Dollar Store Advent Calendar

Do you love the tradition of the advent calendar?   Here is a creative idea for an advent calendar using Dollar Tree pails and a large board.  What kid doesn’t love the anticipation of something special each day to countdown to Christmas?  And these pails from Dollar Tree are perfect to put a small treat, note or gift in them.





9 bags of galvanized metal pails (found at Dollar Tree in the wedding section)

Silhouette Cameo machine or Vinyl Set from Say It On the Wall

Krylon Cherry Red spray paint


MDF or Wood Board

Accent flower 

Angled Screws

Drill and drill bit


1.   Cut or have a board cut to 18” x 24”.   I would use a 3/4” MDF or a pine board.   Measure and predrill all of your holes for the hooks.   That is the hardest part of the project.  Space them evenly apart.   Then prime and paint your board.  Note on picture below: I didn’t drill first, big mistake.

diy advent calendar

2.   Using a Silhouette Cameo machine cut out the numbers 1-25 onto red vinyl.  The vinyl set for this project is also available on Say It On the Wall if you do not have a digital cutting machine. Stick the vinyl in place on the tin pails.

wooden advent calendar

dollar store advent calendar

3.   After your board is dry screw all 25 of the angled hooks into place and then put the pails on them.

inexpensive advent calendar

4. In order to mark the day I used a couple of buttons glued together with a magnet on the back.   Since the small pails are galvanized the magnet sticks to the pail and you can move it each day.

how to make an advent calendar

small bucket advent calendar

5. Then I cut out “Merry Christmas” in the Pharmacy font from in white vinyl with my Silhouette Cameo machine and adhered it to the top using transfer tape.

advent calendar activities

6.   Add a flower or some sort of embellishment to the left.  I used a fabric flower from The Pleated Poppy (no longer available).

advent calendar ideas

christmas advent calendar

do-it-yourself advent calendar

You can add treats or write special activities to do as a family on small strips of paper and place them in the pail.

galvanized pail advent calendar

merry christmas advent calendar

 Originally posted in December 2010 (excuse the sub-par photos :-))

Check out this Advent Calendar Pillow for another creative way to count down.



The Anti-Treat Advent Calendar with lots of ideas for Family Activities

magnetic advent calendar