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Giant Advent Calendar DIY

When I saw this giant printed Christmas tree fabric at Ikea, I knew exactly what I wanted to do with it – a giant advent calendar. Despite being a little large and unwieldy, it was pretty easy to make, especially once I found an Etsy shop that sells felt numbers pre-cut specifically for advent calendars (who knew?!). The same seller has a wide variety of 3″ felt circles so you could make a rainbow version, an all blue and green version, or an traditional red, green and white version if the spirit moved you.
Click through for instructions and photos.
Materials needed: 1.25-inch white wool felt numbers, 3-inch wool felt circles (I used the colors salmon, cardinal, rose, red, light orange, daffodil yellow and honey gold), 2 yards printed Christmas tree fabric from Ikea, thread, sewing needle, scissors and two 62-inch wooden dowels.
Step 1: Sew a 1-inch pocket along both the top and bottom edges of the fabric.
Step 2: Lay out and stitch the felt numbers 1 – 25 on the felt circles.
Step 3: Place numbers randomly around tree (searching out of order is great for kids just learning their numbers). Stitch the circles to the fabric. Start from a 2 o’clock position to a 10 o’clock position, leaving a 2-inch opening at the top of the felt circle.
Step 4: Insert the dowels into the top pocket and the bottom pocket and smooth out the fabric. Hang it on your wall (pushpins should hold it).
Step 5: Fill up circles with treats, sweets, or coupons for fun things to do (on our list this year is to visit the tree in Rockefeller Center).
Happy Holidays, everyone!
P.S. Keep in mind this takes up a lot of wall space! Overall the calendar is 64″ x 72.”
  1. kristina

    November 23, 2012

    cool idea! love it!

  2. madeleine

    November 23, 2012

    this is awesome! i love your work!

  3. Little Kitchie

    November 23, 2012

    This fabric is awesome!!! Love it!

  4. Ana Cooks

    November 23, 2012

    brilliant idea! it’s lovely!

  5. Connie

    November 23, 2012

    What a beautiful idea, you are so creative. I love that this would work in space spaces too!

  6. Lili

    November 23, 2012

    That’s beautiful!

  7. Lisa

    November 23, 2012

    I can’t even tell you how much I love this!

  8. leah

    November 23, 2012

    this is awesome! i have been planning on doing an advent calendar with my little one, but just wasn’t sure how i wanted to go about it. i am heading to ikea this afternoon! thanks for this great diy!

  9. Tiffanie

    November 23, 2012

    That fabric is AMAZING! Had to look three times to realize it wasn’t a real tree. What a great idea!

  10. eva scott

    November 23, 2012

    WOW, this is just awesome! Love it!!

  11. Theresa

    November 23, 2012

    I love this! It makes for great christmas decorations, too!


  12. Deb Noll

    November 23, 2012

    Awesome! I didn’t see this until another customer told me about it.
    I love to see what people make with the orders I cut for them!
    Thanks for sharing my shop link 😀
    aka SunshineAnnie

  13. Hilary Freeman

    November 23, 2012

    Love this! Might force me to Ikea on black friday.

  14. Tara

    November 23, 2012

    Love this! I definitely need to get some of this fabric!

  15. Sarah

    November 23, 2012

    cute idea! If only I had an ikea by me. I swear, the next city I move to will have one within an hour’s driving time!

  16. Sarah Kate

    November 24, 2012

    Amazing. Absolutely amazing. Thank you for the idea!

  17. Holly brain

    November 24, 2012

    Where did you get the deer? I have been searching for some just like that. Darling advent. Thanks

  18. Chrissi Holt

    November 24, 2012

    oooh cute ! I have started making mine and though it is nothing spectacular it really adds to the festive decor and I am loving how it is coming along … I will have to put up some pictures on my blog afterwards … oh Christmas is just so much fun isn’t it !

    Love Chrissi xo

  19. Sasha

    November 24, 2012

    I love this–maybe for two kids you could give each a color of felt and have the numbers in different places?

    It also seems like it would be great to have up during a Christmas party–you could use it as
    a sort of photobooth.

  20. My LittLe GonEs

    November 25, 2012

    On my Facebook’s Page ! Very Good idea !!!

    Thanks for Your Blog ♥

  21. Renée

    November 25, 2012

    This is amazing!

  22. claire

    November 25, 2012

    this must be the best advent i’ve seen – also a great idea if you don’t really have the floor space for an actual tree. thanks for sharing!

  23. sofy

    November 25, 2012

    very good idea.
    and cool that Ikea got that.. didn’t know.

  24. Julia @ cuckoo4design

    November 25, 2012

    Coming over from Centsational Girl. Love the advent calendar idea too. I used the same fabric to make a large canvas a couple of weeks ago with ornaments on it.

  25. Gina at willowday

    November 25, 2012

    Oh my gosh!

    This is just too adorable: combining the “sugarplum christmases of yore ” with modern mod hip… you’ve done it again:

    (… I wish I had thought of this… and I am LIVING in Sweden! :-) ! ) Too, too cute!

  26. Leigh

    November 25, 2012

    This was on sale at my Ikea this week.

  27. Heather

    November 25, 2012

    I love this idea! My family will be starting the tradition of advent this year, and I am excited to make something similar to this! Can I ask – where did you find the long dowels? I just checked Lowe’s (bog box hardware store) and they didn’t have anything near that long. Thanks!

  28. anna

    November 26, 2012

    great idea!!!!!

    it looks as if everything you ever imagined is available on etsy :)

  29. This girl loves to talk

    November 26, 2012

    this is amazing! Im planning a trip to ikea soon.. I hope they have it here in australia!!

  30. chiara

    November 26, 2012

    Hi Heather – I did get them at Lowe’s – I think they come in 80″ pieces and I cut them down in the store. They were in the molding and trim aisle. In a pinch you could just tack the fabric to your wall….

    Holly – the deer are vintage – you could do a search for ‘vintage deer’ on etsy or ebay!

    Thanks for all the lovely comments!

  31. charity

    November 26, 2012

    Hi, thanks so much for the lovely idea and tutorial! Any suggestions for hanging it on the wall? My dowels seem like they’d make it too heavy to be held by pushpins, and I’m wondering if I should attach a string or ribbon to hang the whole thing from a nail…your advice greatly appreciated!

  32. Eva

    November 27, 2012

    I love your blog always, you always have the best best ideas!
    This is a favourite!!!
    Do I still have time to get to Ikea and make this happen!

  33. Janelle

    November 28, 2012

    Just went to IKEA today to get the fabric :) Love this idea and hopefully I can get it done before the 1st!! Thank you!!

  34. eva

    November 28, 2012

    AWSOME!! wher di you find a stick/rode to attach it to in the upper half?

  35. Sweet Harvest Moon

    November 28, 2012

    Love this! Sadly, it was out of stock at my ikea :(

  36. Eco Chic Rachel

    November 30, 2012

    I love this idea! I’ve been pursuing new ideas for an Advent Calendar and this may be my favorite so far!

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