You ate your turkey and pumpkin pie. You shunned Black Friday shopping mayhem and went for #optoutside instead. It is now officially time for Christmas. Hold onto your Santa hats folks, it’s about to get crazy around here.
The first act of holiday decorating madness? A Giant DIY Advent Calendar. GIANT. Like, super sized, how does that fit in your living room level giant.
You might remember that last year I made this adorable (if I do say so myself) advent tree out of toilet paper tubes and tissue paper. It was holiday surprise meets The Price is Right punch game. It was such a huge success with the kiddos that I decided this year we were going to take that simple calendar to the nth degree. I told the Hubs my idea and he agreed to go along with my craziness and help me out with this one, hence the hairy arms you see in some of the pictures. I mean, I am a hairy beast, but I’m not quite that burly looking.
- 4 x 8 sheet of plywood – Our finished tree was 4 x 6.
- 1 x 3 boards – You will need two 8 foot sections.
- 4 foot wide scrap wood. If your tree is 6 feet tall, you can just use the top scrap of the plywood that you will have after you cut out your tree. We had a thicker piece of scrap wood that we decided to use because we had another use for the plywood.
- Screws – 20-30
- 4 inch hole saw
- Fabric – 4.5 feet. We had red burlap lying around and it worked really well to cover the base.
- Staple gun/staples
- Tissue paper
- Paper bags – lunch size – 25
- Paper and pen
- Paper numbers: 1 – 25
- Glue stick
1. Draw out your tree shape on the plywood. Ours was 6 feet tall and 4 feet at the widest which was just the shape that fit out space the best. You can make your tree any height/width depending on where you plan to put it, just make sure you can fit all the circles in the space you have.
2. Use your jigsaw to cut out the outline of the tree.
3. Measure out where you want the holes. Ours were 4 inches wide and spaced so there were 4 in the stump, then 6/5/4/3/2/1 up the tree.
4. Cut the holes out with the hole saw.
5. Sand the edges of the tree and the inside edges of the holes.
6. Measure the sides of the tree from the top point to the widest point.
7. Cut out two pieces of 1 x 3 wood in the length you just measured.
8. Bevel the tops of the 1 x 3 cuts so that they come to a point.
9. Screw those pieces of wood to the sides of the plywood tree.
10. You will have two pieces of 1 x 3 wood left. Screw them up the sides of the stump. Let the pieces go as high as they can before they hit a hole. This will give the tree some rigidity.
11. Draw a semicircle on your piece of wood. The easiest way to do this is to put a screw in the middle and attach a string to the screw. Tie the other end of the string to a pencil and then pull it taught, drawing a semicircle.
12. Cut out the semicircle.
13. Paint your tree. I used the white glaze from Ikea because I wanted a rustic finish. You can spray paint this if you want a more even look.
14. While the tree is drying, attach your fabric to the base wood. We just pulled it taut and stapled it around, cutting of any excess as we went.
15. Once your tree is dry, stand it up and screw it into the base. You will need to screw the screws in at an angle to get them to stick.
16. Cut out 25 squares of tissue paper that are large enough to cover each circle with some extra to spare.
17. Tape the squares to the back side of the tree – one per circle – with scotch tape.
18. Cut the tops off of 24 brown paper bags.
19. Cut down the corners of the bags and fold down to create flaps on every side.
20. Cut out 24 strips of paper and write the advent calendar treats on the strips. Note: Look at your calendar as you plan activities. Don’t put “kids pick dinner” day on the busiest night of the week. Don’t put “wear pajamas all day” on the same day you are going to the Nutcracker.
21. Put Day 1 paper in a bag and tape the bag to the backside of what will be punch hole 1. You can tape the bag however you need to so that it will fit.
22. Repeat with days 2-24.
23. Turn the tree around and glue your paper numbers to the appropriate holes by dragging a glue stick across the back of the numbers. Be gentle!
24. Come December 1, start punching!