Magnetic Holiday Advent Calendar DIY

November 23rd, 2010

UPDATE: Wow, and I thought I was being so clever, Martha beat me to it by a whole year! Check out her version!

The long Thanksgiving holiday is the perfect opportunity to get started on some of those Christmas crafts you’ve got planned. I started a little early this year so that I could share this little project with you and I hope you enjoy.

Some of my fondest holiday memories from childhood were around the advent calendar. My grandfather would mail us one every year and I can remember how excited we were every day to open the tiny doors to see the surprise inside! Typically chocolate but sometimes a small trinket or toy.

This project is a new take on the traditional advent calendar and one that will easily last for years. With just a few basic supplies, theses metal storage tins transform into a fun holiday count down. Cheers!

• 25 Small 41 mm Metal Tins with Glass Tops
Available through Packaging Specialties order by phone at 206.762.0540
and online at Polymer Clay Express
• Advent Calendar Downloadable PDF (See Below)
• Magnetic Sheets (Available at Office Supply Stores)
• Craft Glue or Strong Double-Sided Tape
• X-Acto Knife
• Bone Folder
• 1 4/8″ Craft Punch (Optional)

1. Begin by  downloading and printing the Advent Calendar PDF. With an x-acto knife, trim out along black lines. Once circles are trimmed, cut inwards making small slits along outer rim. Be sure to cut only to the edge of the color. This will aid in fitting the rounds inside the lids.

2. With the inside of the lid facing up, place number on top, face down and press into place. Secure by rubbing the pointy end along the inside edge of the tin top.

3. To make them magnetic, cut circular shape slightly smaller than the tin from magnetic sheeting. This can be done with either a craft punch or x-acto knife. Glue to bottom of tin, making sure not to glue magnetic side (the dark side).

4. Fill tins with small candies, toys, cute paper clips, whatever will fit and your family will enjoy!

5. Arrange magnets on fridge or any other magnetic surface. Place in rectangular numerical order, in the shape of a tree, or arrange them randomly for added hunting fun. The possibilities are endless so have fun!


CONDITIONS OF USE: All Twig & Thistle downloads are subject to our Terms & Conditions. Downloads are for personal, non-commercial use only. In addition please do not redistribute or modify any of the templates. If you’d like to link to the pdf, please link to this post directly. Thanks!


38 Responses to “Magnetic Holiday Advent Calendar DIY”

  1. Sarah @pingsandneedles Says:

    This looks FABULOUS! I absolutely love it, such a cool idea. Where did you get those fab birdie paperclips eh? Lovely post – thank you.

  2. Erin at Vale Design Says:

    Love it! Another lovely inventive DIY project! Thank you!

  3. postcards and pretties Says:

    super cute! i heart your diys

  4. jamieofalltrades Says:

    That is just adorable!

  5. Laura Says:

    I’d love to know where the bird paper clips are from too!

  6. Rachel at Benign Objects Says:

    Oh cleverness! This is so cool! Apparently I can’t stop using exclamation points! :)

  7. Leigha Says:

    Um. Awesome and adorable. What a fun rainy day activity (and it happens to be raining at my house today).


  8. mari Says:

    This is wonderful!
    Thank you for sharing.
    I cannot get the PDF to download.
    Any suggestions?
    Happy Holidays-they’re here!

  9. kaela Says:

    Wow! So clever! I’ve been working on an advent calendar for years now, and I just can’t finish it. This one seems doable! Thanks!

  10. Anne Schultz Says:

    this is so stinking cute, I could cry… :D love it!

  11. Jordan - Polkadot Prints Says:

    Love it! What a great idea using those tins! Reminds me of the Ikea tins similar to these called Crundtal. :)

  12. Katy Says:

    Great idea…and I totally prefer yours!

  13. Kathleen Says:

    Hi Mari,

    If you have issues downloading the file, try right clicking on the link and saving the file directly to your computer. Have fun!

