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Home / Occasions / Christmas / Merry Matchbox DIY Advent Calendar

‘Tis the season to be jolly

DIY Christmas Advent Calendar

Fill your home up to the chimney with fun (and give Santa a grin) by making your very own Merry Matchbox DIY Advent Calendar.

Each matchbox drawer houses a giggly activity you can do with your little ones: drawing challenges, Christmas-themed dress up, reindeer interviews and such like. Kids turn each drawer around with every complete task, slowly revealing a smiley, colourful new Santa. Simply download the Cheerful Challenges below and follow the ten simple steps to learn how to make your very own Merry Matchbox DIY Advent Calendar. A perfect craft idea for a cold afternoon.

Download Challenges Print tutorial

You will need:

  • 24 empty matchboxes
  • superglue
  • black marker
  • paint
  • a piece of ribbon (wide)
  • some coloured string (or thin ribbon)
  • printer
  • scissors
  • your phone

Let’s make an advent calendar!

Step 1

Step 1

Stack and glue your matchboxes to make a mini chest of drawers. Three boxes across, eight high.

Step 2

Step 2

Paint the whole thing snowy white, and leave to dry.

Step 3

Step 3

Draw an outline of Santa’s face. Make sure that both his eyes are on one matchbox, and his mouth is (mostly) on one matchbox. Paint your picture in nice bright colours. When it’s finished, take a photo with your phone—you’ll need this later. Leave Santa to dry.

Step 4

Step 4

Now, this is important. One at a time, swap the boxes in the right-hand drawers with the ones in the left-hand drawers (leave the middle column as it is.) You’ll end up with a jumbled Santa, but trust us—this is what makes the magic happen…

Step 5

Step 5

Turn your chest of drawers around to reveal the back (which is plain white). Now, using your photo for reference, draw an outline of Santa to match the other side; but this time give him closed eyes and a not-so-happy mouth. Leave this drawing unpainted. Lastly, from top left to bottom right, number the drawers 1-24.

Step 6

Step 6

Print off our 24 cheerful challenges (click the big red button at the end of this post). Or you can get creative and make your own. Cut them out into individual strips.

Step 7

Step 7

Roll each challenge into a tiny scroll and tie with string.

Step 8

Step 8

Assign each challenge to a day (drawer) of your choice.

Step 9

Step 9

Tie a nice wide ribbon around your calendar, like a bow on a present. Ensure the black & white Santa is facing outwards.

Step 10

Step 10

Invite your little elves to open a drawer every morning through December and act out the challenges together. After each challenge is complete, turn the drawer around to reveal your bright, smiley Santa whisker by whisker. You’ll notice that even though colourful Santa was jumbled on the other side, he looks perfect when he’s revealed box by box.

Download Challenges Print tutorial
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