DIY: Origami Advent Calendar

I love the idea of advent calendars, though I’m admittedly pretty meh about more sweets at this time of year, especially when it’s cheap chocolate! One year I decided to create something easy and pretty that focused on inspiring family togetherness and giving. I also was drawn towards crafting with origami since that’s something I hadn’t seen online. Laurel and I came up with this idea for an origami advent calendar and it is so beautiful and simple! Here’s the how-to (including the inspiration points for what to include inside the origami cups):


  • 24 sheets 8.5 x 11 inch paper

  • Contrast paper (optional)

  • 2 sheets red paper

  • Rotary trimmer (optional, but makes things lighting quick)

  • Glue stick

  • Mini clothespins (or you could use small binder clips)

  • ¼ inch ribbon


1. Make origami cups

Trim 24 sheets of 8.5 x 11 paper to 7-inch square pieces. We used shimmery silver and opal text weight paper. Fold the trimmed sheets into origami cups (you can skip step #2 as we did). Origami in 6 steps? Awesome. And quick!


2. Add contrast paper

This is an optional step, but Laurel and I wanted to add some sparkle! To cover the front triangle flap of each cup, cut 4 x 2 inch rectangles of your contrast paper (yes, I had a big roll of glitter wrap in my studio). Cover the triangle flap with glue, adhere rectangle contrast paper, then trim rectangle to fit triangle flap. Place cups under heavy books to set glue.


3. Hang the cups

Hang two staggered lines of ribbon; you can do this on a wall or across a wide doorway; we did it across the sliding doors to our backyard. Clip 11 cups to the top line and 13 to the bottom, staggering spacing.


4. Print and insert advent messages

In the spirit of less clutter and more holiday mindfulness, I wanted to focus our countdown on ideas that would inspire us to spend time together as a family and give to others; our list is below. I printed on red paper and set the paper slips to about 1.5 x 3.5 inches so we'd get a little color pop (though the cups/clothespins look beautiful without the red too). Feel free to swap in your own messages in this template (you’ll need to trim about .75 inch off the sides and .25 inch off the top of the 8.5 x 11 paper before trimming the individual slips).

Our 24 countdown items:

  1. Decorate gingerbread houses (I picked up kits at Trader Joe's this weekend)

  2. Make cookies for gifts

  3. Make magic salt for gifts

  4. Make trail mix for gifts

  5. Call grandma and grandpa

  6. Donate $10 to charity

  7. Donate $20 to charity

  8. Collect and donate canned goods

  9. Collect and donate toys

  10. Play a board game together

  11. Do something nice for Dad

  12. Do something nice for Mom

  13. Do something nice for Laurel

  14. Do something nice for Violet

  15. Give holiday treats to neighbors

  16. Make dinner together

  17. Go for a hike or nature walk together

  18. Craft something together

  19. Bake something together

  20. Make a holiday playlist

  21. Send a card to a loved one

  22. Take a family picture

  23. Watch a movie together

  24. Have a family dance party


I'm so thrilled with how this project came out! Laurel and I had such fun making it together, it didn't take a crazy amount of time, and it looks beautiful. I'm so looking forward to starting our family countdown on December 1!

DIY origami advent calendar

DIY origami advent calendar