Nativity Advent

My advent calendar is finally finished just in time for a countdown to Christmas!  I searched and searched for some figures to make for my nativity that I liked.  I finally found some here at barefoot in the kitchen.

For my calendar, each piece was made with rainbow felt and is at least two layers thick.  A round piece of the soft side of Velcro is sewn on the back of each one.  Aren’t they adorable?!
I cut the rough part of the Velcro into little stars and sewed them, along with the stable, onto a 20×30 inch piece of felt.  There are 24 pockets that are each 2 1/2 inches square.  I used a chain stitch to embroider all of the numbers.

Here is the final product.   There are four felt loops sewn into the top and a long wooden dowel with a string attached to both ends for hanging.  The baby Jesus should be put in pocket 24 to signal that the next day is Christmas!

And because I want everyone to be able to make one too, I got permission from Stephanie at barefoot in the kitchen to share the templates that I created to make my nativity figures.  Sorry they aren’t the greatest templates in the world, but it’s a start!  Just click the link below to download and print them.  There should be four of them.
**EDIT:  I have also created a list of printable Bible verses that you can read each day.  Those can also be found by clicking the link below.  Read my post about them here.  Also, by downloading these templates, you agree that you will not use them to make anything to sell.**
·         ¾ yard of 72” wide felt for background (cut into two 20” x 30” rectangles)
·         felt sheets  in various colors
·         1/2 yard of 2” wide hook and loop fastener (Velcro)
·         embroidery floss in various colors
·         thread (if using sewing machine)
·         ½” wooden dowel (cut to 20 ½” long)
·         2 dowel end caps (optional)
·         string, ribbon, or twine for hanging
·         embroidery needle
·         sewing scissors
·         pins
·         rotary cutter, cutting mat, and long ruler (optional but very helpful)
Basic Instructions:
1.       For each figure, cut two of the overall figure in the main color felt.
2.       Cut out the smaller pieces and hand stitch them onto the top layer using 3 strands of embroidery floss and running stitch.
3.       Embroider details onto top layer of felt. All of the eyes are done using a french knot.
4.       Cut soft side of Velcro into circles and sew onto back of bottom layer of each felt figure.
5.       Sew the bottom layer and the top layer of each figure together.
6.       Cut rough side of Velcro into star shapes (you can just cut circles if you prefer)
7.       Sew numbers 1 – 24 onto 2 ½” x 2 ½” square pockets
8.       Cut main background color of felt into two 20” x 30” rectangles
9.       Arrange stable and pockets onto one of the 20” x 30” background pieces, pin and sew.
10.   Arrange rough side of Velcro onto the same layer of background felt and sew.
11.   Pin top and bottom layer of background felt (wrong sides together), pin and stitch all but the top of the calendar closed.
12.   Cut 4 2” x 6” pieces of felt for hanging loops.
13.   Fold strips in half and slide 1” into top of calendar evenly spaced apart.  Pin and sew top of calendar shut, going over each of the felt hanging loops to secure.
14. Slide loops onto dowel and hang with string.

Now get to work!

Please check out my other countdown calendars here.

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49 Responses to Nativity Advent

  1. Yea! This looks great.

    Also, thanks so much for sharing the templates! I want to do a Nativity Advent calendar for next year (or, more likely, the next…) and I wasn’t looking forward to making up my own. 🙂

  2. Oh thank you! I was looking for something like this to make for Christmas this year. I missed it, obviously, but this way I have lots of time to finish it for next year!

  3. My family used an advent calendar in this exact format while I was growing up. And now that I have my own family I’ve been looking for templates to recreate it! This is awesome! Thank you!

  4. This is seriously beautiful. Thank you for sharing your patterns. I’ve wanted to make something like this for the past few year–now I can. Thanks. 🙂

  5. Really? It’s still working for me. Anyone else having trouble? If you still can’t get it, go to my “contact me” tab at the top, send me an email, and I can email you back with the templates. 🙂

  6. HELP! I’m in the middle of making this following your templates and pictures between your page and barefoot in the kitchen but for some reason as I’m in the middle of doing all the figures I’m suddenly only able to count 23???? Is the stable sewn onto the calendar itself or is that to go in a pocket too? Otherwise I just can’t figure out how there are 24 pieces???? (could be it’s in the middle of the night and I”m suddenly freaking out) but I’m excited to have found this. I grew up with something similar and now that I have my own family am making this one :-)Thanks for posting it!

