Christmas MAIN

DIY Advent Calendar

Every single year I swear I am going to make an advent calendar for my kids. And every single year, time runs out in November and there I am on December 1st, getting the last minute chocolate calendars available at every grocery store on the planet.

You know the basic rectangle cardboard calendar that you get for $1, where you pop open a cardboard window and out pops a chocolate?

Then within the first week of using them I am reminded of why I hate these calendars. Because within that week by the time you struggle to pop out that sliver of chocolate, you manage to shake the calendar as you’re doing so. This causes random chocolates on other dates that you have yet to open, to fall out of their respective holders and land at the bottom of the calendar box. Suddenly your child is opening dates without any chocolate and by the 22nd you’ve got 10 chocolates lodged at the bottom ready to be eaten.

Fail.

So this year I said Pinterest you win, I will make my kids their own calendar.

And being the “Hey what can I turn this leftover household item into?” hoarder that I am, I went into my stash of saved toilet paper rolls and go to work. Yes my family actually knows not to throw out the toilet paper rolls anymore.

So this is my upcycled Advent Calendar made from leftover toilet paper rolls. Thank you Kirkland brand from Costco.

I initially wanted to do pillow boxes but then I changed my mind and tried to make them look more flat kraft paper envelopes. Except instead of fancy folding, I got out my stapler and did this on both ends after filling them with chocolates and treats.

Toilet Paper roll craft

Oh yes, that is leftover Halloween candy. This is the ultimate upcycle.

And last years Christmas ribbon.

Got out my key rings. Took out the key ring part and stamped the tags.

Upcycled Advent Calendar (4)

Upcycled Advent Calendar (5)

Embellished and decorated.

Upcycled Advent Calendar

Stuck them a foam board and done!

DIY Advent Calendar

Homemade Advent Calendar

DIY Advent Calendar Craft

 Should you try your hand at this, here are some tips I learned through trial and error as I did this.

– Use the good double sided tape to tape the boxes to the foam core. You know what I’m talking about. Not the crappy cheap stuff. If you do not they will fall off. Better yet, use a glue gun.

– Depending on how you wrap your ribbon, finish it (attach the ends of it after you wrap it around the box) with a glue gun and not tape (unless you can do some fancy tying). Or again the ribbon will fall off while attached to the double sided tape. Oh yes I was that naive.

– Do not use heavy clunky chocolates. Lighter is better. Thinner is also better. Common sense but it’s amazing what you overlook when you go “Oh the mini coffee crisp bars will totally fit in there.” Especially when you’re cramming in 2 of them, per box, for both of your kids. I could have made 2 separate calendars but…oh come on, do I even need to explain that part?

– For when your kids take off the box so you’re not stuck with a ripped spot or some glue, have them put up a Christmas sticker, small ornament or make their own small festive drawing over the spot. I vote for the craft part to occupy them.

There. Now you can make sure that your family doesn’t throw away all your toilet paper rolls either. And when your spouse gets mad at you for this, send them here. My husband will tell you it’s a lot better than me spending all our money at Michael’s.

Which I would never, ever. Do.

Upcycled Advent Calendar using Toilet Paper rolls

 

77 Comments

  • Reply
    Lynne Knowlton
    November 10, 2013 at 7:35 pm

    Very coolio ! It could be neat-o to hang them on a jute rope with wooden clothes pegs too !

    Great inspiration girly !!! Xox

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 11, 2013 at 8:53 pm

      I would have totally done the rope thing alas the prime real estate for our house that gets that is the garland that I have yet to make. But am constantly reminded that I haven’t made yet by my daughter. Who thinks Christmas decorating should have started Nov 1.

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 12, 2013 at 7:02 pm

      PS – if this doesn’t arrive in your mailbox, I am going to go get very angry at my this Plug In.

