of a better way to count down Christmas than serving others. Here is how I made my calendar.

Homemade Advent Calendar for December

How to Make a December Service Advent Calendar


  • Picture Frame (11x16 or large enough to hold 31 days of service ideas)
  • Rolled Cork Board (I purchased mine at Hobby Lobby. It was so easy to work with)
  • Holiday embellishments
  • Craft glue
  • Small Brads (You can use one color or different colors)
  • Ribbon (This is optional if you want a bow on the top of your project)
  • 1 inch circle punch
  • 1 1/2 punch or Cricut Expression machine.
  • Small hole punch (Mine was a 1/4 of an inch)
  • Vinyl numbers


  1. Take out the glass of your picture frame. Measure the rolled cork to the same size as your picture backing and cut to size. My cork had a sticky back. Do not take the backing off. You will need to attach the brads to this before you put it back of your frame.
  2. Print out whatever details you will be adding to your advent calendar. I used the "31 Days of Service" topics. I printed them in Publisher. You can actually put the words in the exact size of circle that you will be cutting with your circle cutter. This makes it super simple if you set them up like this now.
  3. Punch the circles out using your 1 inch punch.
  4. Cut out 31 shapes for your calendar. To make things simpler for myself, I used my Cricut machine. Cricut has a cartridgt called Elegant Edges that has a variety of circles. I wanted to incorporate several different shaped circles in my project and this made it very simple to do that. Make sure you cut out your designs large enough so they cover the 1 inch circles. I made mine about 1 1/2 inches.
  5. Lay out your servicee circles and larger circles on top of them on your cork mat until you get the look you want.
  6. Stick the numbers on the larger circles to match the days on the calendar.
  7. Punch a small hole through both circles (Outer circle and the 1 inch circle with service idea) and connect them with a brad. Do this until all 31 days have been attached.
  8. Push the back of the brad through the cork and spread out the tongs on the back of your project for each day. Continue to do this until all of your numbered circles are connected to the cork mat.
  9. Place the mat into your picture frame and connect it so it stays in place.
  10. Add embellishments and ribbon to your calendar if you wish. I cut out the word December on my Cricut and attached that to my frame to finish things off.


Black picture frame


Numbered patterned paper attached to cork board

Numbered patterened paper inside a black frame

What type of advent calendar do you use in your home? What type of service are you doing with your family this holiday season?

Jill Greenlaw has a banking background. She gave that up 17 years ago when she got married and started having kids. She loved being a stay-at-home mom while raising her four beautiful children. A few years ago, Jill went back to work in sales. She is now working for the Mom It Forward team as their Community Manager. She loves her job. Her interests include camping, motorcycling, boating, photography, reading, cooking, and traveling. Put her in flip flops anywhere warm and she is happy.

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