STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

How to make a Christmas advent calendar

''One thing children - and the rest of us - love about Christmas is the anticipation of the big day,'' says Danielle. ''And what better way to heighten the excitement than to make your own five-day advent calendar? A month is a little too much anticipation... even for someone as pre-disposed to this kind of thing as me!''

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How to make a Christmas advent calendar

You will need:

  • Sheets of card
  • Pieces of felt or fabric - I have used red, green, brown and white
  • Glitter, sequins, ribbon, buttons, twigs - whatever you have for decoration
  • Plastic googly eyes (available from craft shops such as Hobbycraft)
  • Craft glue
  • Scraps of patchwork fabric
  • Craft knife
  • Spray mount
  • Scissors
  • Coloured card
  • Fishing twine or florists' wire
  • Sweets to put in each date

Step 1: On a piece of card, draw five different Christmassy shapes such as a robin, snowman, stocking, Christmas tree or gift box - and cut them out.

Step 2: Glue fabric or felt to both sides of each shape, then decorate with other pieces of fabric, felt, glitter, sequins, ribbon, buttons, twigs or the googly eyes! It's a good idea to mix and match fabrics to make the final results look more fun. I made my snowman out of white felt and gave him a patterned fabric scarf, black eyes and a big orange felt carrot nose. The robin was made in a polka dot fabric, with a red felt beak, googly eyes and a red patchwork cloth breast. Twigs worked well for his legs.

Step 3: Cut five rectangles approximate 4cm wide and 10cm long in red felt. Iron these in half lengthways to create little 'bags'. Then either glue or stitch the sides up.

Step 4: Cut out numbers for each date (20, 21, 22, 23, 24) and glue one to each bag. Hang a branch big enough to suspend all your characters from, then attach each shape and treat bag using either florists' wire or fishing twine. It's important to attach everything while the twig is hanging to ensure you keep it balanced.