  • Reply
    Grandma
    November 10, 2013 at 7:57 pm

    What a great idea. I always bought the boys the dollar advent calendars. These are much better. My granddaughters are lucky to have a Mom with such a great imagination.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    November 10, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    Lovely! I always loved Advent calendars – even the cheapo ones. I always thought the best part was when you forgot to open one and the next day you got TWO chocolates 🙂
    Your idea is so smart – and so much prettier and with better chocolate than the store bought kind.

  • Reply
    Heather
    November 10, 2013 at 9:49 pm

    There is so much to love about this project! The combination of Halloween and Christmas, the reuse, the simple but classic embellishments… Do you have any tips on how to go through 24 rolls of toilet paper in 20 days? 🙂

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 11, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      I’ll send you mine. I have a stockpile!

  • Reply
    Susan
    November 11, 2013 at 12:05 am

    Brilliant idea. My children are grown up but would still love to have an advent calendar.

  • Reply
    Tara @ Suburble
    November 11, 2013 at 2:41 am

    This is so awesome, Alex! I love it! Upcycled, and super stylish! Well done, lady!

  • Reply
    Shari G
    November 11, 2013 at 6:36 am

    I never ever spend all our money at Michaels. I make him do that for my b-day and Christmas with gift certificates and yarn! LOL

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 11, 2013 at 9:36 pm

      I love gift cards from there. Love! Great idea!

  • Reply
    Sue Schlabach 129twigandvine
    November 11, 2013 at 7:41 am

    You are so on top of the season, Sistah!

  • Reply
    Christine
    November 11, 2013 at 9:16 am

    Totally rockin’ advent calendar Alex!! I LOVE IT!!

  • Reply
    meganpires
    November 11, 2013 at 9:33 am

    Love love love this!!! I’m going to take a tp roll with me when I go shopping for little goodies to put inside!Thanks for the great idea.

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 11, 2013 at 9:41 pm

      I do things like that ALL the time. Boxes. Bags. I have a measuring tape inside my bag at all times.

  • Reply
    mehker
    November 11, 2013 at 9:42 am

    I absolutely love the simplicity of this project. I am inspired- Thank you 🙂 Your photographs are beautiful of the final product too!

  • Reply
    Tracey Tabone
    November 11, 2013 at 9:56 am

    What a great idea….it doesn’t look too hard and it’s nice to look at! I love it…looking forward to more crafts 🙂

  • Reply
    Lisa
    November 11, 2013 at 10:44 am

    I love this! What a great and stylish idea!

  • Reply
    Corinna vanGerwen
    November 11, 2013 at 10:53 am

    Nicely done! Looks great and like it didn’t actually take that long or was too complicated to do. Can’t wait till my (yet-to-be-born) son is old enough for me to start doing the advent calendar thing. Though I’ll probably be like you and do the cardboard window kind more often than make my own.

  • Reply
    April G.
    November 11, 2013 at 11:22 am

    What a great idea!!! very creative!

  • Reply
    Victoria • Restoring our Victorian
    November 11, 2013 at 11:25 am

    cutest. thing. ever.
    now tell me where you got the shiny snowflakes. I need those. But like 4,000 times bigger.

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 12, 2013 at 8:15 pm

      No word of a lie Dollarama. Do they have that chain the US? We just got the Dollar Tree here.

  • Reply
    Holly
    November 11, 2013 at 11:44 am

    Great idea! You must have been saving your TP rolls for a while. I have one upcoming on my blog next week 🙂

  • Reply
    Jo-Anna
    November 11, 2013 at 11:58 am

    This is such a great idea – the ultimate upcycle project! Your kids will LOVE it!! And I totally agree on those chocolate advent calendars…what a pain in the patootie they are…yet I buy them every year! 😉

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 12, 2013 at 8:17 pm

      Did you see the Lindor ones out this year? I just came across them today at Shoppers and it’s like a little house that’s deep enough to hold each chocolate. I am thinking oh there is hope!

  • Reply
    ScrapAndSalvage
    November 11, 2013 at 12:29 pm

    way awesome!

  • Reply
    Eliece
    November 11, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    Love this! Would never have guess it was toilet paper roll from the picture. Great idea!

