DIY advent calendar surprises done IKEA style

We’ve seen lots of DIY cardboard advent calendars lately and got inspired to make our own—with some twists, of course. So we came up with fun details and ways to add a little more anticipation and adventure to opening something each day.
An advent calendar made of different sizes and shapes of boxes stacked against a wall
A milk carton wrapped in paper and made to look like a drawbridge castle
REVAMPED DOORS There’s a reason most advent calendars have tiny little doors—it’s because they’re fun to open! We put a twist on the classic with a drawbridge door. It’s a wrapped up milk carton, curved cut-out and some string. The present’s hidden inside.
A cardboard box with a crocodile drawn on it and a hand reaching in the mouth for a gift
SCARY SITUATIONS There’s no risk of a croc chomp here, and you’re guaranteed to see a smile. Cardboard has awesome playful possibility. You really can make a box into almost anything. Need inspiration? Search for easy jack o’ lantern carving patterns from spooky Halloween.
A shoe box filled with dried peas visible through a plastic cut-out window
GUESSING GAMES There’s built-in suspense with digging. You never know what will come up! We took a box, threw in some dried peas, made a plastic window and buried the present in a mini ball pit. Excavation, anyone? (The peas are intended for hands, but be careful about mouths, too.)
A hand pulling back a piece of paper covering a hole on a wrapped box
SNEAK PEEKS There’s always someone who tries to figure out what’s inside before it’s time. We took the bottom of a box (just a lid also works), covered it and cut a flapped hole in the paper. But the present inside is all wrapped up, too. So nothing to see here!
We love to see our customers get creative with our products. Go for it! But please note that altering or modifying IKEA products so they can no longer be re-sold or used for their original purpose, means the IKEA commercial guarantees and your right to return the products will be lost.
Interior designer: Genevieve Jorn
Digital designer: Lasse Johansson
Copywriter: Marissa Frayer
Photographer: Andrea Papini
Editor: Linda Harkell