As winter closes in, we find ourselves longing for a holiday project to work on during the long, chilly nights. Maker Team member Heather of @heathdon has created an heirloom project that is the perfect fit! This beautiful advent calendar can be stitched little by little in the days and nights of November or completed in a marathon crafting weekend. However you choose to make it, let's get started because the countdown to Christmas is almost here!
Make a Santa’s Workshop advent calendar with charming felt toys! Help Santa get ready for his biggest night of the year by moving a toy a day into his workshop.
Skill Level: Beginner / Intermediate
Time: 20+ hours
One and a half yards of Ecru Wool Blend Felt
One 9 x 12" sheet of Wool Blend Felt in Magenta, Black, Brown, Julep, Marine, Cinnamon, Kelly, Oats, White, and Dandelion
Two 9 x 12" sheets of Carmine Wool Blend Felt
One 9 x 12" sheet of Blush Glitter Felt
One 9 x 12" sheet of Cherry Red Polka Dot Felt
Felt-fetti Numbers (optional)
Wooden Dowel, 22"
Metallic Elastic Cord
Embroidery Floss - DMC 938 and E3821
Embroidery Thread - Ecru, Red and Black
Needle for Felt
Needle for Beads and Sequins
Needle for Gold Embroidery Floss
Gold Glass Pearl Beads
Seed Beads in Assorted Colors
Bugle Beads in Assorted Colors
Cupped 5mm Sequins in Assorted Colors
Novelty Sequins, such as Flowers, Stars and Bursts
Two Red Felt Pom Poms, Extra Small
Scallop Shears (optional)
Glitter Glue (optional)
Freezer Paper (optional)
Advent Calendar Template (click to download)
1. Print the Advent Calendar Template above onto freezer paper and iron onto corresponding felt. If you’re using regular printer paper, print the templates and pin to felt.
2. Cut the following pieces from Ecru felt:
- One 18 x 36" rectangle
- Two 2 ½ x 18" rectangles
- One 3 x 18" rectangle
3. Starting with the largest rectangle, form a pocket for the wooden dowel by folding over 1 ½” of the felt at the top. Sew a 1” channel using ecru thread. Next, sew the 3” tall strip to the bottom back of the calendar with a ¼” seam allowance. Flip the strip to the right side to form a hem. Pin in place and sew another ¼” seam allowance on the front side of the strip.
4. Using red thread, sew the bottoms of the next two strips in place as shown with a ¼” seam allowance. Then begin forming the pockets by sewing up the middle of the three strips.
5. Every 2 ¼”, sew through all three strips until you have created pockets all the way across.
6. Cut the calendar numbers (last page of Advent Calendar Template) from the Carmine felt. Alternatively, you can use Benzie's Felt-fetti Die Cut Numbers to save time.
7. Glue the countdown numbers on the pockets as shown.
8. Cut out sleigh and two trim pieces. Cut along the bottom of the wider piece of trim with scallop shears or hand-cut scallops.
9. Use tacky glue to baste the slimmer piece of trim in place. Try not to put glue down the center because you will be sewing through it. Press in place and set aside.
10. Next, sew sequins and seed beads to the wider, top piece of trim in the pattern shown. Set aside. Repeat the sequin pattern on the trim you glued to the sleigh. After stitching on the beads and sequins, glue larger trim piece to the sleigh. Place the trim, then fold back one half at a time to glue down.
11. Add metallic elastic cord to the neck of the toy sack. Fold the cording around the back and whip stitch in place.
12. Layer the toy sack and sleigh as shown, with the bottom of the sleigh 3” from the top row of pockets. Set sleigh aside and flip the toy sack down. Draw a line of glue around the sack. (Leave the top open for toys!) Carefully flip the toy sack back in place.
13. Draw a line of glue around the body of the sleigh, leaving the top open. The runner should be completely glued down. Flip the sleigh over and press in place.
14. Cut the red polka dot felt into three 8 ½ x 1 ½” pieces. Trim the bottom of each shelf with scallop shears, if desired. Lay them out equidistant above the sleigh and glue in place.
15. Cut the remaining pattern pieces from felt. Arrange the felt pieces in little stacks, following the photos below as a guide. Note that a few pieces aren’t included in the template because they’ll just be cut from felt scraps.
16. Poinsettia: Fold three petals in half and sew them together with a beading needle through the fold. Pull tight and knot thread. Sew four sequins with seed beads as shown. Set aside. Next, thread the Chenille 20 needle with six strands of DMC E3821 (metallic gold) floss and poke it through the fourth leaf as shown. Cut the floss so you’ll have a 4” piece through the leaf and the remainder still in the needle for the next backing piece. Lay a thick round marker on the leaf and floss, then join the ends to tie a knot. Pull taught. Slide marker out, and trim floss ends. Pull the loop through the back. Glue the back leaf and the completed flower together.
17. Present (Magenta): Poke the gold embroidery floss through the back as with the poinsettia leaf to form the loop. Sew a larger novelty sequin, 5mm sequin, and seed bead to the front half of the julep bow. Cut a scrap of julep felt to form the ribbon, ¼ x 2” long. Glue it to the front of the present, and fold the bottom under, to be sandwiched inside the present halves. Assemble parts with glue in this order: back piece, plain bow, front piece, sequined bow.