  • Reply
    fran
    November 11, 2013 at 4:29 pm

    FABULOUS use of those rolls. I just knew there was a reason I stockpiled them. Thank you!!!!

  • Reply
    Casey @ Waffling
    November 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm

    this is super cute! what a a great idea. it would take me forever to collect all those rolls in my place because I live alone 🙂

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 12, 2013 at 8:18 pm

      I want to admit how much toilet paper we go through but it’s embarrassing. Let me just say that our Costco membership alone could be paid off via Kirkland TP.

  • Reply
    Danielle from Storypiece
    November 11, 2013 at 7:01 pm

    This is so cute! Kids love advent calendars, but the one I purchased has become the sole frustration of every Christmas season. Nothing fits in the wood drawers and the kids bicker over who is opening it when. This is a brilliant solution and bonus points for upcycling the Halloween candy. 🙂

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 12, 2013 at 8:22 pm

      I saw a really cute small one back in the day like you’re describing and that’s exactly why I didn’t wind up buying it. Because I was like what on earth is going to fit into this tiny cube? Mind you they’re damn cute. The little wooden ones.

      • Reply
        Danielle from Storypiece
        November 12, 2013 at 9:13 pm

        You were very wise! I didn’t even end up putting it out last year. Just thinking about it makes me annoyed. On the bright side, I just shared a link to your advent brilliance over at Thrifty Decor Chick. 🙂

  • Reply
    Vanessa@Decor Happy
    November 11, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    That is super adorable and something even I could tackle. From a distance it doesn’t even look like TP rolls. Awesome! (PS I always have great plans to make a DIY advent calendar each year and nothing happens either. Maybe I will have better luck this year.)

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 12, 2013 at 8:29 pm

      I always forget to do so much stuff and the biggest issue is always time. You have all these ideas and then it’s January and the lull hits and you go Oh man I was supposed to make this and that. And it never happens.

  • Reply
    thehomeslice
    November 11, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Love this! I can’t wait to start some Christmas projects!!

  • Reply
    nadya5Nadya
    November 12, 2013 at 12:05 am

    My two kids take 1 gift a day. Whose turn is it? Last year Rita was the first to open (that means she takes odd numbers) and Katya was the second (she takes even numbers). I prepare the equal set of gifts and mix them along the month, but put every kid’s set into her own part of calendar pockets (even or odd). So they never know what gift cames next.

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 12, 2013 at 8:31 pm

      Really great idea!! 🙂

  • Reply
    Lauren @ The Thinking Closet
    November 12, 2013 at 12:39 am

    I just LOVE that you did this out of TP rolls. And I also love that it has a “Northstory” look to it. Seriously, you are developing your brand, woman. I can pick out your projects on craftgawker without even seeing your name. And of course, this got pinned in two seconds flat. You are rocking me world with these little stapled wonders.

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 12, 2013 at 8:36 pm

      Ok I will confess that I’ve had quite a few bloggers tell me this lately. And I thought it was my imagination but I think this needs to be written about and made into a post in the New Year. Because I can tell a project from yourself and several other bloggers I read every week even without any text on the pics. And it’s something I don’t really hear about. We hear about logos, social media, etc etc…but to create an image (is that even the right term b/c I don’t know if it’s brand..is it brand? I guess I think of brand as a company which I am not yet used to the idea of for my blog. But you’re right. Brand is a good word. Cool! Thanks my friend! 🙂

      • Reply
        Lauren @ The Thinking Closet
        November 12, 2013 at 8:43 pm

        Yes! Add that post to your ever-growing TO WRITE list. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it…and learn from you. And that’s awesome you feel like my projects have a “look” to them – – I feel like they’re a bit all over the place, and “branding” is something I’m working on myself (as well as reconciling myself with that word “branding”). But this is definitely a topic that needs more dialogue!

  • Reply
    onelmonl
    November 12, 2013 at 6:10 am

    I love this TP upcycled advent calendar! Great idea!