  7. The stable is sewn onto the background. The baby Jesus and the manger are separate (not very clear on the template, sorry) and the large star on top of the stable goes in a pocket. Is that what you are missing? Hope that helps. Glad that people are getting use out of this! I would love to see your finished products!

  8. excellent, that’s what I was missing thanks! (I did the baby jesus and the manger as one piece…I think that the way I did it I can easily just separate them though so cool). I still have about 5 more pieces to do as well as finishing the numbers on the pockets and sewing those on then I’m done…it does take awhile 🙂 But when I’m done I”ll try to drop a picture…I can hardly wait! I”ve been working on it for about 2 weeks off and on now and have the goal to finish before Dec 1, hoping I can pull it off!

  9. Oh good! You can do it. I think I started about the same time last year. I had big plans to make more for other members of the family, but after finishing one I was so done! I am so excited to get it out again this year.

  10. I have just finished making this for my grand-daughter who when receiving it sat on it and said ‘I love you’!! I really enjoyed making it and think it is just right in so many ways as an advent calendar. Many hours work but worth it.

  11. Hi! I made this advent calendar with my 4 year old daughter. She cut out the squares, the paper templates and helped me sew on the sewing machine (straight lines & pulling pins). It was a great experience for her and so much fun for me to have her help, ask questions and create something. After we were cutting out Mary and Baby Jesus, she wanted to “role play” the nativity scene. Thank you for helping me bring the nativity piece to Christmas this year. I really wanted to make it fun, yet enjoyable to bring Jesus to Christmas.
    Thank you so much for posting your templates!!!!


    • Thank you so much for sharing that! It makes me so happy to hear that people are getting good use out of the patterns on here. What a neat idea to do the project with your daughter. Now you can say every year that you made it together. 🙂 Hope you have a great Christmas!

    • My 4 year old LOVES it. He’s been playing out all the stories and telling me stories about how the wisemen left without telling the king and he acts out Mary sitting on the donkey (if I did it again I think I’d make the donkey face the other way for this reason alone) holding Jesus with Joseph walking beside them. He likes to have Jesus in Joseph’s arms rather than the manger. I think that’s pretty sweet. 🙂

    • I love it! Thank you for sharing! That’s a smart idea to turn the donkey. Or maybe Mary could be turned around and put on the other side of the manger. That way she would be facing baby Jesus more too. Love that your 4 year old knows the story so well!

  12. Hi Jessica, I am almost finished making this and my boys are loving playing with the pieces already! I just have to sew on the velcro stars and sew the 2 layers together. Thanks so much for sharing your templates!! I have used the sewing machine for all of it and done no hand stitching. I zigzaged around felt numbers on the pockets which is the only bit that drove me crazy, easy to do- just so many numbers… It has been a fun project and one I hope my family will use for years to come 🙂

  13. Hi I’m getting there almost run out of time but I figure I only need to be a day ahead on the picture pieces! Is the background felt a double layer of felt! Thanks

  14. Thank you for sharing this idea. It was just what I was looking for! Had an over abundance of cardstock and just found this idea three days go so used cardstock instead of felt. Still came out great! Love the Bible verses for each day. Can’t wait to start!

  15. I wish I’d have found this calendar last year. I made one, somewhat similar, but used magnets and glued the felt figures on. They didn’t last too long :(. So I’m going to use your template ideas this year.
    Thanks so much.

  16. Love this!!!! Thank you so much for sharing the templates. Now I want to make every countdown calendar available! Just wondering… how long would you say this took to make??
    Thanks again!

    • I’ve never timed myself making one, but it takes a LOT of time. Not super difficult, just lots and lots of cutting and sewing. Like so long that I never want to make another one. Haha! Definitely worth it to have one for my kids though. 🙂

  17. I just finished making mine today! I followed some of the comments and turned Mary around to face the other way and I really like how it turned out. I started working on it around mid October so it’s taken me about a month. It would have been faster but I was working on Halloween costumes too.

    I used my machine to sew the Velcro stars on by basically sewing in triangles the way you would hand draw a star. It went so much faster that way. I must confess I didn’t get the pockets on straight, but I love it all the same!

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