Christmas is coming, and we are super excited about this awesome LEGO® advent calendar that you can build yourself! Create an epic Christmas countdown with 24 doors to open. Each space can hold a Hershey’s kiss or another similar candy.
Designing the advent calendar is a fantastic LEGO® challenge for kids. Challenge kids to get creative with all of the different ways that they can build doors for the candy compartments. There is a lot of engineering involved. How large do the compartments need to be? Does the door restrict the movement of the door next to it? How can we fix that? How can we make the structure sturdy and stable?
We built doors that open with hinges, drawers that slide out, doors that open like an oven door, doors that open up from the bottom, and even compartments that swivel open to reveal the candy. One of my favorites is a gear that pushes out a platform with the candy on it. Then we used regular LEGO® house doors and windows as well. It was SO MUCH FUN!
We found a great place to display our LEGO® advent calendar, but it’s going to be hard to keep everyone’s hands out of it until December 1st! It’s just so fun to try out all the doors.
Want to see how it works?
Ready to Build your own LEGO® advent calendar?
You certainly don’t have to build yours the same way as ours, but here are some details about the bricks we used. Throughout the post, I have links to the parts on Brick Link so that you can find them easily.
One of the easiest ways to create a door is with a 1 x 2 plate with a handle and a 1 x 2 plate with two clips.
When you operate the door, the handle/clip plates will come right off if you’re not careful. They need a little reinforcement. I put more plates behind the 1 x 2 plate with two clips. Then I attached the 2 x 4 plate to the underside of that.
With reinforcement on the clips side, I didn’t end up needing reinforcement on the handle side.
I started the advent calendar with a row of 6 compartments. I used a row of 2 x 4 bricks on the back, which ended up being a great idea as it added more stability to the whole thing.
We decided to put 2 x 4 light gray tiles on the bottom of each compartment, but that is not necessary. We own a ton of them from building our LEGO® Foosball Game, so we used them. They do make the candies slide out more easily, and they look nice, but your advent calendar will still work just as well without them.
Make drawers for your advent calendar with 4 x 6 plates. You WILL need tiles on the bottom of each compartment where you have a drawer so that the drawer can slide.
This drawer has a 1 x 2 – 1 x 2 inverted bracket built into the door, and then a 1 x 2 x 1 panel attached to the bracket to make the drawer handle.
Simply set the drawer inside a compartment with tiles on the bottom.
Another way to make a door is by using a 1 x 2 – 1 x 2 hinge plate. If you use two per door, the hinge will be more stable.
This photo shows the hinge door attached to the advent calendar, and on the right side there is also another drawer added with a 1 x 4 x 3 panel (clear) so that you can see the candy. I think it looks awesome with some of these!
As you build, attach the compartment walls to the back row of bricks for stability. It’s not necessary to have every row attach, but do this with at least 2 on each level of the project.
The top left compartment in this photo is a 4 x 4 round plate on top of a 2 x 2 turntable. Turn the compartment to get out the candy! More photos below for this type of compartment design.
Keep adding layers! We used 4 rows of 6 to get 24 compartments.
The easiest way to add each layer is to add a layer of plates between layers. I did not do that on the bottom row – instead, I built one compartment at a time. That didn’t work as well.
The third level is complete with a layer of plates on top, and now there is just one more level to go!
One of our favorite compartments is the one with the gear. Use a 1 x 4 gear rack and a 24 tooth gear to make a platform slide out from the compartment.
Here’s how the gear assembly fits into the advent calendar. Build a 1 x 2 Technic brick into the wall (brick with one hole). Insert a Technic rod through a 40 tooth gear (to use as a handle), then through the Technic brick, then through the 24 tooth gear. When you turn the larger gear backwards, the platform will slide forward.
Here’s another swivel compartment to build. Attach this structure to a 2 x 2 turntable.
The compartment will need to be able to clear all the walls when it turns.
We put some Christmas trees on the top of our completed advent calendar, along with Santa drinking a mug of hot chocolate. 🙂
Need a Christmas gift for a LEGO® fan?
You’ll love our LEGO® books!
Awesome LEGO Creations with Bricks You Already Have – 50 projects to build with that big tub of random bricks, and many of the projects have step-by-step instructions!
Epic LEGO Adventures with Bricks You Already Have – Read 5 hilarious stories, and then build the 38 projects used in the stories! Step-by-step instructions for each project in the book.
Want more LEGO® Christmas project ideas? We’ve got tons!
- 3 Ways to Build a LEGO® Advent Calendar – Here are 3 more ways to build a countdown to Christmas!
- 5 LEGO® Christmas Ornaments to Build – A nutcracker, gingerbread man, penguin, and more.
- 5 LEGO® Christmas Projects to Build – Reindeer ornament, nativity ornament, and more.
- 5 More LEGO® Christmas Projects to Build – including an adorable nativity set
Matthew Kennedy Nov 12, 2017
What Happens if you don't have the right amount of bricks?? Like you don't have all of the bricks that are needed??
Miranda Nov 14, 2017
Improvise! We just made this last night and my boys were in LOVE, totally busy for THREE HOURS.