  14. Kathleen Says:

    Aren’t those bird clips adorable?! I found them at a local Japanese book store and they are available in all kinds of shapes and animals. You can find them online here.

  15. Pancakes For Recess Says:

    I’m a huge fan of magnetic letters and numbers in general, as a learning tool for little ones. This takes the cake! Functional and so pretty!

  16. Naomi Says:

    This DIY is amazing….I love it!

  17. Whitney Says:

    Kathleen, even if Martha beat you to it, your final product is WAY cuter! Plus your instructions are much clearer and easier to follow. Love love love your DIYs!

  18. autumn Says:

    wow! this is so fun and pretty. love everything about it.
    and don’t you hate it when you come up with a BRILLIANT idea,
    only to find out that someone already “stole” your idea…even if it was last year?
    happy thanksgiving!

  19. Maddie Says:

    I like yours better than Martha’s ;-)

  20. Sherri Says:

    This is sooooo cute! I had to share it on Facebook.

  21. clairek Says:

    love this! you did such a great job! Thanks for sharing!

  22. Gloria Says:

    this is such a cute idea! i’d love to open one of these to find those awesome animal paperclips!

  23. Rebecca B Says:

    I LOVE this!

  24. jackie Says:

    your version is way cuter than martha’s. thanks!

  25. TJ Says:

    Yours are so much cuter than Martha’s :)
    Thanks for sharing!

  26. Lisa Says:

    These are great! And way better than Martha’s!! It’s the day before Advent starts and I’m going to stay up all night making these!! Thank you – my little boy will LOVE them!

  27. Brancoprata Says:

    Absolutely perfect!! The most beautiful advent calender i saw in a long, long time!

  28. Dorisdays Says:

    Of all the Avent calendars I’ve seen posted so far this year, this is my favorite!

  29. Katharine Says:

    We made this for our family today and, instead of making it magnetic, we just used photo dots to adhere the (mostly unfilled as yet) containers on the wall in a line. It looks beautiful and my daughter liked the four M&Ms that were in the “1″ (only thing we had on hand).

    Thanks SO much.

  30. Chiot's Run Says:

    Yeah – but yours is so much better than Martha’s! We always LOVED celebrating the advent as a kid, this is a great idea, perhaps I could fill each one with cat snacks since we don’t have kids, or maybe make one for my sis.

  31. Beth K Says:

    The PDF file loads as just a blank grey screen — tried different times over the last 2 days. Please fix.

    Thank you!

  32. Kathleen Says:

    Hi Beth, The PDF may take a minute to load but it appears to be working and I’ve tested it on both a Mac and PC. If you still are having issues, send me and email at kathleen[at] and I can email it to you directly. :)

  33. doro K. Says:

    i think YOUR calender looks great!

    I linked to your tutorial on my blog – thanks for sharing!

    doro K.

  34. Katharina Says:

    Super charming idea!
    I’m going to make an advent calendar for my sister, who is going through hard times at the moment. Every day in december I will send her something cute, and your numbers will fit the envelopes :)
    I hope she lightens up a bit, as much as it delights me finding those superdupa numbers!
    Thank you for sharing and greetings from Germany!


  35. JoyHey Says:

    Just blogged this lovely idea to my blog: Hope you like it :)

  36. sharla@mylittlegems Says:

    This turned out really cute! I saw this on Martha Stewart years ago, and finally got around to making my own version this year, using the spice jars from IKEA. I did mine on my regular magnetic board, so I could only fit 14, not 24…oh well.. I wish I would have seen this for the download-it is very cute!-I’ll have to link to it in my post :) (I used scrapbook paper and stamps- mine posts on Mon!) Happy Holidays!

  37. Karie Says:

    ditto to all the comments above. adorable! waaaayyy cuter than martha’s!

  38. Annie Says:

    This is soooo great! I purchased this lovely DIY one from etsy today! It’s a little more jesusy, but it’s so pretty.

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