18. Present (Julep): Same as the Magenta Present, with the instruction colors reversed.
19. Mushroom: Sew seed beads onto red cap. Use scallop shears to cut underside gills on the 1 x ½” piece of felt. Use the loop technique through the white back piece. Using glue, assemble mushroom as shown.
20. Stockings (Pink and Green): Sew sequins and seed beads as shown in complimentary colors. Add loop to the back piece of the stocking, which is longer because the top folds down to form the cuff. Glue front to back. Fold cuff down and glue in place.
21. Rocket: Use a running stitch to make the detail on the rocket. Next, use a hole punch to make three windows from a scrap of the blush glitter felt. Glue on as shown. Add loop to back piece. Glue front to back.
22. Sled: Cut a 9 x ¼” piece of felt from scrap. Sew the scrap around the front layer as shown with a beading needle, and sew bugle beads for handles. Add loop to back piece, making it two inches longer because it’s a sled rope! Glue front to back.
23. Skis: Use a beading needle and sew bugle beads as shown for bindings. Add loop to back piece. Glue skis to back.
24. Surfboard: Add loop to back piece. Cut a 3 x ¼” strip of red felt. Glue left piece, red strip and wave piece down. Once this has dried, trim the red strip if needed. Optional - Dot the board with glitter glue and use your finger to wipe it across the board for a little shimmer.
25. Book: Stack and glue together three felt pieces to form pages. The green piece of felt will wrap around this stack. Sew the loop through the back of the book jacket. Sew a sequin and bead on the cover. Glue book jacket in place. Press competed book under something heavy to dry as a cohesive unit.
26. Truck: Add loop to black piece. Sew sequin tires as shown. (I used large and small sequins and seed bead for each wheel.) Sew white seed bead for headlight. Glue blue box to back. Cut a small square of Julep felt for the window. Glue in place.
27. Star: Add loop to back piece. Sew large decorative star sequin and seed bead to the front. Glue front to back.
28. Taxi: Add loop to back piece. Carefully cut out the windows from the yellow piece. Use black thread to sew “TAXI” on the door. Sew white seed bead for headlight and orange seed bead for tail light. Add glue to the back of yellow piece and press in place. Allow glue to set. Sew sequin tires as shown. I used a small black sequin and seed bead for each wheel.
29. Gingerbread Cookie: Sew on seed bead eyes and mouth. Add decorative sequin/bead for necktie. Sew two beads for buttons. Add loop to back piece. Glue front to back.
30. Baseball Glove: Sew chevron pattern on baseball with regular red thread. Use two strands of brown embroidery floss to add glove detail. Add loop to back piece. Glue front to back. Glue baseball in place.
31. Train: Carefully cut out the window from the black piece. Sew sequin wheels as shown. I used one large gold sequin, three small gold sequins, and a seed bead for each. Add loop to back piece. Add glue to the back of black piece and press front on back piece.
32. Bell: Sew sequins as shown. I used four small green sequins, two red (one on the back piece of bell for the clapper), and a seed bead for each. Add loop to back piece. Glue front to back.
33. Snowman: Sew beads on head. I used navy seed beads for eyes and an orange pony bead for a nose. Cut the scarf, leaving the top connected. Snip fringe at bottom. Glue scarf to front of body. Glue head on to make front of snowman, using back as a guide for placement, but don’t glue front to back yet. Let glue set, then sew a sequin and bead on scarf as shown. Add loop to back piece. Glue front to back.
34. Angel: Make a V-shape cut in the hair for bangs, large enough for the head. Set aside. Sew beads on face. I used black seed beads for eyes and a red bead for the mouth. Add loop to the center back of wings piece. Tuck angel forehead under bangs and glue in place. Sandwich hair, dress, and face together with scant amounts of glue. Glue angel to wings.
35. Snowflake: Fold white felt like when making a paper snowflake and cut out eight decorative holes. Next, sew white or silver sequins and seed beads in place as shown. Add loop to back piece. Glue snowflake from the back. Press onto blue back piece.
36. Candy Cane: Sew 16 red sequins and seed beads in place as shown. Add loop near top of back piece. Glue front to back.
37. Skate: Add loop near top of back piece. Glue front to back. Glue black piece down. Once glue has set, use a silver marker to draw skate blade. Next, use red thread to sew on laces using a whip stitch. Sew pom poms in place.
38. Tree: Sew nine sequins of different colors with seed beads to the front tree. Sew a large star sequin, cup sequin, and seed bead to the top. Add loop to back piece. Glue front to back.
39. Arrange calendar toys as shown or to your preference. Stitch the pearl beads in place with thread that matches the felt in that area. Sew through the pearl twice and knot the thread on the front of the calendar so the knots are hidden under the pearl.
40. Feed the dowel through the channel at the top. Cut two feet of metallic ribbon or similar for hanging. Tie the ribbon in two knots, one inch from each end of the dowel.
Let the countdown to Christmas begin! If you share photos of your advent calendar on social media, please tag @heathdon and @benziedesign so we can see!
Thanks to Heather for designing and writing this tutorial! You can follow her on Instagram @heathdon or visit her website. Stay tuned for more tutorials from the Benzie Design Maker Team!