This DIY Advent Calendar blog was written by a paid contributor. All photos were taken by Briana Colangelo.
The holidays are the most wonderful time of the year and they’re also the perfect time for crafting!
My daughter loves counting down the days until Santa arrives, so I decided to create a DIY advent calendar that was not only a decor piece, but also something fun and interactive for her to enjoy.
I had a few DIY advent calendar ideas that I wanted to try, but ultimately settled on a “Santa Is Coming to Town” theme. This calendar resembles a clock and has cute miniature Christmas houses all around its border. I found the little houses at a local general store and knew they’d be perfect for this project. It’s a great visual to see all the houses lined up and watch Santa make his way to the final one on Christmas day.
Ready to make this DIY wooden advent calendar? Keep reading as I walk you through each step.
● 1/4” plywood board
● 1/2” square dowel rod
● 1 1/4” flat machine screw
● 1 nylon locking nut
● 1 Flex Glue cartridge, 10oz
● 1 Flex Glue Clear squeeze tube, 4oz
● 1 Flex Seal MAX can, black
● 1 Flex Seal MAX can, white
● 1 Flex Seal can, almond
● 25 Miniature Christmas houses
● Santa ornament
● Vinyl numbered stickers (1 to 25)
● String rope
● Painters tape
● Sand paper or sander
● 2 picture frame hooks
● Frame wire
● Optional materials include: green pipe cleaners, mini red bows, gold craft paint, garland, string lights and staple gun
Start by placing your miniature Christmas houses onto the board in a circle (resembling a clock). Once you are happy with the spacing of the houses, measure the width from the outside edge of the top house to the opposite outside edge of the bottom house. After you have that measurement, remove the houses.
Next, place your measuring tape at the top end of the board and mark the measurement you found earlier. Mine ended up being a 41-inch circle. I measured down 41” and across 41”. To find the center of the board, divide your number in half and mark the center of your circle. Then, take a screw and screw through that center marking.
Now it’s time to trace a circle around the board to mark where you’ll be cutting. You’ll need a string that’s half the width of the circle. Wrap one end of the string around the screw in the center of the board, and the other end around a pencil. Once everything is tied you can now trace a circle around the board.
After the the circle is traced, it is time to cut it out using a jigsaw. Once the circle is cut, give the edges a light sanding. Before getting started on this step, it’s important to mention that you should use caution when working with power tools and always follow manufacturer’s instructions. If you do not have experience using a jigsaw, I recommend purchasing a pre-cut wooden round for this project instead and skipping this step.
Flexpert Tip: Thin wood can splinter, so a way to prevent this is to tape where you will be cutting.
The next step is to measure the length of the dowel rod, which will become the “hand” of the advent calendar. I cut my dowel rod to 15 inches in length and drilled a hole at the end of it to fit a 1 1/4” screw. Again, if you do not have experience with power tools, I recommend getting wooden clock hands specifically for DIY clocks and skipping this step.
Now that all the pieces are prepped, it is time to spray them with Flex Seal. Before using Flex Seal products, make sure to take proper safety precautions, such as being in a well ventilated area and wearing gloves and protective eyewear while applying.
Lay all pieces onto a tarp outside and spray the wooden round with the white Flex Seal Spray. Once done, you’ll move onto spraying the houses. The houses I bought were colorful, but a little too busy when they were all put together. I wanted a more cohesive and elegant traditional look for this craft, so I decided to spray them with Flex Seal. I separated my little houses into 3 groups, spraying each group with either black, white, or almond Flex Seal. I let all the sprayed pieces sit for a full 24 hours to make sure they were fully cured before assembling.
I wanted to bring out some of the detail on these tiny homes, so after allowing the houses to dry for a full 24 hours, I used a bit of gold craft paint to add some highlights.
I also made some cute Christmas wreaths out of green pipe cleaners. To get the perfect size, I simply wrapped them around my finger, cut them and then twisted the ends. I finished off the wreaths by using Flex Glue Clear to attach mini red bows and then glued the finished wreaths to the houses. I love the detail and color pop the gold highlights and wreaths added.
Now that all pieces have been sprayed with Flex Seal and had a full 24 hours to dry, it’s finally time to put together the advent calendar! We’ll first start with attaching the clock hand to the wood board.
Put a flat head screw through the back of the board (the long end of the screw should stick through the front) and place the dowel rod onto the screw. Then, add a nylon locking nut onto the screw. This will secure the dowel rod to the board but still allow it to move around.
Now that the “hand” is on, start placing the mini Christmas houses around the circle board. Once everything is placed in the correction position, it’s time to glue them down. For this job, I used the Flex Glue 10 oz cartridge. I placed the cartridge into my caulking gun and applied the Flex Glue along the entire border of the first house. I made sure to press the house onto the board for a full 30 seconds before moving onto the next one.
Apply a generous dollop of Flex Glue to Santa’s body inside his coat and then place him onto the “hand” and press down for 30 seconds.
Take your vinyl number stickers and add a number next to each house on the board. I started with Christmas day (#25) at the very top of the board and worked my way around clockwise.
To go along with the theme of counting down the days until Santa comes, I added the saying “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town!” to the center of the board with vinyl cut outs in “wallington” font style.
This is also optional, but I chose to add Christmas lights around the entire advent calendar. I drilled a small hole the size of the light on the strand and stuck one light bulb in each house to make it light up. I hid the strand of lights with some garland and used a staple gun to attach it all.
Attach the picture hooks and wire to the back, and the calendar is complete and ready to display!
I am so thrilled with how this DIY advent calendar turned out. I love it so much and cannot wait to use it for years to come! This project was super easy to do with the help of Flex Glue and Flex Seal!
By Briana Colangelo
Bri is a self-taught DIYer, who's had a passion for DIY projects since a young age. After buying a 1958 cape home, she has been slowly transforming each room in her house. Bri also shares her designs and DIY projects as a content creator on Instagram and TikTok @d.i.y.bri.