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Make a Simple Advent Calendar

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I’m a little embarrassed to admit, but making an Advent Calendar for my family has been on my to do list for the last 5 or 6 years!  Every year I plan to make one, but I simply run out of time and it just gets to close to Christmas, so I scrap the project until next year.  I know I could have just gone out and bought one, but I didn’t want to do that.  I wanted to make an Advent Calendar, not buy one…

This year, I finally got it done and it could not have been any easier!  (And if you are like me and have a collection of washi tape that you don’t know what to do with, this is a great project for that!)


Make an Easy Advent Calendar using clothespins and washi tape. #advent #washitape #craft


Materials Needed to Make this Advent Calendar  

(Making this advent calendar is about as simple as it gets.)  

If you don’t have a picture frame to use, a foam board is a good alternative, as long as you have a place to store it away where it won’t get bent.

First apply the washi tape to the clothespins.  If you find you’re having trouble getting the edges of the washi tape to stick to the clothespins, run a nail file (or fine grit sandpaper) along the edges of the clothespin.  This will easily remove any excess washi tape and seal the edges.

The frame I used came from Ikea.  Now that it is done, I kind of feel like the frame was a little on the small side. (It is 11 x 15 –  If I were to make this again, I would probably get the next size up. To fit all 4 rows of bags, I needed to fold them in half.)

Decide how many rows you will need, based on the size of your frame.  Cut the appropriate length of string and lay out your rows with the clothes pins to determine the spacing.  Use a pencil to mark the placement of the string.  Hot glue the edges of the string to the back of the frame, making sure there is no slack.

Add the number stamps (or stickers) to your treat bags and hang them on the string…  That’s it!  Just don’t forget to fill your treat bags with goodies or notes!

The treat bags are small, so I plan to jot down the treat or activity of the day on a little note.  I still haven’t added notes to my bags yet, I need to sit down and brainstorm a few ideas. I’m not big on candy, but the kids are, so I will add do just a few sweet treats (maybe a couple of candies and some special desserts or snacks, like hot chocolate or pudding.)  I’ll add in a few special activities like roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the fire pit, game night, baking cookies, reading special stories about the holiday, etc…

washi tape craft ideas

I definitely need more ideas, I would love it if you could take a moment and share a few of your favorite activities or ideas in the comments!

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  1. Jenn Romano says:

    What a great idea! We decided (last minute of course!) we wanted to make an Advent calendar at our house and this is perfect. Just the right amount of effort required for cool results. Thank you 🙂

  2. Kristi Wolff says:

    Thanks for the super easy and great idea! I do have an abundance of washi tape and have been wanting a craft to use it on. This is a win win!

  3. What a great idea for an advent calendar. I love the colorful clothes pins.
    Bonnie @ Our Secondhand House

  4. Brenda @ Chatting Over Chocolate says:

    So cute! Love it!! 🙂

  5. Chiara Irene says:

    Hi I'm Chiara from One O's Blog, just stopped by to compliment for the project quality. See you at the link party at Flamingo Toes!

  6. Hoyby Crafts says:

    I absolutely love this idea! I want to make one so badly for my daughter, but seeing as how she is only 16 months, I'm not sure what treats/activities I can give her to keep it age-appropriate, so if you have ideas, I would love to hear them! Stopping by from Hoyby Crafts through the Flamingo Toes link party (Ribbon Turkey Vase).

  7. I have seen a lot of DIY advent calendars this year, but this is one of my favorites! I just pinned it so I won't forget it next year (I am simply running out of time to make things this year). I just love it! Glad I came to check out the details from the twelve0eight link party!

    – Tasha @ Designer Trapped in a Lawyer's Body

  8. Tanya Runkle says:

    So cute Jamie!! I need to make one this year 🙂 yours is darling! Xo

  9. We do something like this but instead of a treat its a different family activity each day. Christmas play, Christmas movie, decorate the Christmas tree, wrap gifts, read a Christmas story, drink hot chocolate, hot tub, drive around and look at Christmas lights-scavenger hunt style, festival of trees, dicken's festival, the nutcracker, etc.

  10. I used the big binder clips last year for our Advent calendar. I think I'll add some washi tape to them this year to change things up a little. I pinned your post to my Christmas Crafts, Decor, and Recipe board.

  11. Chelsea J says:

    I love the idea of the clothespins and washi tape! I would never have thought of that. What a great idea!

  12. This looks great and I love the colors, too. Thanks for sharing with us!

  13. Tonia Larson says:

    Super cute idea! I love the colors and patterns you chose.

  14. Stacia, the Homey Owl says:

    This is so fun! I wish my mom would have taken this approach to advent calendars while I was growing up. Candy was great, but this is awesome. Maybe you could put different family member's names in a bag and then they could pick the evening activity – movie, book, special dinner. Something easy for you and the rest of the family to do together, but each person could have a turn picking.

    1. choosing the or dinner or special activity is another good one!

  15. mylittlecorner says:

    We did this one year, we had all the names of the family in the bags, it was there special day, where we all had to think of ways to serve them, make their bed, help them with homework, ect… just that you get a day where you are focused on by the whole family.

    1. I love that! Being someone's special day is a great idea.

  16. jmhagen2007 says:

    You got me thinking after I saw your idea! I like how simple it is, now to see if I can duplicate it for my household. I did some searching and found a website with some good ideas- http://mumsgrapevine.com.au/2012/11/20-advent-calendar-fillers_no-sweets_no-chocolate/ …another site that I like is

    Other ideas I've seen are books wrapped as gifts and you read a new book each night. They don't need to be NEW books either, a favorite Christmas story works too that you already have.

    BUT I think my favorite idea is the one where you start with something big and break it into 25 pieces. Each day you add a new piece to the "puzzle" to see what the final item could be…..I think this could go many directions….for little kids it could be an actual 25 piece puzzle, for older kids it could be for some sort of coupon or as one of the links I put in, a treasure map to something. I have so many ideas now! I'm liking this better than the Elf on the Shelf right now!

    Thanks for your idea!

    1. I'll have to check out those sites and the book idea ia a good one. I'm not sure I am creative enough to come up with something that fits together in 25 days, that won will need a little research…