Decorating & Design

November 6, 2015

DIY: Advent Calendar

Senior editor Sally Armstrong shares step-by-step instructions on how to make a charming Advent calendar out of sticks and bags.

Sally-Armstrong-FeaturedImgMy kids love opening Advent calendars, but I have trouble finding ones that work with my home’s modern decor. So this year, I made a calendar that perfectly suits my style, using twigs for a simple, natural look and linen bags to hold each day’s surprise treat. Here’s how:


You’ll need sticks, spray paint, linen bags, fabric paint, plastic cups, felt-tip calligraphy pen, ribbon.

Step 1: Find And Paint Twigs

Pick three sticks, spray-paint and let dry for several hours. I used three equal-sized birch twigs, but you could use twigs of three different lengths so the final calendar is triangular, or Christmas tree-shaped. Silver or gold spray paint adds sparkle; if you want a more organic look, simply leave the sticks unpainted.

Step 2: Choose Bags And Dye

At a craft or wrapping supply store, select 24 small bags to hold your treats. I found linen bags with twine drawstrings; they have a nice natural look and absorb dye well. Next, pick one or two colors of fabric dye. I used a soft, watercolor pink as well as a darker, near-fuchsia shade, but you could also pick just one color and dilute it with water for an ombré effect. Look for dyes with shimmer or glitter if you’d like a little extra festive glam.

Step 3: Dye Bags And Add Numbers

Place the fabric dye in plastic cups, dilute with water as desired and dip each bag into the dye for graduated color. Let the dyed bags dry for a few hours, then write a number for each day of Advent on each bag with an indelible felt-tip calligraphy pen.


Step 4: Assemble Calendar

Use pretty ribbon or twine to tie the three sticks together at their outer edges, then tie on bags. Add a length of ribbon at the top to hang the finished calendar. The finished calendar should be fairly lightweight, so you can hang it over a desk, console or even on a bulletin board for easy access as you count down the days to Christmas.

Author: Sally Armstrong

Donna Griffith


Linen bags, felt-tip calligraphy pen, Creative Bag; fabric paint, spray paint, DeSerres; ribbon, Mokuba.


House & Home November 2014