Introduction: Beer Advent Calendar

Picture of Beer Advent Calendar
Count down to the holidays with a special calendar that reveals a different beer every day. The beer advent calendar adds a little mystery to your holiday drinking. There are 24 days in most advent calendars, but mine is 25 - because if there is any day when you're going to want a beer I think it would be the 25th.

This beer advent calendar is made from cardboard shipping tubes and a poster board printout, and makes a killer gift idea for your beer loving friend. This is a fun twist on the boring chocolate advent calendars I had growing up that were never very satisfying - to eat or to open. As an adult, my tastes are more refined. I still like chocolate, but I have a new mistress, and her name is beer. 

Advent calendars being a wintertime seasonal item, I themed my beer advent calendar after the classic Windows game Ski Free. Also, my friend that is receiving this beer advent calendar is a huge computer nerd and would appreciate the nod.

Here's what I used to make mine:
  • hobby knife
  • white glue
  • duct tape
  • packing tubes
  • poster print
  • lots of beer

Step 1: Cut Tubes + Glue

Picture of Cut Tubes + Glue

I got my tubes from a printing house that uses these tubes to ship large posters. I bought both for about $10. I took measurements of the beer diameter before purchasing, to ensure they would fit inside with some room to spare.

Beverage cans in North America are typically 4.5" high x 2.4" diameter. My tubes were about 3" in diameter, and each tube was cut into 5" long sections using a sharp hobby knife. With my 2 tubes I had enough for 24 equal sections and had two small remaining portions that were glued together to make 25 evenly high tube sections.

After cutting I glued 4 rows of 6 and let the glue dry completely. Then I stacked the rows on top of each other, staggered; resulting in a tidy matrix of tubes. 

Step 2: Adding a 25th Spot

Picture of Adding a 25th Spot

I always though advent calendars were missing an easy trick by not including something on the 25th. I understand that advents are leading up to the day, but who wouldn't want an extra day of awesome stuff. Especially beer.

Totally break all the rules and make your advent calendar as long as you want. Do it, the recipient is sure to thank you. I put my 25th day on the end of one of my rows and glued it in place. Then, the entire matrix was bound in duct tape as an extra measure to ensure it all stays together.

Step 3: Encase

Picture of Encase

Wanting a box shape, measurements were taken of all exterior dimensions and cardboard panels were cut to match. For reference, my overall dimensions were 22.24" wide x 12" tall x 5.25" deep. Glue was generously applied to all sides and cardboard panels were installed, leaving the top open. Glue was left to set overnight.

Step 4: Make Calendar Cover

Picture of Make Calendar Cover

The advent calendar is going to need a cover to conceal it's contents. The two basic layouts are one large picture over the entire calendar, or a small picture over a day (or group of days). I decided to go for one large picture covering the entire calendar, I tried to make it look very busy with lots going on on or around each day.

Being as this is a winter gift and I live in a mountainous area I chose a ski scene from my favourite classic Windows game, Ski Free. Since the recipient of this calendar grew up programming on old Windows machines, I know he'll appreciate the theme. it's nerdy nostalgia.

I made mine by opening an image editing suite and creating a new canvas. Using the dimensions I took earlier to make the box for the tube matrix the canvas has to be large enough for the front and sides. The first picture a layer superimposed to show face  dimension and the cut lines at the corners. I lined up the image with the box underneath by marking the corners with a bare tree, an image seldom used elsewhere in the image. Once the dimensions were set I made a circle the same exterior diameter as the cardboard tubes I used. Then I copied them to recreate the physical matrix I made. Numbers from 1-24 were randomly assigned to each circle. My extra 25th spot was numbered specifically for that location and then decorated with a large Yeti.

I have included a blank version of my Ski Free image, and a sized PDF you are free to download and use. The PDF can also be edited in some image suites (Photoshop, GIMP), this file has all the layers I used in creating my image.

