12 Days of Christmas – Advent Calendar | Bower Power
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12 Days of Christmas – Advent Calendar

2009 December 11
by Katie

Christmas celebration continues on here in the Bower household.  And nothing says “Jesus is Born!” like a little countdown to his birthday arrival.  That’s right people.  I am talking about the advent 3-2-1 CHEER! kinda thing minus the pompoms.  So when I spotted a post by Emily featuring this fabulous Pottery Barn advent calendar, I had to change my shirt because of all the drool.  Check out the inspiration:


Seriously awesome.

And my favorite part is that the linen pinboard is totally reusable in tons of different and fun ways.  Check it out:

Large Linen Pinboard, 36 x 48", Stone   Alternate View Large Linen Pinboard, 36 x 48", Stone

Large Linen Pinboard, 36 x 48", Stone   Alternate View Alternate View   Alternate View Alternate View

(photo source)

That’s when I shouted,

“Henceforth, the linen pinboard must be mine!”

Yup.  Right there in front of my computer.

Just like a crazy Renaissance woman. 

But I am not about to spend $149 on a pinboard.  Nor would Jeremy let me with bambino #1 on the way.  It’s marginally outta our price range for a piece that holds tacks.  (NOTE THE SARCASM in regards to the word “marginally”.)

That’s when I remembered a pinboard I had stashed in the closet.

The last time I used it was for collecting dust bunnies in the back of the closet.  And the time before that was for a ladies luncheon I organized at church.  Although I knew that the closet would very much miss it’s clutter friend, I also knew that it would be just perfect for using to make my beloved advent calendar.

I convinced my boyfriend to trek out to the shed (that lives in our scary horror-movie-style backyard) and snag some old wood to beef up the corkboard.

Then he cut it to fit on the back using a mitersaw.  Oh how I love our Dewalt saw.  It gives me goosebumps.  The good kind.

After cutting them to the correct size, he attached the corners with a few heavy-duty staples,

and then flipped the boards over so that the cork was on top.

This way, he could use some screws to drive through the cork and into the wood. 

Low & behold, it worked. 

Baby Jesus wants me to have this corkboard.  I can just tell.

Then it was time to cover the sucker with yummy linen fabric so that it could resemble the beloved PB version.

Using spray adhesive, some leftover fabric (from making a mattress cover for my daybed) and my electric staple gun, I went to work covering the corkboard.

First I sprayed the front of the corkboard and laid the fabric on top, making sure to smooth any wrinkles.  Then I allowed the sucker a few minutes to dry.  Then I flipped the entire thing over and worked around each side, folding over the frayed edges and stapling away.  It helped me to do one side and then do the opposite, mitering my corners (like a present) so that it would look as clean and crisp as possible.


After it was fully stapled and dried, I got to work thinking about the perfect place to put it.  I figured the dining room would work.  The color scheme was neutral enough and the space needed a bigger piece to balance out our teapot cabinet.

Cutting the little paper tags and punching holes was the easy part.  Collecting all 25 of the different ornaments proved to be a little more challenging.  It really forced me to think outside the box.  But in the end, I love it.  

I found that some of the ornaments were perfect straight outta the box.  But others needed a little help.  Take for instance the glittery apple.  It was originally a wreath pick.  I just yanked out the stick and attached a little ribbon with a couple silver straightpins.  Not only is it right up my disco-meets-hoedown alley but it is also super cheap coming in at 50 cent.  Let’s leave that singular just in case some googles ’50 cent’, shall we? :)  

The bells are actually less than that – coming in at one cent a piece, I just strung them together using a bit of twine for a very cute (and musical) ornament. 


So there you have it folks – one cheap linen covered pinboard.  Looks pretty similar, right?  pretty please say yes.


And the best part about this project is that I know I can use this pinboard over and over….like for reminders or photos or even birthday cards.  And the best part of all?  the pricetag.  


I spent only six little squirts on the sucker…just enough to cover the cost of the spray adhesive.

