CRAFT: Make Your Own Advent Calendar

Published on: December 06, 2019

Long-standing BAMBI member and all-round creative whizz Donatella Lazzari shows how to make your very own healthy or treat-filled advent calendar! By Donatella Lazzari Advent calendars are used to count down the days until Christmas. Advent is the time observed in Christian churches as the time spent waiting and preparing for the celebration of the birth of Jesus. Most advent calendars start on 1t December and end on 24 December, Christmas Eve, but you could have a few bonus catch up days if you start it later! Children and adults alike will enjoy sharing the making of this calendar and then creating a little daily routine opening the “windows” and revealing the surprise. It is an exciting build-up to one of the most magical days of the year, Christmas.  Commercially produced calendars may contain sweets, chocolates or small toys but the beauty of making your own advent calendar is that it offers you the possibility to personalize the surprise.  It can be filled with Christmas themed jokes, riddles or activities; or it could offer the Christmas story in 24 parts or even family memories from the year passed. Children will love it in any form. So many great reasons, you will want to make a new one every year!  


24 empty toilet rolls (or 12 empty kitchen towel rolls cut in half) Green, red and brown paper; and yellow, gold or glitter for the star Green card to wrap around the “tree” PVA Glue Adhesive tape, stapler, hot glue gun (optional) Adhesive labels or numbers (optional) Green, brown, yellow poster paint (optional) Scissors, pencil, ruler, felt tip pens Card approx. 32x32cm for backing An assortment of sweets, chocolates, small toys or printed Christmas jokes to fill in the 24 rolls


Gather all of the materials in your working space before you start. If you are working with a child this is very important because if you need to rush around finding missing materials they may lose patience and attention and will not believe in the possibility of making this craft happen! You might want to protect a portion of the working surface (table/floor) from glue or paint with paper or plastic cloth.  1. Start by drawing and cutting out 24 circles the size of the rolls from the green/red/brown paper or any colors you would like to make your tree. These circles will be the visible front of your advent calendar. For the tree trunk, you might want to wrap the rolls in brown paper or paint with brown paint.         2. Glue one cut circle on each roll by dipping it in PVA glue. Lay the rolls out into the shape of a triangle. For the 24th roll cut out a star-shaped tree topper and wrap the roll in yellow paper or paint with yellow paint.         3. Cut out strips of green cardboard to surround the triangle. If you are using toilet paper rolls, join two strips 10cm wide and 50cm long. Alternatively, you can paint the visible sides of the rolls with green poster paint. Glue the rolls together to form a triangle shape – you may also use double-sided tape or a small stapler. Now you need to draw the outline of your tree on the cardboard to create the backing. Cut it out and set aside. Next, proceed to glue the green strips to surround the roll triangle.       4. With a marker pen, write out the numbers from 1-24 on labels and stick them on the colored circles. You may arrange them in order or randomly, but I would recommend keeping the 24 for the topper.  Once the green surround is glued to the main tree triangle of the tree, you can glue the two rolls for the tree trunk and the star topper. At this step the hot glue gun might come in handy making this task quicker and stronger.         5. Before sticking on the backing, you need to fill in the rolls – I do this secretly from my children, once they have gone to bed, in order to maintain the surprise. To stick the backing on the rolls, brush PVA glue on the edge of the rolls or use double-sided tape.          

I hope you will enjoy this craft. I wish you all a very Merry Christmas!


About the Author

Donatella is a mother of three, dedicated wife, arts and crafts teacher, dormant qualified architect, aspiring “mumpreneur”, enthusiast photographer, designer and cook! 360° creative Donatella is part Italian part Thai and arrived from London 10 years ago. Holding possibly one of the longest-standing BAMBI membership numbers, she has always been proud to be part of this extraordinary and always inspiring diverse group of women.
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