Count down to the happiest time of year with this simple felt craft.

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fabric advent calendar
Lennart Weibull

Fun for days! Build excitement all month with an oversize advent calendar. The felt pockets, marked with precut numbers, are big enough to hold little gifts—from notebooks to yo-yos to mini candy boxes—and you can modify the design to fit different occasions. Pack eight pockets for the nights of Hanukkah, or a week's worth for the lead-up to a monumental birthday any time of year. Looking for more holiday-centric crafts? Consider these easy DIYs for the whole family or these projects inspired by seasonal traditions all over the world.

Art direction by Ryan Mesina, Styling by Lorna Aragon

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What you need

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How to do it

Part 1

Step 1

To create the backdrop, cut a 36-by 45-inch rectangle out of 3-millimeter felt that's strong enough to hold small gifts. Trim five 1-by-7-inch strips for hanging.

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Step 2

Fashion the pocket squares. Cut 24 pieces of 5-by-10-inch felt rectangles. Fold each in half vertically, so they're 5-inch squares.

Step 3

To secure the pockets, gather the 24 squares and arrange them in 4 rows of 6, ensuring a 2-inch border of free space around each edge. Attach the pockets with a running stitch 1/8 inch from the left and right edges, leaving the bottom edges unsewn and the top edges open. Glue precut numbers onto the pockets with fabric glue.

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Step 4

Attach the straps. Take the five strips and pin each to the front and back of the top edge of the base, overlapping by 1 inch on the ends. Sew the ends onto the base with a heavy thread and needle, using a running stitch in a small rectangular pattern. Once the straps are sewn on, hang the calendar from a curtain rod and brackets (we used a wooden dowel and Shaker pegs).

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