When my son was old enough to understand Christmas I started to search for an Advent calendar that wasn’t just chocolates. Ideally, I wanted something that would build the anticipation for Christmas but was more than just a candy countdown to Christmas. At the time I couldn’t find what I wanted so I designed my own from felt that had a pocket for each day of Advent. Then I made hand-drawn Advent cards that would fit in the pockets. On the cards are traditional Christmas activities that I wanted to share with him. It’s ten years later but I still love the cards. So I hope that you’ll download and make these DIY Advent Cards and then include them in your family’s preparation for and celebration of the Christmas season.
Hand-drawn PDF’s and an SVG
My hand-drawn originals from 10 years ago are lost, but I had pictures to go by. With those, it was a snap to draw replicas in Procreate on my iPad. The originals were black and white so I took a play day this week and colored them with watercolors and colored pencil brushes in Procreate. Then I created an SVG file that matches the images so that you can cut them out with a Cricut if you have one. If you don’t have one, you can use a playing card to trace around the cards and cut them, or you can use a paper cutter.
How to Use the Cards
There are three pages of cards with 9 cards each. That’s 27 cards for 24 days. I wanted to give you some extras so you can pick and choose somewhat. But feel free to use the SVG file to cut blanks so you can draw your own. One of the cards is also a “Surprise” card to give you a little flexibility.
How this worked is I would loosely plan out the activities for the week to fit our schedule and then put the card in the corresponding pocket. Since things never work out as planned, I would often end up switching the cards around or I would reuse the “Surprise” card and then make something up. I’ve added a photo of my felt pocket calendar to give you the idea, but you can use any type of container you want. I love the cute little minimalist Advent calendars that are just numbered envelopes clipped to a string. Just don’t seal the envelopes in case you have to do a quick swap. There are pocket advent calendars like mine available for sale online if you’d prefer to buy one.
You could also skip the calendar idea altogether and let the kids place them in a visual to-do list or some other kind of order. They might enjoy playing with the cards! These also make a fabulous little pre-Christmas gift for your grandkids. There’s nothing to say it has to be mom and dad that uses these!
How to Make DIY Advent Cards
Supplies and Materials
- Advent Card PDF’s from the Creative Resource Library (there are 3)
- Advent Card SVG file from the Creative Resource Library (if you plan to cut them with a Cricut)
- Cardstock (I used a heavyweight glossy @ FedEx but you don’t have to)
- Printer (or take the files to a print office like FedEx Office- I did this)
- Scissors or…
- Cricut Maker
- Light Grip (blue) Cricut Cutting Mat
- Computer or iPad
A Note about the Design- Cricut’s print then cut feature won’t allow you to do a full page print. So to get around that with this tutorial we have the PDF and an SVG. But this also means that are no registration marks for your Cricut to go by when it cuts. To make sure everything is as accurate as possible I aligned my printed images to the top left corner of the page. Cricut automatically aligns the SVG to the top left corner with a 1/4” margin. So this way they align much better! However, home printers don’t always feed straight so your cut may still be a little off. To help with that I added a white border area around the color images. ❤️
Step One: Download all 3 Advent Card PDF’s and the optional SVG file.
In the Creative Resource Library on this blog, you’ll find a TON of really cool free resources to create with. Under Project Templates and Designs, you’ll find the Advent Card PDF files, as well as the SVG file. Again, you only need the SVG if you plan to cut these out with a cutting machine. If you’re planning to cut them out by hand then you do not need the SVG file.
Step Two: Print out the PDF’s
You can do this by opening the files and then sending them to your home printer, OR you can save the files and take them to a print office. I actually had mine printed at FedEx Office because our printer doesn’t play well with cardstock. I try to work with it, but there’s no love. ?
Step Three: Upload the SVG to Cricut Design Space
If you plan to skip the Cricut and hand-cut these cards then you can skip the next steps. However, if you are planning to use the Cricut then you’ll want to upload the SVG file into a new canvas in Cricut Design Space.
To do this, open up a new canvas in Cricut Design Space and select “Upload” from the side toolbar. Next, select “Browse” and grab your .svg file. In your uploads select the new file and click “Insert Image.”
