I’ve made several Christmas countdown calendars over the years. Also known as advent calendars, they typically have a prize each day. This year, I decided to forgo the prizes and designed a calendar that is a fun, decorative display.
I made this project using 1/2″ (12mm), 1/4″ (6mm). and 1/8″ (3mm) plywood. These are often sold in small sheets called “craft plywood” in hardware stores or home centers.
I started with the trickiest cuts: the angled boards for the front and back. The angles I used are in the plans and not too difficult to make with a reasonably accurate miter gauge on a tablesaw. Mostly it’s just planning and thinking them through. But really, you could just draw the pentagons and cut them out with a jigsaw or bandsaw and get good results.
I gut out the windows using a jigsaw.
I had some thick stock I was able to cut down for the cubes. You could also laminate a couple 2x4s together and cut them to size.
I used a scrap board for the shelf that the cubes sit on. The cleat I attached to it will prevent the cubes from sliding in too far.
Another scrap board for the base.
I cut bevels on the side pieces to match the angles on the front.
I cut two roof pieces, a door, and a chimney, spray painted everything, and glued them into place.
These little trim pieces are kind of tedious to cut, but they are important. They are what really make the house “pop”.
The scalloped roof edging is fun to make. Just cut a series of overlapping holes in a board and then split in two.
I used my inkjet transfer method to make outlines of the letters and numbers that I could paint. I’ve included these in the plans.
How to number the cubes
It took me a while to figure out how to make the cubes so they would be able to display the numbers 0-24. Eventually I figured it out. The key is to make the 6 do double duty as a 9. Here are the numbers for each cube:
Cube A: 0, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5
Cube B: 0, 1, 2, 6, 7, 8
- WWMM Santa’s Toy Shop Xmas Countdown Calendar (pdf)
- Sketchup file
- WWMM Santas Toy Shop Xmas Countdown Calendar -METRIC
- Sketchup file -METRIC