Countdown to Christmas with this beautiful wooden advent calendar with paper houses.
I am in love with our new Christmas advent calendar! It’s the perfect marriage of my two favorite things: woodworking and paper crafting. The easy to build house shaped shelf holds 25 little paper houses to open even day till Christmas.
Each year I look forward to designing a new advent calendar. I might enjoy it as much as the kids enjoy opening up their calendar each day. And thought we keep it simple with these tips for a stress free activity advent calendar, it still helps us get in the Christmas spirit.
Wood House Shaped Shelf
The base of the advent calendar is an easy to build house shaped shelf. The shelf is made with just two 1×4 boards.
Plus all you need to make it are a measuring tape, miter saw and nail gun. And you are going to love how fast the shelf goes together!
You can stain the advent calendar shelf any color you want. For this year’s Christmas decor, I am going with a classic red theme with simplistic Scandinavian influences.
Paper Christmas Houses
The second part of the DIY advent calendar are the 25 paper houses. These were so much fun to design. The houses are simple, but there are 5 different “front door” styles.
The doors are backed by tissue paper to keep the surprises inside a secret until it’s time to open them. But the tissue paper makes it easy to open up when the time comes.
I chose to use gold tissue paper to give the houses a little glow. Plus the gold and red are so classic and pretty for Christmas.
Each little house is big enough to hold a treat or present for the day. The houses are 3″ x 3″ and 3 1/2″ tall at the peak.
Since I like to keep our advent calendar stress free for me, I usually don’t plan activities for the whole month in advance. So I left the back of the roofs unglued on any non-filled in houses. Then I can sneak in a card with a daily activity, treat or other when it gets closer.
How to Make a Wooden Advent Calendar
- Paper houses cut file
- (2) 8′ long 1×4 boards
- Wood glue
- 1 1/4″ long finish nails
- Wood putty
- Wood stain
- I used this red wood stain.
- I used white cardstock for the houses and gray cardstock for the roofs, but have fun and use whatever colors you want.
- Tissue paper
- Glue sticks
Build the Wood Shelf
From the 1×4 boards, cut the following:
- (6) pieces at 18″ long
- (2) pieces at 24 1/2″ long
- (2) pieces at 13″ long with one end cut at a 30 degree angle
On the 24 1/2″ long pieces, cut the top at a 30 degree angle just so the top 1/4″ of the board is gone. This will give you a flat surface to attach the roof to.
I recommend sanding all the boards now, it’s way easier than trying to get in between the narrow shelves later.
Mark where the shelves will go on the 24 1/2″ pieces. Make sure to mark the boards on the inside (the nipped corner is the outside). There should be 4″ between all the shelves and the top and bottom will be flush with the top and bottom of the boards.
Add glue to the end of one of the 18″ boards, line it up on the mark you made on the side pieces. Secure it with some finishing nails. Repeat for the rest of the 18″ boards.
Next add wood glue to the exposed edge of all the 18″ boards. Line the other side board up and secure all the shelves with finish nails.
Use wood glue and finish nails to secure the top peak of the roof pieces (the angled edges are the top peak).
Center the roof on top of the shelves so the edges lay on the notched corners. Secure the roof to the shelves with wood glue and finish nails.
Fill all the nail holes with wood putty. Make sure to use stainable filler if you are staining your shelves. Then sand and finish however you want.
Make the Paper Houses
Cut out the houses from your cardstock. You will need 25 houses, so cut 5 of each design.
Before assembling the houses, cut a piece of tissue paper to cover the door opening. Attach it to the inside of the house with glue.
Fold along all the dotted lines, then lift the sides of the house up and secure them with glue.
I love using my hot glue gun for 3D paper crafts because it is fast drying and permanent.
If desired, place a sticker with the number of the day on the front of the house. I cut out some vinyl numbers out on my Silhouette Cameo.
But before adding the numbers, arrange the houses on the shelf in the pattern you want. Try to keep from placing the same door style next to each other.
Now it’s time to fill your paper houses with your advent goodies. Whether you are just slipping in a slip describing your Christmas activity for the day, putting in your favorite Christmas treat, or filling each day in December with a little present, you will love opening up the doors on the houses each day.
But even after the day is over, you can leave the little house on the shelves as part of your Christmas decor.
I cannot wait to see my kids opening the houses come December.