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Merry & light

Project ideas and inspiration from Haven magazine

In the spirit of Haven, make this advent calendar your own. Use a combination of Resene testpot colours and wallpaper, and materials you have around the house, and style it to suit your Christmas decorating theme.

Make an advent calendar from found items in your house

Harper buffet and Ester star, both from Freedom. Other items stylist’s own.

You will need


  1. Collect an assortment of boxes in different shapes and sizes. Check out your local stationer or $2 shop, or recycle some old ones – they will be covered or painted, so it doesn’t matter if there’s lettering or branding on them.

  2. Arrange the boxes, making a tree-like pyramid. Start with the biggest ones at the bottom, for stability. Once you have a stack you are happy with, take a photo to record which boxes go where.

  3. Pick your palette! Head to your nearest Resene ColorShop and choose wallpaper and testpots of Resene paint you love that will complement your interior style. If you have offcuts of wallpaper from a previous project, take them with you to help you select paint colours. You’ll need 25 options in total. For added variety, paint patterns onto the boxes using different combinations of your colours.

  4. Get painting and covering! Wrap the boxes and lids with wallpaper, just as you would with a gift, and use double-sided tape to stick it all down. If you’ve chosen a tonal palette, have fun with selecting random boxes to paint – they will all go together in the end. Once the boxes are covered, paint a number for the designated day on the outside of each one, or on a separate tag if you’d like to re-use them as giftboxes in the future. These can be hidden for a more minimal look.

  5. Fill the boxes with gifts, and assemble your tree! Top with a star ornament and step back and marvel at your creation. You can use any spare wallpaper for a Christmas table runner, and spare testpots to paint other Christmas accessories to tone in with your decorating theme.

What we used

1. Resene Bone. 2. Resene Kalgoorie Sands. 3. Resene Wallpaper Collection Z44552. 4. Resene Half Sour Dough. 5. Resene Alamo. 6. Resene Blank Canvas. 7. Resene Sante Fe. 8. Resene Wallpaper Collection 467178. 9. Resene Wallpaper Collection 36786. 10. Resene Pearl Bush. 12. Resene Leather. 13. Resene Wallpaper Collection 525922. 14. Resene Sand. 15. Resene Quarter Sisal. 16. Resene Rodeo Dust. 17. Resene Quarter Drought. 18. Resene Pearl Lusta. 19. Resene Cashmere. 20. Resene Coral. 21. Resene Just Right. 22. Resene Alpaca. 23. Resene Half Drought. 24. Resene Wafer. 25. Resene Wallpaper Collection Z44552.

Photography: Reuben Looi. Styling: Catherine Wilkinson. December 2021.

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Projects from Haven magazine
Learn how to make these DIY projects from Haven magazine. View ideas and inspiration in Resene weekend DIY.

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Colours shown on this website are a representation only. Please refer to the actual paint or product sample. Resene colour charts, testpots and samples are available for ordering online.   See measurements/conversions for more details on how electronic colour values are achieved.