Heirloom Advent Calendar DIY

I am so so so excited to share today’s post! Our mom had an advent calendar when we were little kids (with one candy per day) and it is such a sweet and special holiday memory for me. I knew I wanted to make an advent for Nova’s second first Christmas (last year we returned home from China the week before Christmas and she doesn’t remember it, so we call this her second first Christmas—kind of fun to get a redo!). Anyway! I knew I wanted to do something we could keep for a long time and use every year. So I was OK with spending a good amount of time and work on it.

I spent wayyyyyy too much time scrolling ideas on Pinterest (so fun!) and I kept feeling drawn to the stockings. So I did my own set with my favorite colors and lots of unfinished wood, which is a current design obsession for me.

Here’s a close up.

I had SO MUCH FUN working on this. It could totally be done in a weekend, but I spent about a week on it since I get distracted a LOT.

Let’s talk about the DIY steps. This is E-A-S-Y. There’s nothing in this that you can’t just see from the photos, but I will still explain all the steps just in case you’re curious about exactly how I did it.

1. First, cut out 24 stockings from felt. I mainly used felt I already had, so it’s a mix between high and low quality (and I’m a-OK with that!). I made a few paper templates for stocking shapes and used them to cut out all the stockings. I didn’t want mine to be exactly the same shapes and sizes, but you can do that if you want a more unified look.

Next, embellish each stocking on the top side with hand embroidery and/or by glueing things onto the stockings.

2. Machine stitch or hand-stitch each stocking. Next, add a loop to the top of each stocking with felt or yarn (something to hang them from).

3. Paint small wood stars white and drill or punch holes. Use a stamp set to add numbers one through 24.

4. Add the stars to the stockings with string.

5. Use wooden rods, yarn, and wood beads to make the hanging structure. You can see below that my stockings are permanently attached to the rods, but you can tie them on instead if you’d like to be able to remove them each day.

Bonus step: After I was done, I wanted to add a little more detail, so I hung a bunch of larger wooden stars on the rods.

6. Fill your stockings with candy, teeny little toys, and notes with fun activities like movies to watch, crafts to do or special places you will go each day.

MY HEART!!!!!!! I had so so much fun working on this and I am so excited for December 1 so Nova can start experiencing it!

I hope some of you will make this project this year and in years to come. I would LOVE to see your version of it in colors that you choose, so please tag us on Instagram @abeautifulmess. If you don’t have the time to make your own this year, there are lots of cute felt calendars out there or you can just buy the mini stocking part and go from there to save a little time but still do some homemade elements on it. We’ve also done a few advent calendars over the years here on the blog so see if one of those seems perfect for you!

I’m here if you have any questions! xx – Elsie


P.S. Check out more cute home and holiday decor favorites on our wishlist and shopping pages!


Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography: Amber Ulmer. Photos edited with A Color Story Desktop.
  • Hi! What dimensions is this? How much yarn and what size dowels did you get? And about how much felt did you use? Would love more detailed instructions because I definitely want to make this.

  • This is so cute. I know it’s an older post but is there anyway to update it with more details or even sources for the wooden structure… even just search terms would be so helpful!

  • Going to make this! First year doing an avent calander for my girls. Quick question – do you have rough heught for the stocks and the frame? Thaaaaanks xx

  • I LOVE how it turned out, especially that each stocking is different and so fun in its own way!

  • Hi Elsie,

    this is without a doubt the advent calendar of my dreams ???? I will definitely make this one, but rather for next year, as it’s a little late now for me.
    My little one turned only just 2 and won’t miss it this year. His godmother already prepared 24 little presents for him, anyway. But from next year on, your lovely calendar will be a staple in our house.
    Thank you sooo much for the inspiration. Have a wonderful advent time.

    Lots of love,

    In Love with Bliss – plantiful recipes nourishing body & soul

  • What size dowels did you use? I made stocking for my advent calendar last year but i didn’t have a good idea for hanging them, love this!

  • This is so sweet, I love your colors. I had the most fun making advent calendars for my daughter for years, (she’s 27 now so a little tricky/odd to carry on the tradition!.) I was going to make one with favorite cocktails but didn’t quite seem to be sending the right message! ha Enjoy these magical years, it just gets better and better.

    • This is so cute! I want to recreate it. How did you assemble the string frame and dowel rods? Did you tie them in the back? Thanks. Can’t wait to get started.

  • I’m in love with this! I’ve been wanting to make an advent calendar for our baby boy, but couldn’t decide how it would take shape. Every last detail of this is amazing and so special, reminds me of some of the hand sewn ornaments I have from when my mom was a kid. Your designs are always the best, but this is seriously my favorite. Thanks for the awesome inspiration!

  • Just curious, how did you construct the structure? The rods etc? So in love with this! Did you tie the rods together?

  • This is such a lovely idea. So much better than wasteful, mass-produced advent calendars!

  • This is so beautiful! I love how much personality it has! A practical question, how do you plan to store this? I don’t have a ton of storage space, so I need to think about that before making something large like this. It looks like it doesn’t come apart, so you should need a large shelf or box to store it on / in.

  • OMG I love this! I made a massive advent calendar a few years ago that we hang over the fireplace of unfinished wood and cardstock tiny boxes but I love all the texture yours has! My kids are learning to sew and I know this would be the cutest project for us all to complete!

  • OH MY WORD. I need to make this. Don’t have any little kiddos yet but that’s okay ???? my husband and I can take even Or odd numbers until they arrive! Where did you find the wood beads that you used for the “frame” love those and that there are different sizes with the thicker ones. I am also really into raw wood ???? so good. Love this project! Great job and thank you for posting a tutorial! Will tag you when I make mine

  • What an adorable idea, I would love to make this when I have kids someday!

  • This is such a fun and whimsical idea for an advent calendar! This makes me want to make my own stockings in general. Totally fits the retro vibe I want to go for this Christmas. Love. Thanks for sharing!

  • I love this! Looks totally approachable for someone like me who loves crafts, but isn’t always so talented at them!

  • I made a similar one for my daughter last year and she loved it, I’m looking forward to my son experiencing some days this year too! What are you planning on filling them with, I have realised that this is hard bit every year!

  • What a sweet advent calendar idea! Wish I had room in our home to make one. This is darling!

  • LOVE this! We made one the year my son was born (now 4) and it’s been so fun to create memories with it each year. I did stamped numbers on little bags, but you’re inspiring me to paint some stars to add some color and embellishment to the bags 🙂 Happy magic season with Nova!

  • This is possibly the best advent calendar out there – even better than the chocolate ones (and that’s saying a lot because I’m a huge chocoholic)! I love the colours you’ve used in the DIY. So pink and pastel, so cute! 🙂

    Charmaine Ng | Architecture & Lifestyle Blog

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