Home Made Advent Calendar out of Matchboxes

Home Made Advent Calendar - Mud Hut Mama

This year my girls both get that Christmas is coming and they are so excited. I wanted to feed their enthusiasm and add to the anticipation with a countdown calendar. I’ve been searching online for DIY options and found a matchbox advent calendar from Martha Stewart. It is perfect for us because it is small enough to pack when we travel and I love that as you pull out a numbered box and turn it around a picture is slowly revealed. The trick (if you, like me, are not artistic) is to find a picture that you can replicate. I googled easy snowman coloring pages and copied (to the best of my ability) one of the designs at Kids’ Turn Central. I drew it in chalk first, then painted and then added the black permanent marker outline and hat which helped cover up any mistakes.

Matchbox Christmas Countdown Calendar - Mud Hut Mama

For the most part I followed the instructions at Martha Stewart but I did make a few changes in the hopes that this will last for a number of years. I put ribbon on both sides of the boxes (instead of just the numbered side) to make it easier to turn them around again for next year. It would have made more sense to glue one length of ribbon across the bottom of the box but I didn’t have quite enough ribbon for that so I used two shorter lengths. After making the chest of drawers I covered cardboard from a cereal box with fabric and used that to cover the sides and back in the hopes that it will be a little sturdier. I didn’t put the numbers in order because I want it to take as long as possible for the girls to guess what the picture is.

Matchbox Advent Calendar Construction - Mud Hut Mama

The matchboxes don’t hold a lot and I didn’t plan ahead but we have tons of sticker gems that I have been cutting into pairs and calling earrings. Two pairs fit nicely in a drawer. This backfired on me the first day because I forgot that Boo had asked for earrings the last time she saw me wearing them and I told her I’d have to bring her to the doctor’s first to put holes in her ears and that it would hurt a lot. She was in a panic until I explained that these were pretend earrings that don’t hurt. Now she is all about them and doesn’t understand why anyone would put holes in their ears when pretend earrings are sooo beautiful. I’ve also been leaving little notes – today was “let’s make Christmas cookies and eat too many!” My mom sent some Christmas gifts that we won’t be here to open on Christmas day so one day will be a lot of fun when the note tells them to skype Mom Mom and Pop Pop and they also get to open some presents.

DIY Matchbox Advent Calendar - Mud Hut Mama

I procrastinated in making this, and then last Wednesday I realized that December 1st was only a few days away and I really had to do something. I’m so glad I made this calendar. I think I love it just as much as the girls do. Yesterday the note was a hint as to where the girls would find a “special surprise” and Kooks was off running before she even heard the hint. It is so much fun to see how much joy this pretty simple home made advent calendar is bringing my girls and an unexpected bonus is that Boo is getting a lot of practice with recognizing double digit numbers. I can’t wait to see how they react when they realize there is a snowman behind all those drawers. Today it was 39° C (102° F) in the shade so this in the only snowman I expect to see for quite a while.

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24 Responses to “Home Made Advent Calendar out of Matchboxes”

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  1. Julie says:

    OMgoodness! This is so great! I am definitely pinning this so I can make it next year! Did I mention that I thought this was great?!
    Thanks for linking to Mom’s Library.
    Julie @ Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk

  2. I LOVE it!! I have been guilting my own mother because growing up we had this Avon wall calendar where you could move a little plush mouse from day to day until you got to Christmas. My siblings and I would race each other to get up and move the mouse every morning. Oh I have so many memories of that thing and would love to pass it on to my girls!! But nooooo- she gave it to my little brother. That brat gets everything. LOL ( kidding- I love my brother) But have been on a hunt for something similar to do with my girls.
    Your advent calendar is adorable!

  3. Frances says:

    Ah Jody! You always make me laugh about the things your girls come up with! Pretend earrings? What a great idea! I also love, love this Advent calendar!!! It’s too cute! I will have to pin for next year, since we’ve already started one. You’re very crafty, and the snowman is adorable!

  4. Addison says:

    This is such a great, fun idea! I remember the advent calendar we used when I was a kid – a fabric calendar with pockets of candy for each day. My sister and I took turns. So I just raided a candy bowl in the dining room every other day. Nice post 🙂

  5. Heather says:

    What an awesome idea. Love it!

  6. ADORABLE! I love your calendar and how you are using it. Your girls should have a lot of fun with it.

  7. So cute…love the snowman, especially since it may be the only one your girls “build” for awhile! And pretend earrings? Genius!

  8. Oh, I LOVE this! What a fun activity for the girls! I love Advent calendars, and this is such a fun twist on it. Great painting, by the way! And I like doing the numbers out of order so the picture takes longer to reveal.

  9. Jaymie Shook says:

    Awesome! Looks very fun. I’d love for you to add this to the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

  10. This is ADORABLE! I am so behind on Christmas stuff this year.

  11. Shaunna M. says:

    What a sweet idea! Thanks for sharing on the Kid Lit Blog Hop!

  12. That’s such a lovely idea which you could adapt for so many things and it looks like fun to assemble. I might use it for Ramadan next year actually : D I’m not sure how I’d get through that many matches though…

    The part about your daughter’s fear of ear rings was so cute!


    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thanks Sarita – it was fun to put together and you are right – since you can use any design you want you could personalize it for any holiday. I had to empty out a number of matchboxes since I didn’t start saving them up early enough. I now have a large container full of matches and box with a very worn striker strip!

  13. Shannon says:

    How adorable, so want to do this with my boys next year. You are brilliant. Guess I better start saving all those Leopard match boxes.

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Ha Ha – ours is made almost entirely from Leopard matchboxes but I do have a couple of Kuku boxes thrown in and I found out too late that they are not exactly the same size. I recommend you start saving them now and use all the same brand!

  14. Julie says:

    Loved this so much, I featured it on Mom’s Library this week! Hop over and grab an I’ve Been Featured on Hey Mommy, Chocolate Milk button to proudly display on your post!
    Can’t wait to see what you will link up this week!


  15. Penny says:

    Jody! This is BRILLIANT! I’m collecting saltana boxes to use in a similar way (although match boxes would be a lot more sturdy). Well done on the recycling front too!

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      I’ll love to see what you come up with and yes I was also happy that there was recycling involved.

  16. Just wonderful, I am going to make this next year! Great idea for the favours too! Are you happy for me to pin this to my Pinterest board of advent calendars? Now I just have to start saving little boxes…

  17. Judy says:

    For not being artistic, as you claim, that turned out awesome! I love the snowman. How did you get so many match boxes though?

    • Jody Tilbury says:

      Thank you! We have a gas stove (without a pilot light) so we go through a lot of matches here.


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