Step 5: Populate Calendar

Picture of Populate Calendar

Start filling in tubes with beer, if you have multiples of one kind be mindful of your numbering and not have the same beer on consecutive days.

I left my 25th day open for a little surprise. Something other than beer.

Step 6: My Extra Day

Picture of My Extra Day

Maybe I ran out of beer, or maybe one was consumed when the beers were being filled in. But I decided to do something different that beer on my extra day.

Since my advent design was Ski Free I thought it only fitting that on the 25th day the Ski Free Yeti would come out and attack. After 24 beers and being attacked by a Yeti you may be feeling a little rough, so I included some Pepto Bismol and acetaminophen (paracetamol).

Step 7: Glue Cover + Back

Picture of Glue Cover + Back

I started by covering the back and sides of my frame with white poster board. You can make errors here and not worry too much as the front cover printout will wrap around the sides and hide most imperfections.

I used white glue on the tops of all the cardboard tubes. Cover as many tops as possible with a small bead of glue. If a small amount of glue falls inside the tubes it's not a big deal. Then, run a thick bead of glue along the outside frame.

Carefully line up the printout markers (as seen in Step 4 - mine were the dead trees) with the corners of the box and gently press in place. Since cut cardboard tubes had some variation the poster did not sit perfectly flat. I placed a few heavy towels over the cover for weight and let glue dry.

The corners were cut according to our 45 degree markings (as designed in Step 4). Theses edges are then glued to the sides.

Step 8: Incisions

Picture of Incisions

I thought about a few ways to access the beer and the simplest were cross incisions in the centre of each day, allowing a controlled start of an opening. After the cover glue has dried, use a sharp hobby knife and gently make two incisions on each day.

Step 9: * Bonus* First Attempt

Picture of * Bonus* First Attempt

My first attempt was to make a square receptacle. I tried making corresponding cuts in cardboard and assemble them together perpendicularly. After spending a while getting the cuts right and gluing down all the sides I felt like it just wasn't what I wanted. Besides, I wanted 25 days and this option just left me with 24. 

I have seen in some restaurants and bars when they ship new glassware they are packed in boxes that would work perfectly for this. Short, evenly segmented squares in cardboard. I gave up after a week of asking and went with tubes instead. Patience, good quality cardboard and a sharp knife may make this option viable for some.

Step 10:

Picture of

This calendar is now ready to dispense daily doses of drink.

Have fun!

Did you make your own advent calendar? Share a picture of your version of this project in the comments below and be awarded a 3-month Pro Membership on and a digital patch
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zposner (author)2016-12-10

Great gifts for alchoholics, then they can know how many beers they've had.

Erchan (author)2014-12-03

very creative idea...

I applaud you.

Instead of beer, candies, chocolate, mini toys, love cards etc... you can put what you wish, for children, for wives, for friends.

demon6666 (author)Erchan2015-12-02

No Only Beer lol!!!

kakashibatosi (author)2014-12-03

I love this idea! It allows for a wide variety of beer to be consumed, but also allows for a seasonal built-in portion control! I'd have to see what kind of variety of beer is available in cans. I've seen the bottles, but I dig the movement of lots of craft companies adding cans to their product line. Really nicely done!

Straklin (author)2014-12-02

Wow, love this idea. I have a few friends who will be getting one of these next year. I think you may have been able to use bottle six packs glued together, but they would need to be reinforced. Great instructable!

