Every family has its own holiday traditions. Most of them happen to include Advent calendars that tick down the days with a small treat or phrase hidden behind the numbered days. Whether you already have your own Advent calendars from years gone by, or are looking to start one, here is a grand idea for a simple Advent calendar project made from felt. With an easy step-by-step guide and materials list, you can have your children looking forward to the Christmas countdown with a new perspective. Before starting this project, think about how many days you want your Advent to run for. Most generally run for 12 days, starting with December 14th. If you choose to run a 25 day Advent, you will need more of the 1 inch squares mentioned below in the materials list.
Felt Advent Calendar Project
12 in. square piece of felt in your choice of colors for the background
12 in. square piece of sturdy cardboard
1 in. square pieces of felt in your choice of colors for the days (12 pieces for a 12 day Advent, 25 for a 25 Day Advent)
Ribbon, cut approximately 8 inches long
Roll of velcro, cut in 1/2 in. long strips by 1/4 in. wide (you will most likely have to cut the velcro to the width you need)
Crayons, colored pencils, markers, glitter pens
Hot glue gun
Hot glue sticks
Use the hot glue gun with a glue stick to apply ample amounts of hot glue to one side of the 12 inch piece of sturdy cardboard. Lay the 12 inch piece of felt that you chose for the background on the glue so that it is square with the cardboard and lines up evenly. You will have to do this quickly so that the glue doesn’t dry on you or cool down too much to effectively stick.
Hot glue one side of the velcro to the very edge of the 1 inch square pieces of felt, right along one edge. Decide where you want these squares to be placed on the background. Hot glue the direct opposite end of the 1 inch square and place on the background where you want it. Do this with the amount of 1 inch squares that you chose to use until you are done.
Now, use the other side of the velcro strips and place directly under where the first pieces of velcro on the one inch squares happen to fall at. Your goal is to create a latching point to keep the days closed until you choose to have them opened. Hot glue these second sides to create your latches.
With the fabric markers, write the numbers 1 through 12 (or 1 through 25 depending on how many days that you chose to use) on the 1 inch flaps. Get creative, use different colors for each day or make the numbers look great by using different types of writing styles.
Using the glitter pens, write “Advent Calendar” across the top so that it is centered. Hot glue one end of the ribbon about a 1/4 of the way from the top edge of the background, making sure that you glue it to the back. Glue the other end 1/4 inch from the other end of the background. Let dry, then use for your hanger.
Use the construction papers to cut out and decorate different holiday images with the crayons, colored pencils, markers, or glitter pens. Trees, snowmen, stockings, candy canes, whatever your imagination happens to run into. Hot glue them around the background where you have free space.
Now that you have the basic setup, you can come up with how you want your Advent to work. Small gifts? Candies? Sayings, thoughts, or biblical verses? The choice is yours, and can be centered around religious beliefs or the amount of cash you want to spend.
Myself, I like to mix it up a little between small gifts, freebies, and candy. With a fabric marker, I put a number behind each flap that corresponds to the type of treat that is received. For example, 1’s would be gifts, 2’s would be freebies, and 3’s would be candy. Then I randomly place the numbers under the flaps. I always put very few gifts (number one’s) under the flaps, since it can be costly even if they are only dollar store items. Mostly, I use three’s. As for the freebies, they are lined with one chore skipped or one free movie. When the children open their flap and get their corresponding number, they are allowed to receive their candy or gift, or choose which chore is to be skipped or which movie they would like to see.
Also, since this is such an inexpensive and easy project, I like to make one Advent per child. Each child can open their own on their days, but I make sure to mix the numbers up on each calendar to keep the children from receiving the same things on the same days. I do remember to put the same amount of each number on each calendar to make it fair.