Christmas is so much fun and creating strong family traditions is important to most of us. For years, I’ve wanted my children to have an advent calendar. It creates awareness of time and days, it makes the count down to the festive day so exciting and I’m certain it will be a tradition that will be remembered.
I didn’t want to buy one in the shops. Instead, I wanted to make one and have control over what went into the advent calendar. I also wanted most of it to be made with recycled materials. I saw this craft a while ago on Pinterest and loved the idea. It wasn’t hard to use that idea and make my own unique one.
What you’ll need to make this recycled Advent calendar
- 25 recycled toilet rolls
- 25 recycled milk lids
- A lot of recycled cardboard
- Christmas material (I tried four second-hand shop but none of them had their Christmas stock out yet)
- Good quality craft glue. I used modge podge.
- One paddle pop stick
- Scissors and ruler
How to make the recycled Advent calendar
- Measure and cut the material to your toilet roll specifications. Our’s were 13.5 cm long and 10 cm wide. Glue the edges of the toilet rolls (like image below) and cover the toilet roll in material. Glue the joining pieces of material too. Do this for all 25 toilet rolls. I used a combination of three different materials
- Using some nice sturdy cardboard, cut out a Christmas tree shape (like below) . Using the cardboard as a template cut around some material leaving at least a 1 cm overflow. Stick the cardboard onto the material and then on the overflow material, cut slits in the material about 1.5cm apart the whole way around the shape
- Glue around the edges of the cardboard and tightly flip each bit of material over onto the cardboard and glue it. Place glue anywhere the material overlaps. Then, paint glue go over the top of it to seal the material to the cardboard.
- Next, stick all the toilet rolls onto the material covered side of the cardboard (except for one). Add a good amount of glue to the end of each toilet roll, stick it on to the material and then go around the outside and inside of the toilet roll with glue to seal any gaps.
- Using a milk lid as a template, draw around some cardboard. The cardboard needs to be slightly bigger than the milk bottle lid. Next, cover the cardboard the same way you covered the tree and trunk shape. You’ll need to make 25 to match your other toilet roll material covers.
- Once the glue is dry, add more thick glue to the top of the milk lid and stick it to the material covered cardboard. Do this for all 25 milk lids.
- Next, use a good quality white paint or white out to write the numbers. I used a stencil to make the numbers all the same size
- With your last toilet roll, cut about 2cm off the length. Then, glue it to the remaining cardboard tree and the two toilet rolls that it will sit on (see two images down).
- Next, make a material star. I cut out some cardboard using a start biscuit cutter as a stencil. I would have used the same process to cover the cardboard, like above, but this particular material wasn’t working so I just cut out two material stars the same size and stuck them on each side of the cardboard.
- Cut or break a paddle pop stick in half and glue it to the bottom of the star. Once this is dry, stick the paddle pop stick and star to the last remaining toilet roll. You could make this toilet roll open too but I felt that Christmas day was a big enough surprise
- Attach the trunk to the tree using another piece of cardboard to secure the pieces together (see image below). Also, attach some string to hang the tree in a similar way.
- Next, all you have to do is fill it.I made mine mostly animal related but I intend to change the theme each year. I filled it with second-hand yowie animal toys, little letters and reminders, stickers that we’ve had for years but they’ve forgotten about, animal quizzes (similar to my lunch box animal quiz questions) and of course a few chocolate treats. Then, pop on the milk bottle lids!
I can’t wait to share my children’s excitement the first day they get to pop the lid off the recycled advent calendar and then in years to come. I think I’ll be just as excited to count down to Christmas as them!