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DIY »Wooden Tree Christmas Calendar with hand-sewn bags«

Since many of us will have a little more time than usual to craft, make and DIY in November 2020, we have decided to do another one of our advent calendar specials.

Click here to get to the first instalment of the series: Christmas crackers with vintage fashion sketches

Our second advent calendar in sisterMAG59 is inspired by my childhood. Our granddad was a carpenter and I spent many happy hours of my childhood in his workshop – he always gave me a used piece of „soft wood“ that I was then allowed to attack with nails upon nails. Of course, many of our Christmas presents were built or turned by our grandpa. And one of these, gifted to my older sister Toni and admired by myself, was a wooden advent calendar in the shape of a tree. It was three-dimensional and made of two interlocking Christmas trees: To this day, my sister decorates the tree with baubles and fairy lights for her house every advent.

And soon after, my grandpa made another Christmas tree advent calendar for me. A wide, wood-coloured tree for my childhood bedroom, for which my mum had made small pouches in boot-shape from red and green quilted fabric – there were few items I cherished as much as this advent calendar.

I guess that also explains my own dedication to this tradition. When I was younger, I started making advent calendars for the whole family in October. When I spent a year abroad in Canada, I tried to distract myself from the heartache of missing home by making 5 (!) elaborate advent calendars for everyone in my host family. And the funniest one I have ever made (and also a bit of a fail) was the calendar I made for the man who is now my husband: already far into the sisterMAG-years, my good friend (and sisterMAG contributor) Alice and my sister helped make a geometric advent calendar for my then-boyfriend. After a long evening, we were too tired to continue past making day 17 – a mistake I have been accused of to this day ;)

In this crazy year of 2020, when we are all in need of a special dose of joy and advent magic, we have decided to bring back the sisterMAG advent calendar special. Each week, you’re getting a new design. And this week’s wooden version is – as you may have guessed – directly inspired by my own childhood. The colours are a little more modern and the fabric boots have been replaced by snowball-sized pouches on golden nails. We hope the advent calendar guide 2020 brings you all lots of joy and fun in making our patterns.

If you do decide to make a calendar, we’d love to see a picture on social media at @sister_mag on Instagram or on Facebook.

Yours, Thea

Download (PDF, 2 MB)

DIY Wooden Advent Calendar


  • Piece of wood, e.g. beech or poplar from the hardware store, about 60x120cm
  • Matte paint, e.g. a sample can from Farrow & Ball
  • Mount for the wall, e.g. a collapsible loop with pen from SUKI via Hellweg –
  • Bullen nail in gold
  • Fabric scraps – with a fabric width of 1,40m you’ll need about 70cm length for 24 small pouches
  • Cord (around 10m for the entire calendar)

Depending on the numbers:

  • Thick white paper to print the numbers on
  • Embroidery thread and needle for embroidered numbers
  • Textile paint & number stencil (via amazon) for painted numbers (e.g.

Tutorial for the wooden tree: 

  1. Print the tree pattern and glue the A4 pages together
  2. Copy the pattern onto your wooden board and cut out with a jigsaw or circular saw. File down the edges with rough and fine sandpaper
  3. Paint the tree twice with the matte wall colour, letting it dry well in between
  4. Attach the mount / collapsible loop. Then evenly distribute the bullen nails on the tree and nail them down

Tutorial for the pouches

  1. Cut 48 of the single patterns and neaten the edges
  2. Along the shown lines, fold over the edge for where the cord will go through and iron – don’t sew them yet
  3. Put two parts together right on right and sew them together. Leave an opening on one side for the cord.
  4. Turn the pouch and iron, turn the folded edge inside and sew it. Put the cord through and knot it.
  5. You can choose between printing the numbers (as included in this pattern). We cut them out, refined them with a corner punch and made a hole for attaching them. You could also embroider the pouches or paint the numbers using textile paint and a stencil so the pouches can be washed and will bring you joy for a long time!