Daniel Zf (author)2014-12-02

Everyone complaining about beer, you can use any other thing on this, i'd love to receive beer since here where i live there aren't many kinds, but you can put pastries, chocolate, gifts, letters etc, remember that Instructables is about creation/imrpovement/recycling and a lot of good criticism, cheers to everyone i'm going to make a smaller one but with different stuff for my girl and SO

MaddestHatter (author)2014-12-02

This is a great idea, with one very big exception. The concept and execution are fantastic, but please for the love of Cernunnos don't kill people's livers this coming yule by giving them tylenol after alcohol. Use aspirin or ibuprofen instead. All the NSAIDs are something to be careful with because potentially they can cause problems with the liver or GI tract, but acetaminophen in particular is a bad one to have after alcohol. Other than that this is a great idea and I just wish I had the time, space, and materials to make one before December is already halfway done. Cheers.

imakejunk (author)2014-12-02

Love it! Also love the ski free pattern! Gonna have to go make my own too.


imakejunk (author)2014-12-02

Aw come on! Jesus turned water into wine as his first miracle so that drunk people at a wedding could get more drunk.

OddJob (author)2014-12-01

Love this idea! I am a huge Advent fan and beer fan....blending the two together; priceless! I like how you staggered (pun intended) the rolls. And the "Ski Free" was an all time favorite and perfect way to wrap up (oh oh) your project. Nicely done.

Epdaggett made it! (author)2014-12-01

Here's the one I just made with my son. Just used 24 tubes as they fit perfectly in the box!

mikeasaurus (author)Epdaggett2014-12-01

That looks fun, and the Charlie Brown on the bottom row is a nice touch.

Enjoy the 3-month Pro Membership!

Lisa W made it! (author)2014-11-25

I made one for my husband last year, but it was much simpler to put together. Wrapped a large box in Christmas paper, purchased 25 different bottles of beer, wrapped each beer in a brown paper bag with a ribbon tied around it, numbered each bag and put them all into the box. So easy! Made for ease of chilling the beers too. He could put a few into the fridge (while still in the paper bags) without having to put the entire calendar in at once.

mikeasaurus (author)Lisa W2014-12-01

That's a fun twist, and definitely easier to store in the fridge.

Thanks for sharing! Enjoy the 3-month Pro Membership!

makendo made it! (author)2013-12-09

Great idea, here's mine:

mikeasaurus (author)makendo2013-12-09

Being from the west coast, I approve of all the beers I see in your crate.
Thanks for sharing, enjoy the patch and 3-month Pro!

avanderveen made it! (author)2012-12-12

Awesome idea! You inspired me to make this one for my guy, and he absolutely loves it (especially that it worked out that oversized cans would even fit in it, lol). :oD

mikeasaurus (author)avanderveen2012-12-13

I like the shape of your version, and tall boy cans are a favourite of mine. Great work!
For sharing your version of this project you've been awarded a digital patch on your profile and a 3-month Pro Membership!

depotdevoid (author)2012-12-12

Whoa, I totally missed this one! This is a 25 layer awesome burrito, and if I had room in my fridge I'd probably make it . . . actually, it would make a really good gift for my brother the brewer. He's got a kegerator, and I suspect you could squeeze this in there between the various kegs. I'll put this on my list for next year!

FallsFromtrees (author)2012-12-09

My brother turns 21 this coming year, I think I will make him one with soda up to the day then have a beer in it and then water and an aspirin bottle for the next day. This is great!!

FreeBaseBuzz (author)2012-12-07

that's awesome!! Pity I only just noticed it now. Bit late to do it for Xmas :(

I guess it doesn't HAVE to be for Xmas.. Make it for Australia Day perhaps :)

mishagirl8 (author)2012-12-07

im going to make this for my dad, but instead of it being for christmas, im going to give it too him 25/24 days before his birthday. hell love it!

lpinto made it! (author)2012-12-04

You calendar is awesome. I might use a variation of it when I have my annual Christmas Pub Crawl with my friends.

