Introduction: Make a Candy Advent Calendar

Video link in case the above doesn't work:

The holidays are fast approaching, so here is a quick project to provide you with a delicious way to count down day by day until christmas!

Advent calendars have been around for some time, they started out rather religious with prayers hidden behind the calendar doors. More recently that's been replaced with funny images, themed calendars, calendars filled with LEGO and toys, and maybe more importantly, candy!

Today we're making the latter, watch the video above, assemble the materials listed below, and get to building, you only have a couple of days left!


  • Double sided sticky tape
  • Foamcore, or cardboard


  • Craft knives, like X-acto or similar
  • Sewing needle or pin
  • Printer, preferably A3 or bigger

So let's get going!

Step 1: Planning

First find a suitable image for your advent calendar. It could be a picture you find online, or you could draw it yourself. Either way, take the image into your favourite graphics editing software and start drawing out doors on a separate layer using the line tool. Inside each door add a number between 1 to 24 (or 25, depending on which day you celebrate christmas). It's more fun if you try to make the doors as part of the natural environment of the picture, and hide the numbers a bit as well so you actually need to search for a bit to find the right one.

Once done you need to print two separate documents. One which is the picture with the numbers on it, but not the door lines, and one document which has only the door lines. Be sure to print them on the same sized paper so they will match up later.

You can also make the lines for the doors dotted to help with perforation at a later stage.

Step 2: Matching Printouts and Foamcore

To start out you need to match the two printouts together again. Grab a piece of Blue-Tac and attach the printout of the doors on top of the calendar picture in all four corners of the paper, making sure you line up the corners of the papers accurately, and that the orientation of the doors match the picture.

Since we're going to stuff our advent calendar with candy we also need some depth to it. We're using a piece of foamcore to provide that depth, but if you don't have access to that you can also use cardboard or other stiff but sturdy materials. Bear in mind though that to get sufficient thickness to put what you want into the calendar you may need to use several layers of material.

Put the two papers down on top of the foamcore, matching up the corners again and Blue-Tacing it in place. Now we're ready for the most tedious part of this build!

Step 3: Perforate Good Times Come On!

Yes, it's time for what is undoubtedly the most exciting part of this build, perforating the paper! Grab a sewing needle or a pin and start following the outlines of the doors, making a hole through both papers into the foamcore once every millimeter or so.

It's slow work, and I'm sure you could use some tool or other to speed it up, but it still shouldn't take more than half an hour to pierce through all the holes. If you're more than one person, even faster!

You can also use the aid of a ruler to have straighter perforations, or like me do it all freehand for a more artisanal look.

Once you've perforated all the holes you can separate the top paper from the picture and throw it away. Also, put the calendar picture aside as we're now going to focus on the foamcore.

Step 4: Cutting Out the Holes

Now you should have a foamcore piece riddled with holes which shows where the doors go. Grab your favourite craft knife and start cutting all those holes out. You're going to have to imagine where the fourth line of the doors go and cut accordingly, but that shouldn't be too hard.

If you find yourself needing another layer of foamcore you can easily transfer the holes onto another sheet using a pen once they're all cut out and cut out more holes on the other sheet. Glue these sheets together for a thicker calendar.

Step 5: Add the Front

When all the holes have been cut out grab some double sided sticky tape and work your way around the perimiter of the calendar. Add tape in between the holes as well to prevent any candy from spilling out inside the calendar. You don't really need to butt the tape up to the edge of the hole, but be sure to add some in between the holes to keep the paper firmly stuck down to the foamcore.

Once all the backing has been removed you can carefully lay down the printout on top of the foamcore. Make sure that the orientation and location is as close to perfect you can get it, as that will improve the end result. I find the easiest is to match up one edge and kind of roll it down onto the tape.

Press the paper down firmly on the tape and move on to a more delicious stage!

Step 6: CANDY!!!

It's candy time!

If you can keep yourself from eating all the candy as you're working with it, flip over the calendar and start stuffing the holes in the back with candy pieces. You could put one candy in each door, or you could stuff them to the brim, it's all up to you. However, once done, make sure nothing is sticking up above the surface of the calendar, as that will make closing up the back somewhat difficult.

Step 7: Closing Up the Back

It's back to our old friend the double sided sticky tape. Just as you attached the front of the calendar, add tape around the perimeter and in between the holes. You don't need to be as careful about getting it all over, but add at least a few random pieces to hold the thin cardboard we're using for a backing down.

Add and rub down the cardboard, and make sure it sticks all over and believe it or not you're actually done with your candy advent calendar.

Step 8: Scoring the Corners (optional)

To make the doors a little bit easier to open you could also lightly score one of the corners of each door with a knife. This makes it a little bit easier to get a hold of, especially if you happen to have short nails.

Step 9: Done!

The candy advent calendar is done! Now it's just a matter of leaving it out for the little ones to discover and start their days amped up on sugar.

On second thought, you could always make a calendar stuffed with other things. Why not make an electronics calendar, with components behind each door, which when assembled on Christmas eve makes an actual device? For an adult version, you could always hide small bottles of alcohol behind the doors, or anything you can imagine!

If you enjoyed this instructable be sure to follow Switch & Lever both here on instructables, but also on YouTube for some projects which don't make it over here.

Happy holidays, however you chose to spend them!