I got the idea for this Advent Calendar Tree when I started seeing DIY’s of wooden pallet trees all over pinterest. I used to have a smaller advent calendar that could hold small things like a Hersheys kiss. But I wanted to get our family away from all the candy that seems to come with EVERY season and find something else. I almost bought those Lego or Playmobil advent calendars until I saw the price tag! But then I came across this Playmobil nativity set and I knew what I would do! Make an advent calendar tree that could hold larger items so as the month progresses my children get to put together their own nativity set!
My boys love this tradition and the best part is it is the same Playmobil set every year! No Candy and no extra spending, bonus!
How to make an Advent Calendar Tree:
Since this is a pallet project let me encourage you to make sure your pallet is safe from all chemicals. My pallet came from my husbands work where it had only transported food prior to my use. It also had the letters HT stamped on it which means it was Heat Treated and no chemicals were used. A+! If you want to read more about what the stamps on pallets mean I suggest checking out this page or this page for an in-depth explanation about all types pallets.
- Miter Saw and or Jig Saw.
- Heavy duty stapler or office stapler.
- Nail Gun, Brand Nailer or Hammer and Nails.
- Kreg Jig
- Sander of some kind, or sand paper and those amazing muscles you have!
- One 2×2
- One 2×4
- Pallet wood
- Wood Glue
- Water-Based Stain
- Water-Based Polyurethane in a spray can
- 24 Linen Bags, I bought mine in the wedding section at Michaels Craft Store.
- One long screw
Let’s start building!
There really isn’t too much to this. Adjust your Miter saw slightly for the angle cut, starting with the longest one first start cutting. You can use the rejects of your longer cuts for the smaller top pieces.
Then decide the height you want your tree to be, cut the Two by Two accordingly, remember to leave space at the top to attach a star and space at the bottom for the trunk.
As for the base, the first time I made it I created an angled base, SO NOT NEEDED. So in a later build I just made a plus sign and attached the shorter pieces to the longer piece using a kreg jig. Unfortunately I forgot to take a picture of that part. I’m so sorry!
To see my exact dimensions check out the below image:
Things to do before putting the tree together:
Sand everything down.
Stain all the pieces.
Make sure you pre-drill a small hole in the base of the 2 by 2 to make it easier to attach the base.
Choose a star, in the below photo I used a star that I cut from scrap wood using a jig saw but a scroll saw would work even better! In later pictures I made an Ornament Tree and used a tin star ornament instead.
Use a Kreg Jig to piece the base together and then remember to pre-drill a hole through the base as well to make it easy to put together later.
Putting the Advent Calendar Tree together:
Start by placing everything along the tree trunk to space things out and make things even.
Using wood glue and a nail gun attach all the pieces to the tree trunk as well as your star.
As I mentioned earlier, I used a Kreg Jig to attach the base “plus sign” together.
Once you have attached all the tree branches and star it is time to seal things up. Use a can of polyurethane in an open area and spray the advent calendar tree with a few coats and let dry. I add the base already at this point to make spraying the tree easier but then it makes it harder to add the bags later. Do whatever is easier for you.
Attaching the Advent Bags:
The bags I used were from the wedding section of Michaels Craft Store. They are made for party favour bags. The size I ended up using was 3″ wide by 4″ high.
My personal preference was to leave some space for a nail to be added to hold one ornament where Christmas Day would fall.
I used a stencil and sharpie to add all the numbers to the bags first.
To attach the bags to the branches place scrap 2×2 and 2×4’s under the branches to add extra strength.
Lay out the bags along the branches and space them as you wish, then with a stapler attach them all to the branches! I used an office stapler but after 3 years of using this I can tell I need to reinforce the bags again, this time I will use our heavy duty garage stapler.
Finally, (if you haven’t already) it’s time to add the base with one long screw and it’s up!
Each bag is filled with one piece of our Playmobil Nativity Set, it actually has an addition to add the wisemen to the set, which we did.
As seen in the photo above my boys PLAY with this set! It is not meant to look perfect. But because it is played with I make sure baby Jesus is in the last advent bag. This way it has less time to get lost throughout the month 🙂
Ornament Holder Tree:
Of course if you don’t need an advent calendar tree you can turn it into an ornament holder but adding a few random nails! I made two ornament holders for a silent auction fundraiser and the ladies that ended up winning them told me the loved them as one lived in a condo so it would be her Christmas Tree and the other went to college so it was nice to have something small but still festive to decorate! Perfection.
So what do you think of this Advent Calendar Tree? Want to make one? or two? or three? Leave me a comment below if you have any questions or if you end up making one of your very own.
Or pin the below image to share the love!