Wednesday, November 30, 2011

DIY Dropcloth Advent Calendar

It's been a few days since I've been on here, and I'm sorry for the absence, {I tried to get this posted yesterday but our internet crashed and I couldn't} but let me just say that I had a wonderful Thanksgiving with my family.  I didn't pull out my camera at all over the weekend, but my sister did.  You can read her post about our holiday here.  She has some great pictures, including one of our whole family.  Go on, check it out!  Interestingly enough, Sherri also posted about advent calendars yesterday, and here I am talking about mine today!  Can you tell we are sisters or what?  I love her :)

This year I've decided to make some Christmas crafts for our home, hopefully ones that we can use year after year.  My first project was an Advent calendar.  Advent really started this past Sunday, but most calendars begin with December 1st, so I followed suit.  Here's my finished product:

I guess it's not completely finished because those numbers are all pockets.  For my calendar, I'll be filling each pocket with a card on which will be an activity for that day, plus a Bible verse about the Christmas story.  I'll be including verses from our family Advent book {Christ in Christmas: A Family Advent Celebration}that prepare us each day as we look forward to Christmas Day, celebrating the birth of Jesus.

Ready for the tutorial?  It's very simple, but it was a bit time consuming.  You still have one day left before December 1st, so if you make really good use of your time you could get it done before then.  Or, who's really going to care if you start a few days late?

-canvas drop cloth {I used remnants from my dining room chair slipcovers}
-fabric paint
-number stencils
-sponge brush
-red thread {or other Christmas color}
-dowel rod
-holiday ribbon

1. Cut out two pieces of canvas 22" x 36" {you could make this bigger, if wanted, I used these dimensions because of the wall where I planned to hang it}.

2. Cut out 25 pieces, 4"x4"  for the pockets

3. On 3 sides of each pocket piece, fold over 1/2 " and iron in place.

4. Place a small amount of black fabric paint on a paper plate to use for your numbers.

Place the number stencil in the center of the pocket piece and gently dab the paint in the stencil.

 Repeat for all 25 pockets, remembering to center the double digit numbers appropriately. {The instructions on my fabric paint said to wait 4 hours to dry, which I did.  Just be sure that it's not still wet before continuing}.

5. Top stitch the upper pocket edge {side that you did not fold and iron} using a zigzag stitch.  I used red thread to add some contrast color to my calendar.  Repeat for all 25 pockets.

6. Place the numbers on the right side of one 22"x36" piece of canvas, starting with the top row.  Measure down about 3.5" from the top of the piece and 2" in from the side to place your first number.

 Measure 1" between each number across,

and 2" between each number going down.

You can eyeball this if you want, but these are the measurements I used and it worked for me.

7. Pin each number in place when you have them all laid out.

8. Using a zigzag stitch, top stitch the three folded sides of each pocket to the canvas piece.

9. Cut loose threads.

10. Place both 22"x36" pieces of canvas right sides together, lining up edges.  Sew on 3 sides using a 1/2-inch seam.

11. Turn right side out and press.

12. Fold over top edge of both pieces and press.  Stitch, creating the rod pocket.  Insert dowel rod.

13. Measure dowel rod and cut off the excess. {Using an exacto knife worked for me, but I wouldn't recommend it; I just couldn't find the hacksaw and didn't think a kitchen knife was a good idea}.

14. Cut a piece of ribbon long enough to hang the calendar and tie each end to the dowel rod.

15. Make small cards to put in each pocket for a daily activity to enjoy for the first 25 days of December.  Alternately, you could also place small gifts in each day; just be sure if you do this that you use hardware strong enough to hold any extra weight when you hang your calendar.

Linking to:


  1. This looks SO good! I love the fabric that you used and the cute little pockets. It's nice that you can use this over and over again, and just switch up the activities and verses or make new ones!

  2. You've done this since we left?! Amazing! I really like it, Lauren. You are so blessed to think of these great ideas and then have the discipline to do them. I pray that the girls are blessed as they prepare for Christmas day in this way.

  3. You did such a good job! I seriously don't know how you do this with being pregnant and taking care of your kids. Supermom!

  4. That is great, Lauren! I love it! You sure did work fast! Can't wait to hear all the activities as you prepare the girls for Christmas!

  5. Hi Lauren!
    Love your advent calendar! I am including it in my next post. Thanks for linking up!


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