Adorable DIY pet advent calendar tutorial

DIY Pet Advent Calendar

November 17, 2016 by Michelle

This shop featuring my DIY Pet Advent Calendar has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #ToPetsWithLove #CollectiveBias

Perfect DIY Pet advent calendar idea

I’m one of those curmudgeons who doesn’t want to hear about Christmas until after Thanksgiving. Usually. I’m being a total hypocrite this year, but you’ll understand why. To me, Christmas is all about love and joy and sharing that love and joy with everyone around you. It’s been a rough month, and I need some love and joy in my life right about now.

I’m guessing you might, too.

Since I work from home, I spend all day with my cats, and they’ve noticed my mood. Roar keeps crawling under the covers and cuddling up with me. Meow and Roar both jump on my lap and “help” me work all day long, especially when I’m stressed. They even know when I’m in a mood and can’t have them sitting across my arms and will instead perch on the couch just next to me but not quite touching me. They’re smart like that.

Needless to say, I do my best to show my love to them, too. I feed them the best food I can, give them fresh water in a clean bowl daily, and yes, they get their share of pets and cuddles from me.

Earlier this week, I made my weekly trip to Mariano’s to pick up our fruits and veggies for the week, and I realized I was low on cat food, too. Fortunately, Mariano’s has a great pet section, too, so I don’t have to make a stop at a specialty pet store, especially not this time of year. As I was picking up some more dry food, I decided that this would be the perfect chance to show them some extra love.

As I browsed all the pet food, treats, and toys in the aisle, I debated what to pick up. Obviously, my cats don’t “get” presents, but I wanted something fun to perk up my mood as much as theirs. I love making gifts, and I’ve already decided that there are a lot of people this year who will be getting jars of my homemade espresso hot fudge sauce and jars of my homemade marshmallow fluff. Homemade gifts rock!

That’s when inspiration hit. I picked up a bag of Whisker Lickin′s cat treats and some Fancy Feast Purely wet food, and that’s where this DIY pet advent calendar was born. Why those two? I love that Fancy Feast Purely features real seafood, chicken, or beef and never any by-products or fillers. Whisker Lickin’s includes two delicious types of treats for your cat to indulge in: Crunchy & Yummy and Soft & Delicious. I know my cats love the variety.

Purina at Mariano's

So a DIY pet advent calendar? Yup, absolutely. An advent calendar has always been one of my favorite things to use to welcome the coming season. I can’t include chocolate for my cats, but that doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the fun of opening one day’s treats at a time.

DY 1 cat advent calendar

I scooped up the other items I’d need to make the DIY pet advent calendar, then I scooted on home. This is one Christmas decoration I couldn’t wait to make. And I’m pretty sure that if you’re a cat lover, you’ll want to make one, too. I created a free printable for each of the days of advent so yours will be even easier to put together than mine was!

How to Make a DIY Pet Advent Calendar

All you need is:

  • 16×20″ picture frame
  • 24 one ounce twist top metal tins (you don’t want your cats opening their treat early!)
  • Printed date sheets
  • 1.75″ hole punch
  • Spray adhesive
  • Glue dots
  • Fancy Feast Purely wet food (as many or few “extra special” treats as you want to include
  • Whisker Lickin’s treats (feel free to substitute pieces of Beggin’ Strips or certificates for other Purina dog treats if you’re making this for your favorite pup instead of a cat)

Items for DIY pet advent calendar

Start by printing the two printables that have days 1-24 labeled on them. (Isn’t Roar a good model?)

Free printable DIY Pet Advent Calendar

Trim the edge slightly as needed to allow the first date to slide into your hole punch window. Ensure it’s lined up and pop it through, then repeat for days 2-24.

Center label in the hole punch

Clean the tops of your twist top tins to ensure they have no residue or dust on them, and dry thoroughly.

Find a safe surface in a well-ventilated area (I used an old piece of cardboard I keep around for crafting), and place all 30 circles upside down on the surface. You don’t want to accidentally set a new circle where you’ve sprayed previously and risk it sticking to the cardboard!