Pretty awesome, huh?  So – now tell me, do you have an advent calendar?  I must admit – this is my first one.  And I do get a bit giddy coming home after work so that I can hang up the ornament of the day.  It’s kinda like Christmas….just everyday!  It totally is getting me in the holiday spirit (and reminding me that I have limited time to buy gifts!)  And for those of you cursing me out in front of your computer for not posting this sooner – it’s not too late, you can make one for yourself and only do 12 days…the 12 days of Christmas.  Do that right after you wash your mouth out.  After all, I am the only one around here that is allowed to have a potty mouth :)

90 Responses leave one →
  1. December 11, 2009

    I love it, I am trying to decide what to do with a blank wall in my kitchen and this may be my answer!

  2. Val permalink
    December 11, 2009

    I lurv it. Yes, lurv. It’s like love, but better. I’ve always really liked the idea of the advent calendar, but it is usually too super cheesy or kidsy. This is awesome. Will definitely do next year. I also lurv the Thanksgiving advent calendar idea that someone posted earlier. Fabulous!

  3. Shannon permalink
    December 11, 2009

    Soooo awesome! Wow, where do you honestly find the time to do all these fun things!? And ps. I just had to say how i love how your husband lets you take all kinds of pictures of him…it makes me laugh!

  4. Tracy permalink
    December 11, 2009

    I <3 you! Oh, and your blog. Best of all, you sense of humor!

  5. December 11, 2009

    Katie, that is FABULOUS! Good job!

  6. December 12, 2009

    Okay, I’m usually a looker not a commenter but your last few posts rocked and this is by far my favorite! :) They’ve been helping me get in the holiday spirit, which is hard to do in flip-flops in the tropics ;) I’ve been drooling over PB’s linen pinboard for a while, and have four corkboard squares I was going to cover & attempt to copy (you know, in my spare time while chasing a curly headed 3 year old around? Ha!) but I like yours much better! Any suggestions on how to get four cork squares to look like one seamless board? Keep up the good work! :)

    • December 13, 2009

      Jen -
      thanks girl and I am so jealous of your flip-flop attire right now…especially since my swollen feet are feeling a little snug in the shoes as of lately. Anyhoo – four cork squares can totally work with this project too. Just adhere them to a piece of thin plywood with some spray adhesive before fastening on the chunky back pieces. Then just screw through the cork corners through the plywood and then through the back frame. It should work like a charm :) Good luck on your recreation!

      XO – KB

  7. Anne permalink
    December 12, 2009

    Beautiful job! And $6….way to go! Pat on the back for this one!
    And, I am beginning to be pulled in by the linen craze in current decor blogs and magazines.

  8. December 12, 2009

    Love the advent calendar! I was wondering how you anchored it to the wall?

    • December 13, 2009

      Hi Jolie,

      I anchored it to the wall using two long screws…one with a drywall anchor and one directly into a stud. Then I just hung it up ensuring that the end of the screws were on the inner shallow part of the back of the linen pinboard. Easy peasy :)

      XO – Katie

  9. December 13, 2009

    Love this: simple, elegant, and easy to change up. I’m copying you – thanks!

  10. dinah permalink
    December 14, 2009

    OMGOSH you totally nailed it!

  11. December 14, 2009

    We’ve made it a tradition to give my stepchildren advent calender’s each year. Of course, I bought mine at World Market this year. Yours is much prettier.

  12. December 14, 2009

    Yours is SO much better than the PBK one. And I’m not just saying that.

  13. December 18, 2009

    Very impressive! I actually have a french memo board that is the same color linen and could make one! Oooo, now I’m all inspired. I saw the PB version too and couldn’t possibly fork over that kind of cash for an advent calender but you proved that such a gorgeous decor piece can be made for under $10! Thank You!

  14. December 31, 2009

    This is absolutely fabulous! I just love it, you did an amazing job! Makes me giddy just looking at it!

  15. February 12, 2010

    Question! I’m totally copying your idea here and will be making an advent calendar for next Christmas. How big is the one you made vs. the one in the PB catalog?