Step Four: Select All and Make Adjustments
Now that you have your image uploaded to your canvas in Design Space, you may want to change the color. To do this, first, choose “Select All” on the top toolbar.
Then you have the option to go to the colored square to the right of the drop-down action menu that says “cut” and choose your color. Click on the colored square and then choose a lighter color. (This is optional but helps us to see it better when we get to the next screen).
With everything still selected, click on the “Attach” option at the bottom right of your screen. Finally, in the top toolbar change the height of the image to 10.4″ This will adjust the width proportionally. Then, click on the “Make It” in the top right corner of your screen!
Step Five: Cut a Sample Template first.
On the next screen, you’ll see a mat and on the left of that, you’ll find a drop-down menu of sizes. Choose 8.5″ x 11″ (Letter). Take a piece of blank paper and place it on your mat to match the image on the screen. Then choose “Continue” on the bottom left of your screen.
Cricut will automatically place your SVG in the top left corner of the mat allowing a 1/4″ margin at the left and top of the mat. I adjusted the PDF’s so that they are aligned to the top left corner as well. This means you don’t have to guess at how to get the SVG and your printed image to match up.
Now you’ll need to make sure your machine is connected. Then, under the materials setting, choose one of the material options that fit your material. I tested the cut with a piece of lightweight cardstock that I had. Then changed the material settings to heavy cardstock (and ended up changing the default to more) when I was ready to cut my images. Follow the prompts on the screen to make the cut.
Unload your mat, and to remove the cards in a way that doesn’t bend them, flip the mat upside down and gently peel the outline of the cards away from the mat without tearing it. Then, use this outline to check your placement of the print outs on your mat. You may need to adjust your paper placement slightly so that the images and the cuts align.
Pro-Tip: When you cut this template you’ll have an extra sheet of blank cards. Try drawing your own cards or let you kids make up their own to add to the stash!
Step Six: Cut out your Card Designs.
Follow the same steps as before, but be sure to change your Materials Settings before you cut if you are changing the type of paper. To do this you just click on the type of material you selected last. This will bring up your material options.
Align your paper on the mat, and then press down and smooth your paper so it adheres well to the mat. Load your mat into the machine, and then follow the prompts again on the screen to make the cut.
Step Seven: Check the Cut BEFORE you Unload the Mat
This is super important. Before you unload the mat gently try to peel up a couple of the cards. IF they have not been fully cut then stop, and press the “Go” button again to repeat the cut. You can unload and then reload the mat and then repeat the cut, but you risk your alignment being off.
Once it’s cut cleanly through the paper unload the mat. Flip the mat upside down and gently peel off the cards and excess paper.
Step Eight: Cut the Other Two Advent Card PDF Sheets
Repeat steps six and seven for each PDF. Isn’t that easy? I love the crisp clean and uniform shapes that cutting with the Cricut gives me!
And done! You just Made Your OWN DIY Advent Cards!
Projects like this make me happy to have this blog. It’s such an opportunity to be able to share ideas like these cards. Projects that I hope you’ll both love to make and love to use. And maybe even love to give. So I hope that you’ll enjoy these DIY Advent Cards and the anticipation of Christmas.
For More Inspiration…
If you love this Christmas project then you’ll love what else we have for you in our Christmas Projects category! Okay. So it is a little heavy on the Gnome projects right now. But I’m sure you love them as much as I do and won’t mind. And I am adding more projects every week so be sure to subscribe to my email list for updates and subscriber-only gifts. Just today I sent out an email with free printables so that my subscribers could host their own Gnome Craft Party with custom stickers, an invitation, and labels that were ONLY available through the email. You DEFINITELY don’t want to miss anything!
Also, if you would like to know more about Procreate I have a playlist of my Procreate tutorials on YouTube. I also have tutorial posts on this blog that teach you How to Draw stickers in Procreate, How to Draw Snowflakes in Procreate, and soon-to-come is a post on how to use reference layers in Procreate to create cut layers in Cricut.
Love this? Share it!
If you found the tutorial for this tutorial for How to Make DIY Advent Cards helpful please share it either on social media or by pinning the image below to Pinterest. I really appreciate your help with this! Also, if you have any questions about this project please ask by commenting on this post, through my contacts email, or by leaving a comment on my YouTube Channel. I’d love to help!