How to Make a Bottle-Cap Advent Calendar

Start an affordable annual tradition using recyclable items.

Make your own advent calendar using bottle caps. Follow these instructions by Michael Strong.

Materials and Tools:

2 sheets 8-1/2" x 11" green card stock
8-1/2" x 11" red card stock
24 plastic caps from individual-size water bottles
recycled Christmas cards or wrapping paper
white glue
1/4" double-sided tape
1" and 1-1/2" round hole punch
regular hand-grip hole punch
scissors
paper cutter
ribbon or raffia
24 charms, trinkets, coins, wrapped candy, etc., for prizes

Steps:

1. From one 8-1/2" x 11" sheet of green card stock, punch out 24 circles using the 1-1/2-inch round hole punch. From the same sheet, punch out 26 circles using the 1-inch round hole punch.

2. From the recycled Christmas cards, punch out 24 circles using the 1-inch round hole punch. Note: Punch areas on many different cards that have some similarity such as color or design elements that will look good together.

3. Using a paper cutter, trim the 8-1/2" x 11" red card stock to measure 8" x 10-1/2." Glue the red card stock to the center of the remaining green sheet of card stock.

4. Using white glue, attach a 1-inch circle punched from the recycled Christmas cards to a 1-1/2-inch green circle. Be sure to center it. Repeat until all 24 of the 1-1/2-inch circles are decorated.

5. On the reverse side of the decorated 1-1/2-inch circle, glue a 1-inch green circle. Be sure to center it. Repeat until all 24 of the 1-inch circles have been glued into place. Note: This circle is your glue guide. Note: We used white circles on the show because they show up better than green.

6. Fill each of the 24 bottle caps with a prize.

7. Apply some white glue to the reverse side of the decorated circle. Glue around the smaller circle you put in place earlier.

8. Place the decorated circle over the filled bottle cap, making sure it is centered. Press gently to seal. Note: If adjusting the position, you will feel the smaller circle inside the cap. This will let you know the decorated circle is centered. Repeat until all the caps have been filled and sealed.

9. Position all the sealed caps picture side up together so that you may place a heavy book on top of them to facilitate the sealing process. Leave book in place for at least a half hour.

10. Take the book off the caps and turn them all over. Cut small pieces of the super tape and apply to the reverse of each cap. Peel away the plastic liner from the tape.

11. Beginning at the top center of the green bordered red card stock, place one decorated cap picture side up. Press gently to seal. This is the top of your Christmas tree shape.

12. Begin a second row using two decorated caps. Try to align the decorated caps with very little space between them. Place and press three caps in the next row down. In the fourth row,  place and press four caps. Place and press five caps in the next row down.

13. In the sixth and final row of the tree, place and press six decorated caps. Skip the next row and place the remaining three decorated caps at the bottom center of the red card stock.

14. Glue two of the 1-inch green circles to the top left-hand corner and top right-hand corner of the red card stock.

15. Punch holes through the center of each of the corner circles using the regular hole punch.

16. Thread ribbon or raffia through the holes at the top of the calendar and hang on a wall or on the refrigerator.

17. Begin opening the decorated caps from the bottom, saving the top of the tree for Christmas Eve.

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