    Yes, I do realize it’s only February, but I like to plan ahead…actually, I’ll probably start this thing now and forget about it until December 24th…but here’s hoping! :)

    • February 12, 2010

      I just used the standard bulletin board (I’m guessing it was 48×36) that I bought from Walmart a decade ago. And the one online for Pottery Barn has two sizes – small (24×36) and large (48×36). Also – we have discovered that this is super useful now that we have tons of paperwork floating around that we need onhand. So it actually is useful year-round!
      Good luck with your project – make sure to send me a photo when you finish!
      XO – katie

      • Jennifer permalink
        December 6, 2010

        First off — LOVE this idea! Never saw the PB one; yours is every bit (if not more) fab.
        I had the same question as Natalie — the actual size of your board. In the picture, yours looks smaller than 3′ x 4′ and it’s much easier to find standard corkboard in a 2′ x 3′ size.

        Also, most Christmas advent calendars I’ve seen only have 24 slots (since it’s the ‘countdown’ to Christmas) like the PB one (six across, four down) — but your five across, five down idea would work great on a smaller board. Thanks so much for sharing this!

        • December 6, 2010

          Hi Jennifer…I know, weird huh? I did it with 25 because I liked the numbers…but this year, I switched it back for more of a traditional feel :)
          xo – kb

  16. Lori in OR permalink
    September 13, 2010

    This has inspired me to do something that’s been hovering in my head for years. I’m going to use this Advent Calendar idea – thank you, Katie – and use it for Jesse Tree ornaments. I can make the ornaments with my daughter, who never met a craft she didn’t like. Hmmm…. She’s 11, so she will want to go with Shrinky-Dinks or origami or something made of gimp… Maybe I can convince her that we can do stained-glass-style Shrinky Dinks! yeah, that’s it!

  17. November 10, 2010

    :) I want a great advent calendar so bad! I’ve been saying that for like 3 years. I kind of want the drawer kind. I’m gonna figure something out in the next couple weeks, I swear!!

  18. December 4, 2010

    Have just come across your post. I also made an advent calendar similar to this, I hadn’t thought to add the linen,I just used a blank art canvas. I think I will add one next year,thanks for sharing!

  19. December 6, 2010

    awesome! I had my husband look at this and he’s on it….just happens to have tomorrow off….an old cork board in the spare room…and we have a can of spray…I’ll just have to shop for the linen. Thanks loads for the idea!

  20. December 15, 2010

    Love it! Featured your version, and my take on it recently on my blog! Thanks for the inspiration!


  21. November 3, 2011

    Hi Katie! I absolutely love this advent calendar! I know I am a little late seeing it (by a couple of years) but I want to try and make my own for this Christmas!! I was wondering about the chunky frame your husband built. Did you build that just to make it look like a thicker memo board or is it needed structurally? I don’t have the saw so I though about skipping that step… but I don’t want to get it all up and then my ornaments come crashing down! Just a random question- I know!

    Thanks again for the inspiration!

    (I have also pinned a few more of your holiday decorations -just so you know- they are all great and I plan on being a copy cat!)

    • November 3, 2011

      I bought a simple cork board from Hobby Lobby that has skinny frame around it already- if that makes a difference.

    • November 3, 2011

      I think that in general cork is not the sturdiest thing…so I would avoid hanging it alone without a framework or backbone. We wanted ours to be thicker but also, we wanted it to be structurally sound…I have seen where people cover the framed ones (taking the fabric over the frame and back behind) and it looks great! Good luck!
      xo – kb

  22. November 15, 2011

    Love this! Just wanted to let you know that I’m posting it in “Top 10 Advent Calendars” at http://www.cheapcraftymama.com! Please feel free to stop by and grab a button or link to show that you are featured!

  23. November 21, 2011

    i like yours better then the original one. looks super good.

  24. Krista permalink
    November 22, 2011

    Great Advent Calendar! It looks better than the PB inspiration one and it has all 25 days on it. Do you still use it or did you make use of it in some other way like you mentioned in the post?

    • November 22, 2011

      I use it now as an official family pinboard – but for Christmas I clear it off for the advent calendar…it’s my favorite way to use it :)
      xo – kb

  25. November 25, 2011

    I actually like the look of your advent calendar more. :)
    It’s really pretty and such a great idea!

  26. December 5, 2011

    Thanks so much for the inspiration Katie! I love this so much, I copied it:)!


    Merry Christmas,

  27. Lou permalink
    June 21, 2012

    Prefer yours to the original!

  28. December 2, 2013

    Yours looks better than PB! Thanks for the inspiration. I am working on mine today!

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