One of my favorite Christmas activities is stocking our advent calendar. It is so fun to see the delighted faces of our children each morning as the tumble down the stairs to see what surprise awaits them! I love the Pottery Barn Stocking Ladder Advent Calendar, but was not taken with the price of $199. I decided I could make my own Wooden Advent Calendar with Stockings for a much cheaper price.
For the last few years we have been fans of the Lego advent calendars, but as kids grow so do their tastes. This year no one was interested in the Lego advent so I began searching for an alternative that would hold gifts, treats or notes for two or more children.
This DIY wooden advent calendar with stockings does the trick! Each day is marked by a 5×6 mini canvas stocking that can hold a note, treat, ornament or small gift. The ladder itself is a notable addition to your holiday décor — at approximately 20 inches and 72 inches high it shows off your Christmas countdown impressively.
You do not have to be a skilled woodworker or seamstress, this is not a hard project! All you have to do is cut a few narrow boards (even a hand saw works), screw together the ladder, and paint it! The stockings are premade so they only require a little paints, iron on or markers to add the dates.
Wooden Advent Calendar with Stockings Supplies
• 3 – 1 in. x 2 in. x 6 ft. Pine Boards
• 14 – 2 in. Brass Flat Corner Braces (L shaped)
• Paste Wax in Java or Mahogany (I used Briwax, you can use any non-oily paste wax)
• Black latex enamel paint, flat (a few ounces)
• Sandpaper (220 grit)
• 25 – 5/8 in. Brass-Plated Cup Hooks
• Wood Putty (if needed)
• 25 – 5 x 6 in. white or cream canvas stockings
• Black paints, permanent marker, or iron on material
• Printable PDF pattern for numbers or cut file
The Pottery Barn calendar is made of mahogany. To make the ladder more affordable (and the wood easier to cut) I used pine. The famous Pottery Barn distressed black finish is easy to achieve with paste wax and latex paint. Finally, I found affordable pre-made canvas stockings at Oriental Trading Company which makes the project quick to complete… no sewing needed (plus they are only $6.50 a dozen)!
Wooden Advent Calendar with Stockings Instructions
To make the ladder:
1. Cut the side boards according to the graphic (click to download a larger version), you will have two 72 inch side pieces that are cut straight across the top and bottom.
72 inches is the length my boards came in at the lumber yard, make sure to check that they are not warped (lay flat and straight). You can easily test them by laying them on the floor at the store, they should not rock. It doesn’t matter if they have a few knots.
2. Cut the cross boards or rungs according to the graphic pattern above, you will have seven rungs cut at a 5% angle on the ends. This makes the angle of the ladder which is narrower at the top. The rungs are:
- 8 1/8 inches
- 9 3/8 inches
- 10 5/8 inches
- 12 inches
- 13 ¼ inches
- 14 ½ inches
- 16 inches
3. Attach the rungs to the side pieces using the L shaped flat corner braces. You can screw these directly in, there is no need to pre-drill holes in pine.
4. If needed, fill gaps between rungs and side pieces with wood putty, allow to dry and sand smooth.
5. Apply finish. First rub wax paste over the entire ladder using a soft rag. Wipe off excess. Allow to dry for at least an hour.
6. Apply latex paint using a paint brush. Make sure to coat the entire ladder. This should only take one coat. Allow paint to dry for at least half an hour.
7. Use sandpaper to weather the finish (this is how you get the famous Pottery Barn distressed black finish). Concentrate on the edges of the pieces and made sure to scuff some paint off the center of the rungs and side boards. Don’t worry, if you sand off too much paint you can always add more latex paint.
8. Attach brass-plated cup hooks according to the graphic. You can screw these in by hand, there is no need to pre-drill holes in pine.
To make the stockings:
1. Iron the stocking and shorten the hanging loops (if desired). I used a whip stitch to make my loops about 1 ½ inches long. I used my homemade spray starch to make sure the stocking were crisp and flat. I also removed the interior tags on the stockings.
3. Decide if you are using iron on material, fabric or permanent marker or paint.
4. For iron on fabric: cut out the numbers and iron on to stockings using manufacturer’s instructions.
5. For paint or marker: trace the numbers onto each stocking using a black permanent marker or permanent fabric marker.
6. Fill in with acrylic paint, fabric paint, or permanent marker. Allow to dry and iron (according to manufacturer's directions) to set the paint or marker.
7. Hang the stocking on your ladder!
Wooden Advent Calendar with Stockings Cost
I really love how this advent calendar turned out! It is definitely a show stopper in your holiday decorations. It looks great in our family room and can hold enough gifts to multiple kids. I also like how the ladder can be decorated to add more seasonal style.
I especially love the SAVINGS! The Pottery Barn price is $199.00, mine was about 84% off…. $33.85!
- 1 in. x 2 in. x 6 ft. Pine Boards – 3- $9.00
- Brass Flat Corner Braces – 14 – $7.00
- Paste Wax in Java or Mahogany – $8.50 for 12 oz., used 1 oz. – $0.70
- Black latex enamel paint, flat – $9.30 per quart, used 4 oz.- $1.16
- Sandpaper – $2.70 for 5 sheets, used 1 sheet – $0.54
- 5/8 in. Brass-Plated Cup Hooks – 50 for $2.00, used 25 – $1.00
- Wood Putty – $7.00 for 6 ounces, used less than ½ ounce – $0.60
- Stockings – 6.50 Per Dozen- $13.50
- Black Acrylic Paint $0.69 (used ½) – $0.35
- Total price= $33.85
That’s a $165.15 savings (83% off of the original price). I LOVE those savings even more than the Christmas season!