Make this cheap and easy DIY advent calendar with items you already have around your house! This is how to make an advent calendar out of toilet paper rolls.
What Is An Advent Calendar?
Advent calendars are used by religious and non-religious people, so how you use it is entirely up to you and your beliefs.
The tradition started wayyyy back in the mid-19th century when German Protestants made chalk marks on doors or lit candles to count the days leading up to Christmas. Today, Christians might light candles or read different Bible verses on each night of December leading up to the day they celebrate Christ’s birth.
Non-religious people use advent calendars as a way to count down to Christmas during December. There are tons of commercial ones out there – I’ve even seen a wine advent calendar!
How To Make A DIY Advent Calendar
Save your money and make your own. This easy DIY project is one you can make with your kids. It’s made with toilet paper rolls and filled with anything you want – little toys, candies, inspirational quotes, or Bible verses.
Kids love punching out each tissue paper roll and finding out what’s inside!
DIY Advent Calendar Supplies
Remember: the entire craft is in a printable craft card at the bottom of this post. The following photos and tips are supplemental to help you out as you make it!
Here’s what you need to make your own calendar.
- Hot Glue Gun and Glue
- Cardboard Rolls (paper towel rolls or toilet paper rolls)
- Rubber Bands
- Decorative Tissue Paper (any color)
- Green Paint
- Cardboard (reuse cardboard from a box)
Homemade Advent Calendar Tips
Check out these photos and tips as you make your own advent calendar or just scroll down to the bottom to read the entire tutorial in the printable card.
Measure & Cut The Cardboard Rolls
You need to make sure they are all the same size. Measure them and cut them. You can just use scissors or a boxcutter.
Cut out 24 rolls.
Arrange Them In The Shape Of A Tree
Next, arrange your cardboard rolls into the shape of a tree on top of your cardboard. Do not glue anything down yet. Use a pencil or marker to trace the shape of a tree around the toilet paper rolls.
This tree-shape is going to be the back of your advent calendar.
After you trace it, remove the rolls and cut out the tree shape.
Paint The Tree
This is the part the kids can help with! Paint the tree green. If you are doing this by yourself, you can speed things up by using spray paint.
Let it dry before you move to the next step.
Hot Glue The Rolls
After the tree is completely dry, start gluing the cardboard rolls. Hot glue really does work the best.
Fill The Rolls With Treats
This is my favorite part! I like doing this when the kids are not around so that each day is a surprise.
Fill the rolls with candies and treats.
What do you put inside a homemade advent calendar?
Put anything your kids will like opening! Here are some of my favorite ideas:
- Small Toys
- Coupons for more screen time
- Memories of past Christmases
Secure With Tissue & Rubber Bands
Use gift-wrapping tissue paper to hide the treats. Secure the tissue paper with a rubber band. You can use tape if you don’t have any rubber bands.
The color of the tissue paper isn’t important. You can color coordinate it with your holiday decor, use your child’s favorite colors, or just be random!
Write Numbers 1-24
The last step is to write out daily numbers on the advent calendar. Count up or count down – there isn’t a right or wrong way to do that either.
Easy DIY Advent Calendar Printable Card
Here is the printable craft card with all the steps and supplies. Print it out, but don’t forget to pin this post so you can find it later!
- Rigid cardboard piece (size 12” X 15”)
- Black marker (sharpie)
- Tissue paper (color of choice)
- 12 empty toilet paper rolls
- 24 rubber bands
- Dark Green paint
- 24 small gifts of your choosing
- Paintbrush or sponge
- Glue gun and glue sticks
- Cut all paper rolls in halves.
- Place your cut paper rolls on your cardboard in the shape of a tree starting with one roll at the very top, adding two underneath it, and increasing each row by one paper roll until you’ve formed a row of 6(six) rolls.
- Finish your tree shape by making the trunk.
- Add a row of two paper rolls and end with a single paper roll on the very last row.
- Outline your paper roll tree with a marker then cut off the excess cardboard.
- Paint your tree shaped cut out in dark green with a paintbrush and let dry.
- While your tree is drying, cut 4” X 4” squares of tissue paper. For our project, we chose red, green, and blue tissue paper, however, don’t feel limited to these colors. Whichever color you end up choosing, make sure to cut out 16 (sixteen) squares of each color.
- Once your tree is dry, glue the first cut paper roll to the very top of your tree.
- Insert your gift into the paper roll then cover with 2 pieces of tissue paper and secure with a rubber band.
- Repeat this process and increase each row by one paper roll as you did back in step two (2) remembering to add your gift and sealing each paper roll shut with tissue paper and a rubber band.
- Finish your tree shape by making the trunk. Add a row of two paper rolls and end with a single paper roll on the very last row.
- Now take your marker and identify each paper roll with a number from 1 to 24. They do not have to follow each other, you can mix the numbers for added fun.
More Holiday DIY Ideas
Want more fun things to do this holiday season? Here are some of my favorite DIY ideas: