Upcycling: a colourful Advent calendar made from jars

An Advent calendar made from jars in pastel colours is resting on a side-table beside a Christmas tree.
With a star on the top, this homemade Advent calendar made from mason jars looks like a small Christmas tree.

  • Difficulty
    easy
  • Cost
    < 42 £
  • Duration
    1-3 h

Introduction

Every year, as the wonderful Christmas season approaches, so too does the need for Advent calendars for your loved ones. Homemade ones are always the best option! It’s even better when you can make use of materials from your own home. An upcycled Advent calendar is not just a real head-turner, but also a great way to turn old into new. In this tutorial, we will show you how to easily make your very own DIY Advent calendar.

Have you heard about our 12-volt system yet? It offers a very wide variety of devices for many uses. The thing that makes the project below so special is that you can use the same rechargeable battery for every part of this project. Simply swap out the battery pack, insert it into a different device that is part of the 12-volt system and continue to the next step.

It should go without saying that your safety is paramount throughout every step of the project, so make sure you take the necessary precautions to protect yourself. You can find an overview of the correct protective clothing you need when using each type of tool here:

You need
Utilities
  • paint roller
  • pencil
  • pocket rule
  • g-clamps
  • piece of string/cord
  • nail
  • protractor
Materials
  • 2x MDF 6 mm wooden boards, 300 x 300 mm
  • Squared timber (45 x 45 mm)
  • 4x screws (50 mm)
  • 4x screws (40 mm)
  • 24 mason jars
  • Wood paint (white)
  • Colourful acrylic paint
  • Stickers for 24 doors
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Let's go - step by step

Step 1 9

Draw out the star shapes

Four lines are being drawn on an MDF wooden board using a pencil and a wooden slat.
A nail is being hammered into the middle of an MDF wooden board that is marked with lines.
A circle is being drawn on an MDF wooden board using a nail on a piece of string and a pencil.
Four lines and two circles are being drawn with a pencil on an MDF wooden board.
Using a piece of wood as a ruler, a star is being drawn with a pencil through lines and circles on an MDF wooden board.
Ein Stern lässt sich zwischen Bleistiftlinien und Kreisen auf der MDF-Platte erkennen.

You need: pencil, pocket rule, piece of string/cord, nail, 2x MDF 6 mm wooden boards, 300 x 300 mm, Squared timber

Now, on to the bottom panel. For a real Christmas-like atmosphere, you can also make these into star shapes: Mark the middle of the bottom panel (Figure 1). Draw two different sized large circles. If you do not have a compass at hand, you can simply make a compass using a nail, a piece of string and a pencil (Figure 2–4).

Drawing out and connecting the rest of the lines will create a star shape (Figure 5&6).

Repeat these steps so that you end up with two stars.

Step 2 9

Saw out the star shapes

A star is being sawed out of an MDF wooden board using a NanoBlade saw.
Carefully saw the star out of the MDF wooden board along the pencil lines.

You need: NanoBlade saw, nanoBLADE Wood Speed 50, g-clamps, Panel with drawing from step 1

Securely clamp the panels and cut out the star shapes.

Step 3 9

Saw and sand the squared timber

At 700 mm, a marking is being made with a pencil on a piece of squared timber.
It is being cut to size using a NanoBlade saw.
A sawn edge is being sanded smooth with a multi-sander.

You need: NanoBlade saw, nanoBLADE Wood Speed 65, Multi-sander, grit sandpaper for the multi-sander, pencil, pocket rule, protractor, g-clamps, Squared timber (45x45 mm)

For the next step, you should swap out your saw’s jigsaw blade. This will make it easier to saw the squared timber in the next step.

Measure out 700 mm (Figure 1) and saw off the corresponding piece (Figure 2). Make sure to securely clamp the squared timber.

Then, sand down the cut edges (Figure 3).

Step 4 9

Drill and countersink the holes

A drill is being used to drill a hole in the middle of a star.
A countersink cutter is being used to drill a hole in the middle of a star.

You need: EasyDrill 12-2 cordless drill, 5 piece-wooddrill-bit-set, Countersink cutter, g-clamps, Scrap wood board, Stars from step 2

Once again, take the two star shapes from step 2. Now, drill a hole exactly in the middle of the stars one after the other (Figure 1). We recommend you place a piece of scrap wood underneath, so that you don’t drill into the work surface.

For the star that will eventually rest on the bottom, you have to drill another hole from underneath (Figure 2).

Step 5 9

Coat the stars and beams

A star is being painted using a roller and white paint.
A squared timber is being painted using a roller and white paint.

You need: paint roller, White paint, Stars from step 2, Wooden beams from step 4

Now, coat both star shapes and the sawn wooden beams in your favourite colour. We’ve gone for a plain white colour.

Step 6 9

Coat the jars

A mason jar is being filled with pink paint.
A mason jar filled with paint is being rotated

You need: Mason jars, Colourful acrylic paint

Now, coat all jars that you would like to use for your Advent calendar.

Simply fill the mason jars with some acrylic paint, close the lid and move the paint around inside until you can no longer see inside the jar.

Repeat this for all 24 jars. If you like, you can use different colours.

Finally, let the paint fully dry.

Step 7 9

Mount the star on the wooden beam

The offset stars are being screwed to the bottom of the wooden beams.

You need: Cordless drill/driver, suitable bit set, g-clamps, Paint-coated stars and wooden slat from step 5, 4x screws (50 mm)

Screw the offset stars onto the bottom of the wooden beam. Use a screw and don’t forget to securely clamp the beam. Make sure that the screw head disappears into the countersunk hole.

Step 8 9

Screw the lids shut

The mason jars’ lids are being screwed into a squared timber with two screws
For each of the 24 lids, use two screws to screw the mason jars onto the squared timber.

You need: Cordless drill/driver, suitable bit set, The mason jar lids, 4x screws (50 mm)

Have all the jars dried? If so, take all the lids off and screw them to the wooden beams from all sides. If you have different sized lids, make a general outline of where you want the different jars to go. That way you can make sure that all 24 jars will fit.

Always use two screws to fix the lids in place so that they cannot turn when the jars are screwed on.

 

Step 9 9

Attaching and numbering the jars

Mason jars are being screwed into the squared timber one after the other.
The numbers of the doors are being glued onto the undersides of the jars facing outwards.

You need: Stickers for 24 doors

Now you can screw the jars onto the mounted lids.

Of course, your Advent calendar’s 24 small numbers still need to be glued to the bottom of the jars.

Don’t forget to fill the jars with little surprises before 1 December.