DIY Advent Calendar

Tree Advent Calendar: IKEA hack, inexpensive cardboard advent calendar that’s been silver leafed, and filled with printable activities.
Tree Advent Calendar: IKEA hack, inexpensive cardboard advent calendar that's been silver leafed, and filled with printable activities.

This tree advent wreath is a fun project to take an inexpensive paper advent calendar up a notch with beautiful silver leaf. 

I really liked a mirrored advent calendar I saw out shopping on day, with all the cute little doors, and the sparkly, shiny mirror. I didn’t really like the price.  So, when I saw this cardboard version at IKEA this Christmas for only $10 I had an idea.

silver leaf advent calendar DIY

Silver Leaf. I had some left over from this project, so I broke it out again. And again I fell in love with it…this might be the beginning of a silver leafed Christmas.  And of course you could use gold leaf if you’re more of a gold person.there is gold. 


  • cardboard advent calendar
  • silver leaf
  • adhesive for silver leaf
  • number stickers

how to silver leaf an advent calendar

How To Make A Tree Advent Calendar

1.The silver leaf is really easy to apply. Just follow the directions.  For mine, I applied the adhesive with a paint brush, working in sections.  It has to sit for 15 minutes, then you apply the silver leaf.

I removed the individual boxes and did the front section of each one.

2. After the silver leaf added everywhere, I used scrapbook stickers from the dollar store for the numbers.

You can see a little bit of the green base in some sections, if I had to do it again, I might spray the whole thing gold before I started so that it was in the little spots showing through.

DIY Advent calendar

It only took about an hour or so to do all the silver leaf. 

advent calendar activities

We started the tradition a few years ago of doing an activity advent calendar together as a family. It’s a great way to make sure that the busyness of the holiday season doesn’t take over and prevent us from doing all those fun memory making activities we all want to do, but might not get around to without a plan.

activity advent calendar cards

It’s also a way to emphasise that doing things together is more important than just buying more and more stuff.

what to put in an advent calendar

I’ve made over 60 suggested activity cards available in three different patterns.  You can purchase and download them here  and then print them at home and add them to your calendar.

advent calendar makeover

Some of them are simple, and others are more elaborate.

My big tip if you’re putting one of these calendars together for your family is to do it with a little calendar print out beside you. Because the holidays are so busy, we don’t need to make more work for ourselves, so I try to include lots of things we’d be doing already. You’re likely going to decorate a tree this year, and give your kids a bath whether you do an activity calendar or not. Schedule a bubble bath with holiday music for their regular bath night, and schedule tree decorating for when you’re doing it anyway.

Then, fill in with some of the other activities that catch your eye, and might help you be a little more intentional about making some memories this year, like a picnic under the Christmas tree.

Make sure that busy nights have easy activities and save the big projects for when you have more time, like on the weekend.

advent calendar makeover craft

Along with the activities you might choose a few little treats for some days. Or, if the activities don’t fit your family, you could simplify it with just treats. What ever works best for you.

advent calendar ideas

This year, I tied up the activities as little scrolls and added some treats for certain days.

DIY silver leaf advent calendar

With a pretty DIY advent calendar like this, life really is a party!

You might also like our Children’s Story Book Advent Calendar here.

Also check out our Activity Advent Calendar here.

Printable Christmas Advent Calendar Activities: with over 60 different activities to choose from pick 24 and make some special memories with your family this Christmas.

You might also enjoy our House Advent Calendar here.

DIY House Advent Calendar: A pattern for 3 sizes of paper houses, and printable number labels to make your own advent village.


  1. Love this idea! My friend and I were going to get our kids together to do “12 days of Christmas” – I’ll definitely be using some of your activities. Thanks for sharing!

  2. This is beautiful! I am so tired of the licensed-character-themed advent calendars…though I have no issues with the chocolate! This year my mom bought my girls a handmade fabric calendar which we can reuse every year. I was already planning to tuck some chocolate treats inside, but I may try some of your little notes. It might seem a little more manageable if I don’t try to do all 25 days in advance…they won’t know if I put the notes in day by day! Thanks for the inspiration!

  3. What a great idea, to tuck them in day by day. Love that you can customize things to suit your own family. Thanks for sharing that great idea.

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