Modern twist on the classic advent calendar

Modern brass advent calendar

An advent calendar is a way to countdown the days leading up to Christmas, and is a special tradition for many during the month of December. There are so many different kinds of advent calendars…paper ones, ones that include a chocolate treat, ones that hold little surprises for each day, or ones that are aimed at families. And all of these are great, but they don’t fit my current lifestyle. For example…I don’t need to eat chocolate everyday, nor do I need to buy myself little surprises for each day. Because that isn’t much of a surprise. :) Instead I created a calendar that worked with this single gals world! It includes daily activities that I like to do during the month of December. Activities like “send a friend a holiday greeting” or “write our your new years resolution.” Most importantly I know these will be easy to complete each day, while getting me in the Christmas spirit!

Craft Confessional: I had this idea for over a year and a half. It was PERFECT in my head, and I thought it would be SO easy. In the end, I admit it was a bit of a struggle. It wasn’t that the steps were difficult, it just ended up being a bit of a volatile craft. If you just moved it so…the whole thing fell apart. That’s no way to make a craft, so I went in search for some ways to make it more stable. I tried a bunch of different things, and searched home improvement stores for the components. I was roaming the aisles at Home Depot at 8:30PM on a Thursday night looking like a fish out of water. I think I got four different can-I-help-you’s. How do you explain to the Home Depot guy “well I’m making this craft. It’s an advent calendar. I need something to hold the rungs in place.” I can see his face now. I finally came up with a decent solution at 12:00AM the night of December 1st which makes this not very timely. Oops!




Make the cards:

To complete the advent activity cards you can do one of two options. If you’re like me, print and trim out the advent activity cards PDF. If you want to customize them yourself, you can purchase white business cards, and using the black felt-tip pen, write your own activities! Note: I included 40 different cards to choose from. Go through and pick out ones that work for you!


Once the activity cards are done, take your mini envelopes and flip them over (so the flap is facing away from you).

Now number 25 envelopes with consecutive numbers along the top long edge of each envelope. Make sure the number is within 1/2″ from the top, and centered. Practice on one using a brass index clip as a guide.


Now here comes the fun part…place all your advent activity cards face down on the table. Mix them up! Now insert one card into an envelope.


Attach one brass index clip to each envelope so the number is within the square opening.


Cut the tubes:

Measure and cut your brass tubing. Each piece should each be 21″ long. Use the mini cutter to secure your tubing. Slowly tighten and turn the tubing a couple times. You’ll feel the cutter become more loose, which is when you turn the knob and tighten it a bit more. Then repeat the steps again. You’ll do this a few times and you’ll feel the tube break at some point. It’s not difficult, it just takes 1-2 minutes per tube. (watch this video)

You can purchase brass tubing and mini tube cutter at your local hardware store. I always get mine at the Ace Hardware by my house. Plus I like to roam the aisles looking at all the materials…you never know what could inspire you! :)


Cut and assemble ball chains:

Measure and cut out the following pieces of brass ball chain using your wire cutters. If you want to get REALLY specific, I counted the little balls to make sure they were the same lengths (22 balls).

  • 8 pieces – 2 3/4″ long (these will attach the rungs together)
  • 1 piece – 21″ long (this will be the hanger)

Attach a fan connector to each end of the 2 3/4″ ball chain pieces. As well as the end of the 21″ piece.




  1. Take long ball chain, and slide to the right edge of Rung #1.
  2. Take a short ball chain, and slide to the right edge of Rung #1.
  3. Take pliers and make a slight dent in tubing 3/4″ from the right end. This will create a little road-block so the chains don’t fall off the rung.
  4. Squeeze the two ball chain hangers together and with your pliers make another dent on the inside of them.
  5. Slip on envelopes 5, 4, 3, 2, and 1.
  6. Take a short ball chain, and slide onto left of Rung #1.
  7. Take the other end of long ball chain, and slide onto left edge of Rung #1.
  8. Take pliers and make a slight dent in the tubing 3/4″ from the left end.
  9. Squeeze the two ball chain hangers together and with your pliers make another dent on the inside of them.
  10. Take Rung #2 and insert it into the short ball chain hanging from the previous rung.
  11. Repeat steps 2-9 (but with envelopes 10, 9, 8, 7, and 6.)
  12. Take Rung #3 and insert it into the short ball chain hanging from previous rung.
  13. Repeat steps 2-9 (but with envelopes 15, 14, 13, 12, and 11.)
  14. Take Rung #4 and insert it into the short ball chain hanging from previous rung.
  15. Repeat steps 2-9 (but with envelopes 20, 19, 18, 17, and 16.)
  16. Take Rung #5 and insert it into the short ball chain hanging from previous rung.
  17. Repeat steps 2-9 (but with envelopes 25, 24, 23, 22, and 21.)


Hang your advent calendar somewhere you will see it each day. After you’ve opened an envelope, flip the card over and clip it back onto the index clip so you can see all the activities you’ve done each day.

Merry Christmas!



3 responses

  1. EEK! Too cute. I love it. One has to say shove everything you see into your mouth- because that’s what I did today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.