DIY upcycled advent calendar

If you haven’t already noticed- I love Christmas and everything that comes with it! As the stores fill with decorations and commercial advent calendars, I decided to make my own almost entirely out of material I already had at home. I did grab some pine cones, red berries and pine needles from outside my apartment and bought a block of chocolate for 2€ but that’s it! If you’re also feeling creative this festive season, here’s a step by step guide to make your own upcycled advent calendar.


  • Scissors, pen, glue gun/staple gun/strong tape
  • Paper scraps, stamp & ink, or pens to draw your own patterns
  • Frame- I used one I had a home and took the glass out
  • String- I used green but any natural colour or red would look nice
  • Pegs- small or large
  • Christmas coloured beads- I had some larger bright red ones and tiny red and cream wooden ones from my local recycle center
  • Pine cones, berries, leaves- anything red and green from outdoors would look great
  • Other decorations for the frame- I had a ceramic heart, dove and star my mum had made for me last Christmas
  • Chocolate or other treats. I used half of two blocks of the Christmas and Winter Fazer chocolate. You could also write an inspiring quote or fun activity to do each day… hot chocolate at favourite cafe, museum visit, movie voucher, day trip to a different town.

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  1. Cut string into 4-5 equal lengths that will fit across your frame, leaving enough string to attach to the edges of the frame with a staple gun, glue gun or strong tape.
  2. Arrange the pegs on the string in the shape of a Christmas tree, starting with a few at the top, more in the middle and two at the bottom for the base. I interspersed the pegs with red and gold beads.
  3. Cut the paper into 25 different sized squares/rectangles and stamp with a festive stamp or draw a bright pattern. I used a large snowflake and each piece of paper had a slightly different pattern. Write 1-25 on the papers and attach to the pegs in date order.

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  4. Add a treat to the back of each number. I used the Fazer Christmas and Winter chocolate blocks, breaking them into individual squares and wrapping each square in foil from the packet. I then glued each chocolate square to the back of the paper. This also made the paper squares stand out a bit more. Alternatively, you could use gold chocolate coins, or for a non-food treat you could write an uplifting quote or a fun activity to do on that day.
  5. Optional: decorate the frame. I used pine cones, red berries, pine needles and the decorations my mum made.
  6. Display and enjoy 😊 – I had some fairy lights which added an extra festive feel when I wound them around the frame.