Friday, December 1, 2017

FREE Printable Advent Calendar Templates

Courtesy of Kayla Kitts

Hi Friends,

As a child, one of my favorite ways to count down the 25 days leading up to Christmas was to make a construction paper chain-link advent "calendar." Each day I'd (impatiently) tear off a chain until 24 green-and-red strips of paper lay in the floor, letting me know it was time for Santa's arrival. If you want to keep it ultra-simple this year with construction paper and glue, then more power to you (I always loved ripping off those paper links). But we have two chic and creative advent calendar ideas - one modern and one traditional - that are sure to make this holiday season memorable for the entire family.

We often picture an advent calendar strung up the banister or across the mantel. But, what about as a centerpiece? Jessica Wilcox of Modern Moments Designs covered sweetly wrapped gifts, ribbons and ornaments with a vintage chicken-wire cloche dome and attached printable Christmas tags to represent the 25-day countdown. Each day, let the kids remove a tag from the dome and open a gift. With each tag removed, simply replace with the next consecutive number. The interactive display will make dinnertime even more exciting during the holidays.

Download and Print Christmas Countdown Tags in Blue, Pink, Green and Teal


For those who love traditional charm and vintage style, we have the perfect advent calendar that looks especially lovely wrapped around the Christmas tree or up the banister. To create this holiday countdown keepsake, print 24 different, antique-inspired images onto fused linen and freezer paper and paint a number onto the bottom corner of each to represent the days of Christmas. Sew pockets into each image to hold treats and surprises for each day, and then tie each pocket together to create a long banner. Get the full how-to for the Vintage Garland Advent Calendar below:

How to Make a Vintage Garland Advent Calendar

Linen, ribbon and vintage printables come together in this advent calendar, which is sure to become a family tradition.

Materials Needed:
1 1/2 yards cream linen
all-purpose coordinating thread
sharp scissors
rotary cutter and mat (optional)
freezer paper
computer and printer
photo editing software
sewing machine
graphics or pictures
10 yards grosgrain ribbon
no-fray glue
acrylic paint
1.0 artist liner brush

Cut Linen
Using a piece of standard printer paper as a template, cut out 13 pieces of linen and 13 pieces of freezer paper. Tip: Freezer paper must be used for this project, not wax or parchment paper.

Iron Fabric and Paper
Place one piece of linen face down on ironing board. Put the plastic coating of the freezer paper face down onto linen. Press paper onto fabric using an iron set on high until they are fused. Trim any overhanging freezer paper or fabric, if necessary. Repeat with 12 other pieces of linen and paper.

Edit and Print Graphics
Save 25 different vintage holiday graphics as jpg files. Make sure photos are either all vertical or all horizontal. Use photo editing software to crop all graphics to 3-1/2" x 5". Print each graphic on one page set at 3-1/2" x 5". Place fused linen and freezer paper into an ink jet printer oriented so the graphic will print on the fabric side. The image should be printed on the top left corner. Flip the fabric to print a second image on the bottom right corner. Note: All graphics used in this project are available for free at

Cut Pockets
Using scissors or a rotary cutter, cut each piece of linen into four equal parts (4-1/4" x 5-1/2"). Trim pieces to center graphics, leaving at least a 1/4-inch border. Pair the printed pieces of linen with blank pieces of linen.

Paint Numbers
Mix equal parts red and burnt umber acrylic craft paint. Use a 1.0 liner brush to paint numbers 1-25 in the corner of each pocket. Allow paint to dry. Tip: Sketch numbers lightly with a pencil prior to painting.

Glue Raw Edge
Apply no-fray glue to the top edge of each pocket. Fold down the freezer paper to act as a stand as the glue dries. Tip: Some no-fray glues can cause ink to run. To prevent this, pour glue onto a paper plate and dip very top edge of each pocket into the glue for a more controlled application.

Sew Pockets
Separate the freezer paper from the linen. Assemble pockets with right sides facing out. Cut 50 lengths of grosgrain ribbon to approximately eight inches each. Insert ribbon between two pieces of linen in the upper right corner. Sew along the graphic, ensuring ribbon is sewn into the pocket as well. Rotate the pocket and sew the bottom. Rotate again and sew up the left side. Insert ribbon at the upper left corner and finish sewing the pocket.

Fray and Trim Pockets
Gently pull threads from pocket edges to create a frayed border. Trim excess threads. Apply no-fray glue to raw edges of ribbon and allow to dry. Fill the pockets with candy and small presents to build the anticipation of Christmas day. Tip: This advent calendar can be used in a variety of ways. Tie on new pockets each day to increase the length of the banner or start the month with a full banner and remove the pockets at the end of each day. Since it's a long banner, it's ideal for wrapping around a Christmas tree or draping along a banister.

Want to see more? Below are more easy advent calendar ideas you can make at home before December 1.

Christmas Treats

For this year's Christmas countdown, give your family daily surprises they'll devour. Using a sweet, holiday-inspired fabric, create miniature sacks to fill with delicious treats. After filling, add a corresponding countdown number, tie twine around the top to seal the sack and hang from the tree. Each day will leave everyone waiting in anticipation for another scrumptious Christmas treat.

Ornamental Additions

This advent calendar idea is simple and perfect for last-minute crafters. Melaine Thompson of My Sweet Savannah stenciled 24 numbers onto manila shipping tags and added glittery adornments. Each day, as Christmas draws closer and closer, the kids take off an ornament and place it on the tree.

Repurposed Holidays

Share My Craft user Cathe Holden reused vintage thread spools to create a one-of-a-kind holiday advent calendar in her home. On each spool she added a numbered wrap with a special note or a clue to a hidden gift. Cathe, a passionate crafter and designer, displayed her Christmas countdown on a vintage, modified spool holder. Cathe also suggests creating individual, numbered spool ornaments for the tree, or stringing the entire set together to create an advent calendar garland.

Countdown for the Kids

This traditional, felt advent calendar is the perfect addition to a child's bedroom door over the holidays. By using simple and inexpensive materials, each child can have a calendar of their own. Try to create different holiday-inspired shapes to form the background - a classic Christmas tree, snowflake, mitten or Santa Claus hat.

Share your Advent Calendar ideas...

Happy Holidays from your friends at Interior Design!

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Live well,

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