I made this Advent calendar for my nephews this year. And as you can see in the picture I have also included day 25. But no candy every day for them, instead, I wrote a task for them to do on that day, like Listen to Christmas music while having breakfast or Read a Christmas Story from another country.

shrdlu (author)2012-12-02

The Bowen Island IPA tells me you are probably Canadian. Bob and Doug would have loved this. Carry on.

mikeasaurus (author)shrdlu2012-12-03

Take off, you hoser!

shrdlu (author)mikeasaurus2012-12-04

I have no comeback as I cannot find my thinking toque.

mischka (author)2012-12-04

I found this on a german site. Its more straight forward :-P

here is the link:

Jaz_Allen (author)2012-12-03

Here is the advent calendar I made my girlfriend last year, all the boxes are origami and held together with their folds, no glue or sticky tape required. The dates were stamped with the date stamp in my office, wish I had left out the year now so I could re-use it.

mikeasaurus (author)Jaz_Allen2012-12-03

What did you hide in yours behind each day?

slugo (author)2012-12-02

Only thing I would change is to add additional space for multiple beers per day. Very cool. :)

mikeasaurus (author)slugo2012-12-03

I had originally though of mini whiskey or scotch bottles, with multiples per day! Maybe there's an option to make a week long calendar of the same size and you can open a door every few hours per day. Whoa!

Chuffingnora (author)2012-12-02

This makes the countdown to Xmas a lot better Will i make one?... Yes

mikeasaurus (author)Chuffingnora2012-12-03

Yes, make one. I should have really made two, so I could enjoy one myself.

malweth (author)2012-12-02

How sturdy is this for year-to-year reuse?
This might work well with PVC for a reusable calendar. The cardboard tubes might get damp / moldy after the second Christmas in the fridge.

mikeasaurus (author)malweth2012-12-03

The tubes are pretty solid, and I reinforced the matrix with a few wraps of duct tape to be sure. I think this could possibly last 2-3 years, if taken care of.

Teachersears made it! (author)2012-12-01

I made and delivered one today to a guy who's always bringing me good stuff to drink. I used bottles. Thanks for the cool ideas.

mikeasaurus (author)Teachersears2012-12-03

Great stuff!
For sharing yours here you get a digital patch (on your profile page) and a 3-month Pro Membership.

brehzer (author)2012-12-01

I would think this could be simplified if you just use an empty bottle case. Love this idea, great work


mikeasaurus (author)brehzer2012-12-03

This is exactly the box I mention in Step 9, thanks for supplying a picture.

ChefKev (author)2012-12-02

LOL Mike, you're awesome dude! One of the best Instructables I've seen! Merry Christmas!

c-face (author)2012-12-02

That is awesome! I might have to do that one of these days!

deb mccolley (author)2012-12-02

Now that's an advent calendar, I can get behind.

yellowcatt (author)2012-12-02

Brilliant instructable.
May be worth asking at print shops for the cardboard tubes that form the cores of print media rolls, some of those are wide enough for beer cans or bottles.

bradjensen68 (author)2012-12-02

Just FYI, advent calendars have 24 days because Germans (where the advent calendar comes from) celebrate Christmas on the 24th, not the 25th.

John Sphar (author)2012-12-02

NIce! My daughter spent a exchange year in Germany and her host parents gave her a beer advent calendar that was commercially available there.

aje127 (author)2012-12-02

I don't drink beer but I think this is AWESOME. I must find a friend that drinks beer so I can give this to them.

sniffydogs (author)2012-12-02

Or you could just use a case, flipped on it's side! LOL

CatalinRO (author)2012-12-01

I like it :) After all these years, I have to change from chocolate to something else :)

schumi23 (author)2012-12-01

Hmm... I think I might make this as a X-mas present for my sister... (as we live on opposite sides of the globe, we will only meet round the 20th... and it is cheaper to make it for less tme :) I will h ave it start on the 24th: 1 beer every day, 6 beers, and, on the last day, the 31st: Ill put a bottle of gin :) (I was thinking, all of them, surrounding the last, 31st)

Hmm... Ill design it once I am back home :)

hardlec (author)2012-12-01

Chocolate can never be boring.
I would think a non-alcoholic version would be appropriate for some.

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Bio: I'm Mike and I make crazy things at Instructables HQ in San Francisco. Follow me and try a few of my projects for yourself!
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