  • Reply
    Thalita @ The Learner Observer
    November 12, 2013 at 6:51 am

    Yeah, what Lauren said… You can tell almost instantly tell a Northstory craft when you lay eyes on it, and that is a HUGE accomplishment on your part! You know I have big love for this TP project.

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 12, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      Sometimes I am convinced that northstory image brings with it a serious addiction to kraft paper. I mean really now…

  • Reply
    Stacey
    November 12, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I love how you ‘roll’! Great use of the TP left overs. There are so many uses for those little innards … but this may be the best use yet. CHOCOLATE INSIDE!!!

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 12, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      I just laughed Stacey! I swear I can hear you saying that!

  • Reply
    Sara Russell
    November 12, 2013 at 1:05 pm

    Adorable!

    xo Sara

  • Reply
    Jennifer @ Brave New Home
    November 12, 2013 at 3:46 pm

    Wow, this turned out awesome! I’m sticking to the cheap chocolate advent calendars for now. Maybe when the little one is a bit older we’re graduate to something like this. Lovely job, Alex!

  • Reply
    Dani @ lifeovereasy
    November 12, 2013 at 7:56 pm

    Anyone can craft with Michael’s supplies, but it takes genuine talent to make TP rolls look that good 😉

  • Reply
    Time With Thea
    November 13, 2013 at 12:13 am

    Absolutely brilliant! I pinned it several times on different boards on PInterest. This so needs to be shared. I love how you used the leftover Halloween candy. ~Thea

  • Reply
    Shauna Oberg
    November 13, 2013 at 9:27 am

    So creative! Your kids are going to love it! I still do an advent calendar for my son even though he’s 18. Can’t stop being mom!

  • Reply
    Martina
    November 13, 2013 at 10:15 am

    Hands down best (realistic&affordable) DIY advent calendar I’ve seen to date. No silk screening or bags to sew, just good old glue paper and ribbon. Excellent.

  • Reply
    thousandislandsmama
    November 13, 2013 at 11:03 am

    Alex your advent calendar is so pretty toilet paper rolls and all! I made a TP roll advent calendar a few years ago and it was great…but made by myself and the kids so not as pretty as yours…also I had not saved my TP rolls in advance and so I had some sorry looking bathroom hygene products for a while (click here if you want to see a pic of what I mean: http://thousandislandsmama.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/countdown-to-solstice/ ). Anywho, where did you pick up your ribbon? I love the Scandinavian look it gives. Thanks, Kelli

  • Reply
    Amy ~ LoveOnSunday
    November 13, 2013 at 11:09 am

    You’re amazing!!! I love how you used halloween chocolates as well. So much better than eating a sliver of chocolate. Best toilet paper project I’ve seen 🙂

  • Reply
    ohlidia
    November 13, 2013 at 11:28 am

    Oh, this is just genius!

  • Reply
    now at home mom
    November 13, 2013 at 1:21 pm

    loving this very much Alex! 🙂 great idea to use the leftover toilet paper rolls for this project! & yep, I’m guilty of buying those $1 ones from the store too. I want to start preparing one for my nephew this year, last year I made one for Nate and can’t wait to use it this year again! 🙂
    pinning & tweet now 🙂

  • Reply
    Michelle
    November 14, 2013 at 10:50 am

    Love this! What a creative idea!

  • Reply
    Det nærmer seg 1. desember og advent | Hverdagsliv det gode liv
    November 14, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    […] Ja, jeg vet, ikke alle klarer tanken på å bruke dorullhylser som pynt, men det ble jo litt fint, ikke sant :o) Se framgangsmåten hos Northstory  “her“. […]

  • Reply
    Gale
    November 15, 2013 at 11:14 am

    Hi! I’m collecting advent ideas for a post on my blog. I’d like to feature this. Would it be ok if I used a picture from this post? (e-mail me as i might not catch replies here, thanks).

    • Reply
      Alex
      November 21, 2013 at 9:44 am

      You are more than welcome to use a photo and share it on your blog! 🙂

  • Reply
    Dannyelle @ www.lifeisaparty.ca
    November 17, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    This is really sweet, love the re-use, and the brown and red, and the simplicity of attaching the boxes to foam board, great ideas.