Spray your first circle with the spray adhesive, and quickly center it right side up onto the top of a metal tin. Repeat for the remaining circles, spraying and adhering to the tin right away rather than spraying all and then trying to adhere them one by one.

Spray advent calendar labels

Let your spray adhesive dry thoroughly per canister instructions. If you choose, you could lightly go over the top of your decoupage glue to give it a shiny finish that will repel water better, but I left mine without it. I didn’t want to mar the finish of the tins.

Add labels to tins

Once your adhesive has dried, open each tin and place 3-5 treats inside each tin. You can give 2 treats per pound of body weight, up to 10 treats max per day. I also added sheets in a couple tins to note the days Roar and Meow will also get the Fancy Feast Purely wet food, and of course the 24th was one of those days!

Add treats to tins

If your cats are anything like mine, they’ll swarm you as soon a they hear the sound of you picking up the bag.

Meow wants cat treats

Go ahead and give them a treat. Or two. Because…why not? It’s the season of giving, right?

Sneaking cat treats

Close up each tin again, and pull out the frame you plan to use for your DIY pet advent calendar. Determine the arrangement that works best for you. I used a 16×20 inch frame with my one ounce tins (that are about 1.75″ diameter each). You can create rows, random designs, or a tree like I did. Part of the fun for me usually is to hunt for the correct day rather than going in a line, but choose to design your DIY pet advent calendar however you choose to.

Lay out tins in Christmas tree design

Once your design is set, pick up your tins one at a time and adhere a glue dot to the bottom of the tin.

Add glue dot to bottom of tine for DIY pet advent calendar

Replace it in the exact place it started, being sure that the tin faces up. This is also why I added the treats first, so there’s no need to open and close and try to match up the numbers after gluing them on!

Replace tins in original position

Once your DIY pet advent calendar is fully assembled, step back to admire your work. Place it somewhere you will remember to open it daily. To be honest, I think it turned out really cute. I plan to use it as part of my holiday decor, but after Thanksgiving when I pull it out, of course!

Adorable DIY pet advent calendar tutorial

Do you like this DIY pet advent calendar? I’m not alone in my creativity, so check out some other awesome ideas here. Whether you choose to make this special gift for the cat (or dog – this would be so fun for dog owners, too!), you can pick up your favorite Purina pet products from Mariano’s (and other Kroger stores) through the end of November with with this link, while supplies last.

Like this idea? Check out my oh so fun tutorial on how to make your own cat toys – use those pesky socks that never match up again – or this easy DIY cat treat toy that my cats absolutely adore. And don’t forget to sign up for my weekly newsletter so you don’t miss any other fun crafts or recipes!

Have you ever seen a DIY pet advent calendar? Would you make one?

DIY pet advent calendar tutorial. Spoil your pets this Christmas with this make your own reusable advent calendar that features your pets with a free printable.


  • Jenna Wood

    This turned out great! I’ve been wanting to make one from toilet paper rolls- that the cats could tear into and bat around- but I also love this idea of being able to reuse it! #client

    • Michelle

      Thanks, Jenna. That’s a fun idea for cats to really get into it, too. I know anything that involves my cats makes them happy.

  • Lisa

    I love this idea. I have 3 beautiful cats that are my life. Can’t wait to try this out. Thank you so much x

    • Michelle

      You’re welcome – I hope you enjoy it. We had fun with it 🙂

  • C Taggart

    Hi I wanted to make this but I’m confused on the frame thing ?
    What part of the frame do you use I was gonna use
    Cardboard because I’m planning too make a few

    • Michelle

      I stuck the tins to the glass on the frame – so the whole frame was used. It had a black matting behind it, so it looks all black (frame and mat). The glass meant that if I made a mistake, I could lift the tin and replace it in the right spot if I was off a little without ripping anything. If you use standard cardboard, the size tin I used looks great on a 16×20 piece. I wouldn’t go smaller than that. I hope that helps!

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