Recycled Paper DIY Advent Calendar – Part 1 (A Tutorial)

I love this customizable advent shadowbox from Silhouette! The 25 compartment shadow box comes with 25 different box templates and 25 different drawer templates that the Silhouette will cut out onto any paper of your choice. You can use them to make a new advent calendar theme each year. See the bottom of this post for a discount code good through November 11th.



I can’t keep up with my usual crafty pace right now but I was able to finish compartments 1 through 6 yesterday! I chose a palette of brown paper, white, gold and gilver (goldish-silver).


For the boxes I’ve used plain brown paper and paper shopping bags:


My new Silhouette machine can cut a 12″ piece of paper:


Here is one of the boxes cut straight out of the machine…..I used double sided tape to put it together:

A finished box:


I bought a bunch of small, inexpensive trinkets to fill the boxes with. Some are generic Christmas themed and others have to do with the Birth of Jesus:


I used a basic stencil and a champagne silver spray paint to add my numbers:


Box #1: I cut a tag and spray painted a stenciled number on it to embellish the box. I filled it with a Christmas light necklace.


Box #2: I added lobster claw clasps to some angels to turn them into charms. I embellished the box with a similar angel button strung onto elastic thread:


Box #3: I made Christmas-themed elastic hair ties.

Box #4: A small toy donkey to represent how Mary rode to Bethlehem. The #4 was stenciled in gold glitter spray paint.


Box #5: A gold and silver earth charm to represent “Peace on Earth”.

Box #6: I spray painted the top of the box with gold glitter. The box was filled with a “Grow a Santa” toy.

Now I’ll start working on the rest of the boxes today!





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About Ashley Hackshaw

Living a simple, creative life in #smalltownusa Bryson City, NC. Renovating a 1960s ranch house and an old train depot. Thank you for reading! Read more in my about section. 


  1. 1

    ooh, pretty! I love the combination of brown and gold. How clever to use paper bags … I have a whole cupboard full of TJ’s bags.

  2. 2
    Beth Morrow says:

    So cute…I’m very impressed! Glad you are feeling strong enough to tackle 6 days….I mean, even God rested on the 7th day…right! Continuing to pray for you and your family! Love getting the updates and anything you feel like adding.

  3. 3

    YAY silhouette projects!!! I’m in awe of what that machine can do!

  4. 4

    right now is the moment I wish really really hard for a Silhouette for Christmas! Santa’s real, right?

  5. 5

    I seriously can’t even handle that machine. It cut out a box for you!!! I need to get one of those machines!!!!!!!!

  6. 6

    This is so cool. I love how the machine can cut out the box. I want one! Love your tutorial.

  7. 7
    allie burns says:

    anyone know if you can make boxes from the cricut to fit in there? or are there other boxes to fit in this ?? I have the cricut but not the silhouette.. but LOVE the idea!~


  8. 8

    LOVE it!!! The boxes are the cutest i’ve ever seen, what a nice non-commercial advent calendar. And it’s the first time i’ve heard of the silhouette cutting machine, what a nifty tool, but far too expensive for this once-in-a-blue-moon hobby-crafter. Thank you for your screen printing tutorial too, i am thinking of getting the kit and turning that into an advent calendar for my bf, but I don’t think I’ll receive the kit in time (not sure if i can find it in europe). Thanks for the ideas :)

  9. 9

    I have been following you for just a little while (HOW did I just discover you?!) and am in awe of the amazing crafts! Just ordered an advent calendar box and am so excited…squee! Won’t get it in time for this year, but that’s OK. I don’t have a Silhouette machine but do you think I’ll be able to make do with using the template, cutting them myself?? Thanks for the amazing idea and so glad you’re feeling up to working on such a great project. Continue to get better every day!

  10. 10

    I love the little boxes, I don’t have a Silhouette, so I am kind of jealous. Don’t worry about not being able to do the whole lot in one go: you only need to be a bit ahead of the actual date!
    Glad you’re having fun crafting,

  11. 11

    So…I.don’t have a Silhouette machine but REALLY wanted to do this advent calendar stonehouse, so I bought it and received it a few days ago. So, here’s my question: is there any way to print the box templates on regular paper? I’m happy to cut them out myself but I just want the templates! Any advice???

  12. 12

    I’m so sad!! I hesitated about getting one of these last year when I bought my Cameo and I just got on to buy one (my son is 2.5 years old and I thought he’d love all the little surprises). I didn’t realize they were limited edition and I don’t like the 2012 version with the wires/clips. Any idea where I might be able to get one of these second-hand? Checked both ebay and Amazon…no luck! :(


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