How to Make a Takeout Box Advent Calendar

How to Make a Takeout Box Advent Calendar

For two years now, I’ve wanted to make a muffin tin Advent calendar. I saw one on Etsy and just KNEW I could make one just as cute. After all, I make pretty good scrapbook pages…and it’s a little pricey to buy one.

I was especially confident that, now that I’m staying home, I would get it done. Unfortunately, the procrastinating perfectionist in me has prevented this from happening.

[Side note: Only now, as I’m writing this, do I see that you can buy a kit for a muffin tin Advent calendar. If I’d known, I would have bought one, because I think that’s a great compromise between completely handmade and just getting it done. So, maybe next year!]

Since I didn’t get around to creating one – despite it being on my to-do list for the past month – I realized I needed to come up with an alternative.

Thankfully, the Internet has about a million amazing ideas!

In the end, I decided to go with a calendar using mini takeout boxes. Here’s what I did:

Making a Takeout Box Advent Calendar

1. Buy boxes: I waited entirely too late to begin this process, so while you can find mini takeout boxes at Hobby Lobby, JoAnn or Michael’s, I had to resort to Amazon (because the craft stores didn’t have the right size and color, and I didn’t have time to wait for them to get some in). Thankfully, I found a vendor who sells white mini boxes in lots of 25 for a great price (and shipped super fast, which really worked for me and my procrastination).

2. Buy or collect Christmas scrapbook paper: I could have just used what I have, since I admittedly have a paper problem, but what fun is that? Instead, I bought a holiday pack at half price at Hobby Lobby!

3. Buy or collect other supplies: You’ll need scissors and/or paper cutter, a pencil, cardstock in colors that complement your paper, white or cream cardstock, adhesive (I used a glue stick and a tape runner), circle punch or stencil, number stamps or stickers, and ink. You don’t need the ink if you’re using number stickers, though.

4. Make 25 decorative squares: Trace the front side of the box onto a piece of paper; then use that as a template for the other 24 squares. Punch or cut circle in complementary color cardstock. Cut smaller circle in white (or cream) to larger circle. Stamp numbers 1 through 25 (or use stickers) on the circles.

5. Assemble: I found it was easiest to adhere the square to the box and the circles to each other. Next, stamp or stick the numbers on the circles. Then, after they’re dry, stick the numbered circles to the boxes.

6. Hang ’em up! I originally planned to hang my boxes on a ribbon with mini clothespins. However, when it came time to put it up, I realized that a) I didn’t have enough clothespins and b) I didn’t have anywhere to attach the ribbon. So, I placed {fake} pine garland over my blinds and hooked the boxes on the branches. (I did find a use for the clothespins, though, clipping the garland in place, because the boxes pulled it down otherwise.)

7. Come up with 25 Advent treats: I think this is the hardest part! So far, the boxes have held Hershey’s kisses, a new ornament and a suggestion to watch a {new} Christmas movie. I made a list of ideas, but I have a feeling that I’ll be scrambling to get something into the box more than once!

Edited to add: What we’re doing this year is putting the daily activity from Truth in the Tinsel in the box. A Christmas devotion and easy ornament craft (or, in our case, printable ornaments to color) is the perfect Advent treat!!

Annalyn LOVES opening a box every day. And because I teased her about not peeking in the boxes when she was “helping” me make the calendar, she giggles so hard that she shakes when she reminds me not to peek! It really is adorable.

Takeout Box Advent Calendar

Even more adorable than my tiny takeout boxes of holiday cheer. And that’s saying a lot, because I’m kind of in love with this little project!

Do you use an Advent calendar in your family?

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15 Comments How to Make a Takeout Box Advent Calendar

  1. Sarah December 8, 2010 at 9:19 am

    Your advent boxes look great! I really like them. :-)

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect December 9, 2010 at 2:02 pm

      Thank you! I was definitely inspired by yours, so thanks for sharing it!!

  2. Amanda D December 8, 2010 at 9:59 am

    So cute! My MIL sends the type where you open a door every day and there is a little piece of chocolate. We also have the chalkboard that you count down with. Recently, I got the advent calendar we used as a kid from my mom. It’s felt and you pin a new ornament on the tree each day, but I didn’t get around to cleaning/fixing it up in time to use it this year. Darn that procrastination. Next year!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect December 9, 2010 at 2:02 pm

      Procrastination. It gets me every time! ;) (However, I’m all for anything that gives me a piece of chocolate every day!!)

  3. Allison @ Alli 'n Son December 8, 2010 at 2:58 pm

    This is so cute! Next year I think I’ll get my act together and have an advent calendar. I think I’m a little too late for this year.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect December 9, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      I actually got it up on the 2nd, and most the boxes are empty still. I’m pretty sure I’ll be playing Advent Calendar Catch-Up all month long!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect December 9, 2010 at 2:01 pm

      Thanks, Shelly! It really wasn’t that hard, but darned if I don’t feel super proud of my crafty self! :)

  4. Jamie November 28, 2011 at 8:04 am

    What a cute idea. I keep procrastinating on my advent calendar. Maybe I’ll actually do it this week. I love your blog. I’m your newest follower. (actually I thought I was already following you but I couldn’t find you in my blog list. But now I am definitely following you)
    Would love to see you DIY Home Sweet home.

    P.S. I have a linky every Monday. Would love for you to stop by and link up.

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  7. Elizabeth September 27, 2012 at 8:10 am

    We did this for our first son and loved it. is where we got the boxes and the rest came from Michael’s (slowly bought with coupons :) Last year our first was only 1 so they were filled with matchbox cars but this year I want to fillthem with experiences like this:

    I must admit though, yours looks far neater than mine did. I like the way you did your numbers best. Where did you stamps for the numbers come from?

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect September 27, 2012 at 4:36 pm

      I got the foam stamps from the clearance bin at Archiver’s a few years ago. I’m not sure that’s much help!

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