We used the 'turn table' lego bricks for three of the doors to make little revolving compartments (here's a bricklink: https://www.bricklink.com/v2/catalog/catalogitem.page?P=3680c01#T=C). So many bricks can act like hinges, which are all you need for a door. We used red, white, and green for the front of the building,, but every other color for the parts that don't show. I ordered a Santa minifigure from amazon. We're excited to add him and the candy as the finishing touches tomorrow :)
Karen Formaro Nov 13, 2017
can I buy this kit?
Sarah Nov 13, 2017
No, unfortunately it's not a kit!
Eliza Boyd Nov 13, 2017
Amazing Idea!!! Thanks!
Nicole Nov 13, 2017
Awesome build :-)
Do you have a list of actual pieces needed before you build?
Sarah Nov 17, 2017
For all who are asking for a brick list - A brick list would not be very helpful without a detailed step-by-step building plan, and I'm afraid that I don't have the time to write step-by-step instructions for this project. It's so large that if I take it down, I'll never be able to get it put back together the same way - ha! This project is meant to be a fun challenge for kids with the bricks they have. The compartments are just simple walls, and then I showed the various door mechanisms in the post. I hope you can understand that it's just not feasible to write a step-by-step guide with a parts list for this project!
Kirsten Nov 17, 2017
We love this idea. You have done some great work! Please publish a brick list.
Jeri Nov 18, 2017
Love this! It's a great project to do as a family AND it looks awesome!
BSR Nov 18, 2017
I think people are kind of missing the point :) There is no kit or step by step instructions because it is up to your kids to use their imagination! That is part of the fun! I showed this to my kids and said - it doesn't have to be exactly like this - go have fun and make one! Thank you for posting this - what a great idea and my kids are super excited to put this together.
Sheila Nov 18, 2017
We spent several hours today sorting and creating (and getting side-tracked with other LEGO projects) and we're only 1/2 way done. Thanks for the awesome idea! I can't wait to see the finished project.
Jamie Donaghey Nov 19, 2017
Thanks for the idea. My kids and I had a wonderful Sunday afternoon with this project. We sifted through every Lego basket, tub, and stash I could find, and we made it work. Great fun. I wish I could share a pic; the kids are super proud of it.
Max Nov 20, 2017
Yasmine Dec 1, 2017
Congratulations on creating the best advent calendar ever!
Susan Dec 1, 2017
Thanks for the great inspiration! I love how our turned out.
Nichole Watt Dec 3, 2017
You inspired me to make one for my girls. We had a blast. Thank you for the idea!
Amanda Dec 6, 2017
So glad I saw this post! My girls and I built ours yesterday and I don’t know which of us enjoyed it more, them or me! We’ve purchased the LEGO advent calendars before, so now I just need to rustle up one of the Santas to go on the top as a finishing touch. Thanks for the idea!!!
Samantha Dec 1, 2018
Hello! This looks awesome. I don't currently own LEGO (Don't have kids yet) so I was wondering what pieces are "mandatory" for me to get (such as the base, etc). And I am wondering how exactly the back of it was built
Evelyn Webb Oct 9, 2020
I saved this idea a couple of years ago..well 3..and the baby I was busy with is now 4. I'm going to set him and his 9 year old sister a challenge to build the calendar for our Christmas family gathering and find a little present for each person to go in the sections. There are 13 of us these days, so the challenge is on. The biggest problem will be keeping it secret. Thankyou for your wonderful ideas. We've just finished two weeks of school holidays and your blog keeps me sane on the odd day when we need quiet time. Life for us in Perth, Western Australia is a new normal, but so much easier than anywhere else in the world right now. God Bless everyone and stay safe.
Mercy Nov 17, 2020
I've been looking at the Lego Advent calendar sets, to choose one to purchase. But, now I've decided designing and building one is going to be much more fun! This year we won't be able to host our large Thanksgiving family gathering because of COVID-19. I think this will be a great family project to keep us busy and distracted that day. Thanks for sharing!
Eudoxie Finch Nov 17, 2020
That is awesome. what a wonderful idea!
Avani Nov 26, 2020
What can I use if I don’t have any gears but have a gear rack? Please answer to this.
Sarah Nov 27, 2020
If you want to use the gear rack, you'll need a gear to go with it. What about making a platform that just slides out? You could make the platform long enough to stick out in the back of the advent calendar and then push it forward with your hand. Or, just stick to doors. :-)
Lisa Dec 7, 2020
This was so much fun to make with my son ☺️ Thank you for all the fun things you post... I was going to put a picture of ours but I don't know how 😆 Take care and stay safe
Jane Nov 4, 2021
Sarah, this is really genius! You are building brilliant minds!
We’ll try it.
Sara Nov 17, 2021
Thanks for the idea, so wonderful!
Anne Nov 12, 2022
We are having so much fun building this. Thank you for the great idea!
Jennie Nov 14, 2022
I think I have all of your books, but I can’t find this in them. My grandson is 6 and does better if I make a big pile of which blocks it will take to finish. Is there a block list somewhere? He was very excited about this build. It might be the coming of the holiday, or possibly the chocolate.
Sarah Nov 15, 2022
This project is not in one of our books. Unfortunately, I don't have a parts lists for this one. My original intent was for kids to use the bricks they have and make modifications based on what pieces they have. Sorry!
Post a Comment