Monday, December 1, 2008

WhiMSical Hanging Advent Calendar Tutorial

I was browsing through some Christmas-y mags the other day & admiring the lovely stitched advent calenders I saw. I'd always wanted a super fun advent calendar for my girls---a really nice one with pockets to hide treats & surprises---but never had one....UNTIL NOW!
Sitting in my art studio last week I glanced over at my hanging pocket organizer that holds all my glues nicely up off the ground---& high enough away from curious little fingers. "Hold on a sec!", I thought. "How many pockets does that organizer have?......24? 24!!!!! That's perfect for an advent calendar!" And do you know what that "pocket organizer" really is? A hanging shoe rack. Isn't that insanely awesome??? I got it last year for $2.99 at a thrift store.
So now the fun begins. This tutorial is not really a 'step-by-step' how-to, because all you do is grab your fabric & ribbon scraps, buttons, paints, crafty bits & doo-dads & go to crazy town on your soon-to-be advent calendar! It's the perfect project to do with your kids. Mine is quite eclectic & zany, but you can make it look however you want.
I only wish I'd thought of this a week ago, seeing as today is the actual day to start the advent! Hey, I can't always control when these random crafty thoughts get in my noggin.

I realize my decorating job doesn't scream "CHRISTMAS!" & it's rather un-holiday-ish in color, but create yours how YOU want.

Here's a quick rundown of how I made each number:
1- Circle of vintage fabric ironed on with adhesive & number glued on with Fabri-tac.
2-The word 'two' stitched onto a felt "speak" bubble, which was then stitched onto the pocket.
3-Vintage fabric number ironed on with adhesive.
4-A small patch from a Boy Scout-style Uniform glued on with Fabri-tac.
5-Traced my 4-year old's hand onto vintage fabric & ironed on with adhesive.
6- Stitched on.
7-Plastic letter 'beads' sewn on.
8- Painted with white acrylic paint.
9-Block of vintage fabric ironed on with adhesive, number cut from felt & glued on with Fabri-tac.
10- Painted on with mustard-colored acrylic paint.
11- Domino stitched on using "invisible" thread.
12- Letters cut from sponges & stamped on using light blue paint.
13- Circular office tag with stickers attached.
14- Numbers cut from vintage fabric & ironed on using adhesive.
15- Number stitched on felt pre-bought flower piece which was glued on using Fabri-tac.
16- Circle of vintage fabric ironed on with adhesive & felt numbers glued on using Fabri-tac.
17-Strips of ribbon glued on using Fabri-tac.
18- Button made using my button machine & a page from an old dictionary. Pinned on.
19- Acrylic green paint.
20- Alphabet transfers. (Ironed on.)
21- Applied Aleene's Clear Tacky glue & sprinkled with silver glitter.
22- Number cut from sponges & stamped using acrylic green paint.
23- Block of vintage fabric ironed on using adhesive & felt numbers glued on top using Fabri-tac.
24- Vintage white buttons stitched on.
Fill each pocket with little prizes & treats. Your kids will LOVE this. Totally.

Happy Christmas!


  1. I LOVE you ideas, Nikki! You rock!

  2. What a great idea!! I love how every day is unique!!

  3. Super! I can't wait to share this idea with my neighbor, who was looking for something like this!

    Hope your holidays are bright thus far!


    Sylvia C.

    PS- I love your egg carton display idea!

  4. Nikki, thank you so much for this amazingly clever idea. Please check out my blog...I gave you a shout out and explained how you just solved my two year long quandry! Best wishes! Oh, and I'm totally adding music to my blog now too because i kept pulling yours up just to hear some happy tunes :-)

  5. Love this and all the cute numbers..especially 18..I NEED a button maker..where do I get one?
    I noticed your little trinkets from "Tiny Things Are Cute" Some of the same lovelies are in out Advent calendar! Fun Stuff!

  6. Oh how clever! And I love all the different numbers. I'll be linking.

  7. how fantastic .... shame my organiser is made of clear plastic :-(

  8. That is the coolest advent calendar. Thanks for sharing!

  9. AWE.SOME!

    I love it. I will be linking to you on my sunday links post!!

  10. bravo pas bĂȘte du tout !!
    un traducteur sur le site et cela serait encore mieux !!

    joyeux noel !

  11. Just darling! I'm searching for advent calendar ideas to get ready for next year! Thanks!

  12. LOVE this and so doable! Do you ever let people use your photos to gush about you on their blogs so their friends know all about you? Love your projects!

  13. Hi Katie!
    Yes, I let people use my photos & do all the gushing they want! Thanks for asking too! ;0)

  14. Nikki, I've been trying to figure out for days how to add a link at the bottom of your posts but cannot figure it out to save my life! It keeps coming up on my blog, instead of at the bottom of this post. Anyway, wanted to let you know I did gush all about you and post up some pictures of your too cute projects with links.

  15. Hi,
    it's september 09, and I realize that all the previous years I have too late to make something like this, so this year I am starting earlier...really LOVE the idea, going to do it!! Thank you!!!

  16.! I have been trying to figure out for years (5!) how to do this without too much sewing (as I can't really) and have been saving fun ornaments & bric a brac to add to the pockets but have never actually done it. I swore to myself LAST year that I would do it for next year and here we are on December 2 and I still haven't done it. WELL, I just love this and am going to start making it now for next year. I have three boys and needed big enough pockets so I could fit little goodies in the pocket for all three of them. Lord knows I would never actually make 3 of these so this is just perfect and I love that it has built in hangers for over the door. You are a GENIUS - thank you for sharing!! I am going to post this link on my FB wall if you don't mind!


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