Craft stick advent calendar with origami boxes

I had a box of 1000 craft sticks and no idea what to do with them. I wasn’t about to start building 1980s Popsicle stick jewelry boxes. I eventually came up with some Christmas ideas. This advent calendar is my first craft stick project. I’ll post my other ideas next week. The advent calendar is easy but time consuming. I suggest you enlist some helpers to fold the “origami” boxes and tie ribbons and string. Technically, the boxes aren’t origami because they involve a few cuts, but they are assembled without tape or glue. Each box holds a piece of chocolate. The beauty is, you don’t have to remove the ribbon to open each box, so the calendar is reusable.

How to make  a craft stick advent calendar with “origami” boxes

Supplies and tools

  • 24 craft sticks
  • spray primer and spray paint (or any craft paint)
  • hot glue gun and glue
  • 25 sheets of letter size paper (or 13 sheets of 12×12 paper)
  • box template (see #4 below)
  • scissors
  • 2 spools of 1/4-inch red grosgrain ribbon ( $1 each at Jo-Ann)
  • 1 spool of red baker’s twine
  • number stickers (I used three packages of Colorbök “Marshmallow Wacky” alphabet stickers from Jo-Ann)
  • 9 round 12mm rhinestones
  • thick red Sharpie marker
  • double-sided foam tape
  • candy

Glue the craft sticks

1. Glue craft sticks together end-to-end, overlapping about 1/2-inch in the following lengths: 6, 5, 4, 3, and 2. A trick to keeping each of them straight is to turn them sideways against the table while the glue cools. Then glue four sticks together in the center in a star shape.

DIY craft stick Christmas tree

2. Glue the “branches” of graduating lengths at each intersection along the longest strip of craft sticks, then glue the star to the top.

paint and rhinestones

3. Paint the tree and star any color you want. (If you plan to paint the star a different color than the tree, it’s easier to paint the star before gluing it to the tree.) Hot glue rhinestones to each tip and center of the star.

Print the template and cut out

4. For the boxes, you will need 50 4×4-inch sheets of paper with diagonal lines drawn through the center. Either use a ruler to measure and draw the lines yourself, or download and print this template onto 25 sheets of letter size paper. (Part of the lines on the template are outside of the printable area. Don’t worry about this. It was necessary to save you two extra cuts on each sheet.) Cut along the solid lines of the template. I used Hammermill 32 lb. color laser gloss paper because it’s what I had on hand. I recommend it because it’s a good weight, durable, and resists fingerprints.

first fold

5. Fold each of the four corners into the center and open back up again.

fold 2

6. Then fold each corner diagonally so the tip touches the center of the opposite fold, then open back up again.

cut four times

7. Cut (as shown) along four of the folds, stopping at the center square.

fold 3

8. Fold two opposites sides into the center again (as shown).

fold 4

9. Fold again along previous folds to form two sides of the box (as shown).

fold 5

10. Tuck the top and bottom pieces over and inside the box.

top or bottom of box

11. This is either the top or bottom of your box. Repeat steps 5-10 for each box top/bottom (50 times). Told you this was time consuming.

assemble the box

12. Slide one box bottom/top into the other. You’ll need to pinch in the sides the first time to make it fit.

the box

13. Each box will look like this when you are done.

number stickers

14. I couldn’t find any packages of just number stickers, so I bought packages of alphabet/number stickers. Three packets gave me just enough numbers (I was one short “1” sticker but I changed an “I” into a “1.” I couldn’t find red stickers, so I bought white ones and colored them red with a Sharpie marker. Color your stickers and let dry before peeling and sticking them on the boxes.

ribbons and string

15. Tie a bunch of little nooses out of the red twine, then tie one noose to each box with a red ribbon bow.

glue the bow and string

16. Apply a small dot of hot glue under the knot of the bow and the string. This will keep the bow and string in place.

hanging box

17. Hang each box by the twine noose.

place chocolate in each box

18. Place candy inside each box. Dove Promises (one of my favorites) fit nicely.

boxes hanging on Christmas tree

19. Hang the boxes on the Christmas tree. Because there are an odd number of boxes and an even number of spaces, you’ll have to choose one branch that has one fewer boxes on it than the other.


20. Stick the tree to your wall with a small piece of double-sided foam tape at the top and bottom of the tree.