  • Reply
    15 DIY Advent Calendars - The Sewing Rabbit
    November 21, 2013 at 6:01 am

    […] via: Northstory […]

  • Reply
    diy calendarios adviento
    November 21, 2013 at 6:00 pm

    […] Diy calendario de adviento con rollos de papel. Este tutorial no solo es sencillo, si no que además sirve para reciclar. Solo tienes que reunir 24 cartoncillos de papel higiénico (entre familiares y amigos seguro que en un par de días lo has conseguido ), cintas con motivos navideños, una grapadora y papel con los 24 números impresos. Y si además lo complementas con alguna troqueladora de copos de nieve y le añades alguna campanita o unos pompones, mejor que mejor. Podéis ver el tutorial completo aquí. […]

  • Reply
    25 Homemade advent calendar crafts | Growing Spaces
    November 22, 2013 at 2:25 am

    […] From North Story […]

  • Reply
    Homemade Advent Calendar Ideas - Simply Frugal
    November 22, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    […] another advent calendar made out of toilet paper rolls from Northstory.ca!  Who knew toilet paper rolls could look so […]

  • Reply
    20 Creative DIY Advent Calendars - Henry Happened
    November 25, 2013 at 10:21 am

    […] Toilet Paper Roll: An excellent use of those toilet paper rolls you’ve been hoarding saving.  (by […]

  • Reply
    Personalized Advent Calendar | Sugar Plum Sisters
    November 26, 2013 at 10:31 am

    […] Advent Calendar from Northstory.  Photo also from […]

  • Reply
    Lena
    November 26, 2013 at 7:41 pm

    Oh my this is exactly what I need. Have been collecting toilet rolls all year now I can reuse them for my first advent calendar thank you so much!

  • Reply
    Awesome Home-Made Advent Calendars Will Fill You With Christmas Spirit
    November 27, 2013 at 7:33 am

    […] I first saw this advent calendar, I never would have guessed that they are toilet paper rolls! With the ribbon they look lovely and […]

  • Reply
    7 pomysłów na własnoręcznie wykonane kalandarze adwentowe
    November 27, 2013 at 2:51 pm

    […] 2. z… rolek papieru toaletowego […]

  • Reply
    kezdődik a visszaszámlálás! | Gombszem
    November 29, 2013 at 1:56 am

    […] csomagoljuk be őket, muhaha : ). Aztán lássunk ismét egy pöpec wc papír gurigás ötletet (innen), amelyhez csak wc papír gurigák, szalagok és pár apró dísz kell, az eredmény mégis nagyon […]

  • Reply
    Celebrating Advent | Mae Mae
    November 30, 2013 at 11:43 pm

    […] Recycle toilet paper rolls […]

  • Reply
    DIY: CALENDARIOS DE ADVIENTO | Popelin Happy Weddings
    July 6, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    […] / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 […]

  • Reply
    20 DIY Advent Calendars | About Family Crafts
    August 25, 2014 at 11:56 am

    […] – Toilet Paper Roll Advent Calendar from North […]

  • Reply
    Jonesing on DIY Advent Calendars - Crafts and Creative Living
    November 8, 2014 at 5:52 am

    […] Upcycled Advent Calendar from Northstory: Another one using toilet paper tubes (start collecting now!) Alex made pillow style boxes from the tubes with candy (left over from Halloween!) in each. So so clever. […]

  • Reply
    Five ingenious uses for empty toilet paper rolls | Creative Hacks
    November 9, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    […] to be the perfect size and shape for hiding festive treats like chocolates, sweets and small gifts. Here’s a neat tutorial courtesy of creative blog […]

  • Reply
    Advent Calendars | 25 Creative, DIY Ideas - BonBon Break
    November 14, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    […] Upcycled DIY Toilet Paper Roll Calendar – Northstory […]

  • I love your comments!