DIY Wood Advent Calendar Tutorial

A close up of a DIY wood advent calendar with mini bottle brush trees in front of it.

 Lauren Murphy

DIY Advent Calendar

Advent calendars are an essential home decor piece around the holidays, especially if you have little ones running around. After all, Christmas is an extra fun holiday and waiting all season for the day to arrive can be painstaking. Advent calendars make the wait a little sweeter with tiny gifts to open each day to hold you over.
Many stores sell classic advent calendars that are disposable and hold small chocolates behind twenty-four numbered doors. Those calendars are great (you can’t go wrong with chocolate), but they aren’t personal. If you prefer filling your advent calendar with special toys and treats specific to your loved one, you’ll want to make your own. Not to mention, this is reusable for years to come.
Let the countdown begin! We’ll show you an easy way to make your own wooden advent calendar to fill with any goodies you like.


Festive tissue paper, a paint brush, a tape measure, a can of stain, twine, and wood glue on top of pieces of lumber.
Lauren Murphy

Here's what you'll need to make your own DIY advent calendar.


  • Two 2" by 4" by 8' pieces of wood (or multiple 2" by 4" scrap wood pieces)
  • Wood stain
  • Wood glue
  • Decorative tissue paper
  • Spool of twine or string
  • 24 goodies


  • Paint brush
  • Miter saw
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors

Cut Your Wood

A cut piece of wood sitting on a table saw.
Lauren Murphy

First, you’ll want to use your miter saw to cut your wood into seven pieces. From your 8’ board, cut three 2.5 foot long pieces. Set your miter saw at 30° and cut the edges of your wood so it makes a trapezoid shape. These three pieces will make the outside triangle of your calendar.
To make the shelves, you’ll cut four more pieces using the rest of your wood. Cut an 11.5 inch piece, a 16.75 inch piece and a 23.25 inch piece.
Angle all pieces at 30° and make sure both angles are headed towards each other and not in the same direction. Your completed wood pieces should be in the shape of a trapezoid.
Now, you have all your wood ready. If you’d like smoother surfaces to work from, use sandpaper to sand them down.

Glue Frame Together

Three wood pieces glued together in a triangle.
Lauren Murphy

Use wood glue to connect the outside frame of your triangle advent calendar. Apply a thin layer of wood glue and hold each piece together. Then, you can use weights or other heavy objects to hold each piece together while the glue dries.
Wipe off any excess wood glue immediately with a damp cloth.

Glue In Shelves

Wood glue on a small wood shelf next to a large wood triangle shelf.
Lauren Murphy

Apply wood glue to the outside edges of each of your pieces and, one by one, stick each shelf into place. The smaller 6.5” piece will go towards the top, the longer 23.25 piece will be towards the bottom, and the others in between. Again, use weights or other heavy objects to hold them in place while the glue dries. Allow the glue to dry for at least two hours before moving on.

Apply Wood Stain

A bucket of wood stain with a paint brush in it next to a wood shelf.
Lauren Murphy

If you’d like to make your advent calendar look more polished, use wood stain. If you don’t mind, you can skip this step. To stain your advent calendar, use a foam brush to apply a thin layer of wood stain onto all visible surfaces. Stick to one layer of stain if you’re going for a more rustic look. If you prefer a darker piece, keep those layers coming. Allow it to dry completely before applying the next coat to get the best results.
Let the stain dry for a few hours before using the calendar to avoid a mess. To be sure how long it takes to dry, read the label on your container of wood stain.

Wrap Goodies With Tissue Paper

A small golden snitch toy getting wrapped in buffalo check tissue paper with scissors and twine.
Lauren Murphy

What do your loved ones love the most? Once you’ve got your answer, fill the advent calendar with those things. But first, wrap them in festive tissue paper and tie the gift up with twine or ribbon. If you have colored paper and other fun supplies on hand, you can make small paper gift boxes instead. You can even enlist the kids to help you decorate them (just don’t show them what’s going inside).
You’ll need 24 gifts, one for each day of December until Christmas. Some ideas: individually-wrapped candy (think peppermints, bubblegum and chocolate truffles), toy soldiers, mini stuffed animals, card games, and Christmas ornaments.


A close up of a DIY wood advent calendar with mini bottle brush trees in front of it.
Lauren Murphy

Now, you or your loved ones can open a new present each and every day until the holiday! Plus, this DIY piece will look great on your mantle around your other holiday decorations or even hanging on your wall. How you display it is up to you! This DIY is heavy, so you’ll need strong hooks if you decide to hang it up.