Holidays Projects

An Advent Calendar

For months, I’ve been thinking about making an advent calendar for Ella for December.

One of the things I wanted was a calendar that gave me a fair amount of options for how I could use it over the years.  I like the clothespins because I could hang ornaments from them, cards with activities, tiny wrapped gifts or candy, etc.

And, in usual Janssen-style, I wanted it to be extremely inexpensive.

This one, inspired by this one I saw last year on Pinterest, clocked in at a total of $2.50, so I’d call that a win.

The only thing I purchased was the sheet of wood from Michaels, which was $5 and I had a 50% off coupon. Everything else was stuff I already had. And frankly, even if I haven’t had them, none of it would have been very expensive.

If you’re interested in making your own, you’ll need:

  • A board (mine is 36 inches long and 6 inches tall)
  • 24 clothespins
  • Paint in the colors of your choice
  • Paintbrush
  • Glue gun or ModPodge
  • Stencils 
  • Painting tape (optional)

I sanded the edges and front of the board a little (using sandpaper I stole from my neighbor), then painted it with two coats of white paint.

I painted my clothespins too (just the tops and I originally did gold, silver and red, but I ended up really disliking the gold when I laid them on the white board, so I redid all the gold ones in silver).

Then I glued them on to the board (you could measure them to make them exactly even, but I just eyeballed it and laid them all out before gluing them on). 

Time for the numbers! I used a piece of painting tape so I could lay my stencils (I used these adhesive ones leftover from my Halloween carafe project), but you could also just line them up with the top of the board or the top of the clothespins.

If I hadn’t had the stencils, I might have just written the numbers on with Sharpie if I didn’t dislike my handwriting so much, or I more likely would have printed them on some sort of festive paper, cut them out in circles and ModPodged them above each clothespin.

My plan this year is to have one small activity or craft for each day, so I got a bunch of little holiday cards from my grocery store florist and wrote an activity on each of the 24 cards, folded them in half and clipped them in place.

Tomorrow, I’ll share the activities I have planned – I’m pretty excited and I think Ella will be too.

But I think she’s probably not going to be nearly as excited about the board itself as I think she should be. . .

You Might Also Like


  • Reply laura November 28, 2012 at 2:10 pm

    Hi – it's "calendar" not "calender". Just finding it hard to read this post because that's super distracting!

    • Reply Janssen November 28, 2012 at 2:28 pm

      Fixed! Thanks for the heads up – that's one of those words I just can never spell correctly.

  • Reply Kayla @ Freckles in April November 28, 2012 at 3:12 pm

    Um, the misspelling was not that distracting. Some of us neither noticed nor cared.

    LOVE this idea! One of these years I'll get around to doing an advent calendar.

  • Reply Erica November 28, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Cute! I've been thinking about doing an advent calendar, and this one would be darling! But let's face it – I'll probably just get the $1 Trader Joe's one. It has chocolate.

    • Reply Janssen November 28, 2012 at 7:29 pm

      How about both? Just for good measure. . .

  • Reply Bethany November 28, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    Oh it's so lovely! I LOVE advents and I'm making a super easy one this week too, but this idea is brilliant.

  • Reply gregory2001 November 28, 2012 at 3:42 pm

    Such a cute idea!

  • Reply Danielle November 28, 2012 at 7:14 pm

    Love how it turned out, I just finished up ours and it's very similar to yours! Super cute!

  • Reply Jenny November 28, 2012 at 7:21 pm



  • Reply Lindsay November 28, 2012 at 8:26 pm

    So cute! I'm sure your little girl will love it. 🙂

  • Reply Creole Wisdom November 28, 2012 at 10:42 pm

    This is great. You are very creative. Also, I love that necklace!

    Michael's always has great coupons, and crafts do not have to be expensive. I'm excited to see what you'll clip onto that as the years pass 🙂

  • Reply CocoaJones November 29, 2012 at 1:36 am

    Adorable!!!!!! :))

  • Reply Rachel November 29, 2012 at 1:50 am

    You are a very, very good mom. I can't wait for your list tomorrow because I need lots of ideas for our advent calendar.

  • Reply Katrina Rose November 29, 2012 at 2:25 am

    This turned out great! I love Advent calendars. I will have to save the idea for when R is older!

  • Reply Ash November 29, 2012 at 3:38 am

    Love it! Too bad I don't have a little person to make one for; maybe I should just do it for me 🙂 I did share it with my sister for my niece!

  • Reply runtspickins November 29, 2012 at 1:43 pm

    I love that way that came out! I want to make an advent calendar. I just don't know if I'll get around to it this year…

  • Reply Nicole November 29, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    I love this, and I also really love your necklace–can I ask where you got it?

  • Reply Chrissie November 29, 2012 at 9:17 pm

    Oh goodness, your advent calendar is so sweet and lovely, and I especially love that it is homemade! Your creativity is super impressive. Enjoy the activities with Ella (and the new baby!) next month. 🙂

  • Reply 17 Advent Calendar Ideas (DIY and Ones You Can Buy!) - Everyday Reading November 23, 2018 at 1:42 am

    […] Clothespin Advent Calendar I made this years ago and I still love how it turned out! Plus it cost me $2.50 to make, so that was for sure a win. […]

  • Reply 24 Christmas Advent Activities for Toddlers - Everyday Reading November 29, 2018 at 1:45 am

    […] I made a DIY advent calendar (for a whopping $2.50), I needed some daily advent activities to go along with […]

  • Leave a Reply