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DIY Advent Calendar with Paper Houses

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Countdown to Christmas with this DIY advent calendar made of adorable paper houses. 

I am in love with our new Christmas advent calendar! It’s the perfect marriage of my two favorite things: woodworking and paper crafting. The easy to build house shaped shelf holds 25 little paper houses to open every day till Christmas.

Each year I look forward to designing a new advent calendar. I might enjoy it as much as the kids enjoy opening up their calendar each day. And thought we keep it simple with these tips for a stress free activity advent calendar, it still helps us get in the Christmas spirit. 

Red shelves with 25 white & gold paper houses on them to open each day in December until Christmas.

Wood House Shaped Shelf

The base of the advent calendar is an easy to build house shaped shelf. The shelf is made with just two 1×4 boards.

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Plus all you need to make it are a measuring tape, miter saw and nail gun. And you are going to love how fast the shelf goes together!

Close-up of the wooden house shaped shelves with paper houses on it.

You can stain the advent calendar shelf any color you want. For this year’s Christmas decor, I am going with a classic red theme with simplistic Scandinavian influences. 

So for our house shelf, I used up some of the leftover red stain from the wooden toy barn build earlier this month. This wood stain is the perfect vibrant red for Christmas. 

Wood and paper advent calendar on floor in front of the fireplace.

Paper Christmas Houses

The second part of the DIY advent calendar are the 25 paper houses. These were so much fun to design. The houses are simple, but there are 5 different “front door” styles. 

The doors are backed by tissue paper to keep the surprises inside a secret until it’s time to open them. But the tissue paper makes it easy to open up when the time comes. 

Close up angled shot of the paper houses on the DIY advent calendar with gold tissue paper covering the openings.

I chose to use gold tissue paper to give the houses a little glow. Plus the gold and red are so classic and pretty for Christmas.

Each little house is big enough to hold a treat or present for the day. The houses are 3″ x 3″ and 3 1/2″ tall at the peak. 

Scandinavian inspired Christmas advent calendar next to a modern Christmas tree decor.

Since I like to keep our advent calendar stress free for me, I usually don’t plan activities for the whole month in advance. So I left the back of the roofs unglued on any non-filled in houses. Then I can sneak in a card with a daily activity, treat or other when it gets closer. 

How to Make a Paper House Advent Calendar

Supplies:

  • Paper houses cut file
  • Cardstock
    • I used white cardstock for the houses and gray cardstock for the roofs, but have fun and use whatever colors you want.
  • Tissue paper
  • Glue sticks
  • Glue gun
  • Optional: Silhouette Cameo or other electronic cutting machineYou can cut out the paper houses by hand, use an X-acto knife for cutting out the door details. 

Build the Shelf

Get the full tutorial for the wooden house shelf on my other website, Housefulofhandmade.com.

Make the Paper Houses

Cut out the houses from your cardstock. You will need 25 houses, so cut 5 of each design. 

Before assembling the houses, cut a piece of tissue paper to cover the door opening. Attach it to the inside of the house with glue. 

Covering the openings in the paper houses for the advent calendar with tissue paper.

Fold along all the dotted lines, then lift the sides of the house up and secure them with glue.

I love using my hot glue gun for 3D paper crafts because it is fast drying and permanent. 

Glueing the sides of the paper Christmas houses.

If desired, place a sticker with the number of the day on the front of the house. I cut out some vinyl numbers out on my Silhouette Cameo.

But before adding the numbers, arrange the houses on the shelf in the pattern you want. Try to keep from placing the same door style next to each other. 

Now it’s time to fill your paper houses with your advent goodies. Whether you are just slipping in a slip describing your Christmas activity for the day, putting in your favorite Christmas treat, or filling each day in December with a little present, you will love opening up the doors on the houses each day. 

Red house shaped shelf with 25 paper houses as a DIY advent calendar.

But even after the day is over, you can leave the little house on the shelves as part of your Christmas decor. 

DIY Advent Calendar with Paper Houses

DIY Advent Calendar with Paper Houses

Yield: 1 Advent Calendar
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Active Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Difficulty: Easy
Estimated Cost: $5-$10

The easy to build house shaped shelf holds 25 little paper houses to open even day till Christmas.

Materials

  • Paper houses cut file
  • Cardstock
  • Tissue paper
  • Glue sticks

Tools

  • Glue gun
  • Optional: Silhouette Cameo or other electronic cutting machine
  • X-acto knife for cutting out the door details.

Instructions

MAKE THE PAPER HOUSES

  1. Cut out the houses from your cardstock.
  2. You will need 25 houses, so cut 5 of each design. 
  3. Cut a piece of tissue paper to cover the door opening.
  4. Attach it to the inside of the house with glue. 
  5. Fold along all the dotted lines and secure them with glue.
  6. Arrange the houses on the shelf.
  7. Fill your paper houses with your advent goodies. 

I cannot wait to see my kids opening the houses come December. 

DIY wooden advent calendar made up of a red house shaped shelf with 25 white & gold paper houses on it.

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