Make a DIY advent calendar wall hanging featuring a tree that is decorated with one hand-stitched felt ornament each day leading up to Christmas.
I’m so excited to share this project with you today. I made my sister an advent calendar for Christmas and it turned out sooooo cute. I made a similar advent calendar for my children years ago and we love it. Each day in December you pull an ornament out of the numbered pocket and hang it from a button on the Christmas tree. The kids love the surprise of each ornament and it’s so fun to watch the tree fill up throughout the month.
This is a time-consuming project, but I look at it as an heirloom that will be used for generations, so the time commitment was worth it to me. If you want to make this project, give yourself a whole month to work on it.
When I made the first calendar, I had to design each ornament from scratch, make a little paper pattern, then cut out all of the tiny felt pieces and sew them together. This time, I bought an ornament kit that came with pre-cut pieces and all of the embroidery floss, beads, trim, eyes, etc. that you need to complete each ornament. It was well worth the cost and saved me a ton of time.
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To make your own advent calendar, you will need the following:
- FELT ORNAMENT KIT
- White Quilted Fabric
- White Felt – Large Format from the Fabric Section
- Green Felt – Large Format from the Fabric Section
- Red Iron-On Vinyl or Red Felt to Cut Numbers By Hand
- Fabric Bias Fold Tape or Quilt Binding (Or Ribbon – See Note)
- Fabric Glue (I really like Aleene’s Fabric Fusion)
- Assorted Red Buttons + Thread
- Wooden Dowel + Decorative Dowel Ends
Note: I used a cute gingham ribbon with pompom edges from Hobby Lobby as my binding. I ironed it in half, added fusible webbing inside, ironed it in place, then stitched over the top. I just REALLY wanted that ribbon as my border and did what I had to do to make it happen. There are easier ways, people.
UPDATE: The exact ornament kit I used is currently unavailable. My guess is that it will be restocked closer to Christmas, but you never know. This Bucilla Felt Ornament Kit would be a great substitute.
Step 1: Make 24 felt ornaments following the instructions included in the kit. The kit has 36 ornaments, but some are repeats, so I just chose the 24 that I liked best and saved the others for another project.
This is by far the most time-consuming part, but I also thought it was the most fun. I watched movies while I stitched and just did a few ornaments each day for a couple of weeks until I had all 24.
Step 2: Cut the quilted fabric into a rectangle approximately 42 inches by 52 inches. This measurement can be adjusted to suit. Make sure the corners are very square.
Step 3: Cut 24 5″ felt squares to use as pockets. The easiest way to do this is with a rotary cutter and mat.
Step 4: Use an electronic cutting machine to cut numbers 1-24 out of iron-on vinyl. (Don’t forget to mirror image.) Weed, then iron the numbers on to the felt squares.
Step 5: Arrange the numbered felt squares onto the quilted background fabric. I placed mine all around the outide edge like a border and used a ruler to make sure everything was precisely placed. Attach three sides of each square to the background using fabric glue or by sewing. Be sure to leave the top edge open so the squares will be like pockets. I chose to glue my squares because I didn’t want the sewing lines to show on the back of the fabric, but if that doesn’t bother you, you could also sew them. Totally up to you!
Step 6: Cut a large Christmas tree shape from the green felt. I printed out an image I found online, then used it as my pattern. If you’re artistic, you could just freehand a tree shape onto the felt with white chalk, then cut it out.
Step 7: Sew 23 red buttons onto the green felt tree, then glue or sew the tree onto the quilted background fabric. Sew one clear or white button a few inches above the very top of the tree. This is the button you’ll use to hang the star ornament. By placing the button above the tree, the star will hang right on the tip of the treetop and look perfect.
Step 8: Sew binding around the outside edges of the background fabric to finish them off nicely. Here’s a good quilt binding tutorial if you need a reminder of how to do it.
Step 9: Use fabric glue to attach a long felt strip along the top back side of the wall hanging. This will serve as a pocket so you can slide a dowel through for hanging, so only glue the top and bottom edges down and leave the two side parts open.
Step 10: Paint or stain the wooden down and dowel ends. I used a clear wax sealer on mine. Slide the dowel through the felt pocket and then your advent calendar is done!
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If you’re looking for a quicker and easier advent calendar, try this matchbox advent calendar you can make in one afternoon!