Origami Shirt Advent Calendar

Our origami shirt folds neatly into a mini bag so you can add treats to count down the days until Christmas! We take you through step-by-step so you can make your own ‘fashionable’ advent calendar.

But first, a Happy Thanksgiving to our American friends and readers :).

I practiced on brown paper to get the hang of it.

Make any size you wish. But it really all depends on what you’d like to put in your advent calendar.

You can stick with brown paper for your finished advent calendar. As for me, I’m switching to colourful paper for this origami shirt tutorial!

However, for that extra cute factor, you can actually make these adorable mini origami shirt bags with fabric (more about that later)!

Time for our Monthly Blog Hop

It’s time for another Creative Craft blog hop! So if you are visiting from Terrie at Decorate & More with Tip, welcome! At the very bottom of this post, I’ll be directing you to the next stop on this venture. But don’t forget to check out the other stops too. Be sure to drop back in throughout the week to visit them all!

Materials for Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar Video

Watch this video for our tutorial on how to make our adorable mini origami shirt bags.

Advent begins on Sunday that falls between November 27th and December 3rd each yea. Regarding this year, advent 2021 begins on Sunday, November 28th, and ends on Friday, December 24. Do you celebrate advent with your family? If so, check out 5 ways to celebrate advent as a family.

Before we get to the tutorial, get your craft mojo on at Birdz of a Feather and subscribe here if you don’t want to miss another unique idea!  Follow us and you’ll get an e-mail next time we post a new project. You can also follow us on PinterestFacebookYouTube and Instagram.

Cut Squares

I’m using a variety of colourful upcycled paper we found in my Dad’s office. Why he had such a big pile of colour paper is beyond me, but it makes for great crafting!

We’re starting with an 8″ square but you can make this bigger if desired. For the plaid fabric version, stick around for our trick near the end.

8" x 8" sheet of yellow paper for origami shirt advent calendar

How to Fold a Mini Origami Shirt Bag

Fold paper in half from top to bottom and crease.

Fold sheet of paper in half to start origami shirt advent calendar

Bring the lower edge to the top edge, but only make a small crease at the edges.

Number Stencil the Origami Shirt

This is where you can add the numbers for your advent calendar. Use a number stencil, like this one that is part of the Antiques Stencil from Old Sign Stencils. By the way, I’ve used the Antiques stencil itself for this refinish a coffee table diy and this milk can decor, so it comes in handy for more than just numbering!

Pencil crayons, pen and number stencil shown with origami shirt mini bag with number one on the front

If you happen to forget the numbers (like I did on the video), you can add them at the end. But it’s much easier to do while the paper is still flat.

Approximately 2″ down from the centre fold, make a faint mark.

Line up the top of the number stencil to the mark and outline in pen.

Then filled in with a coloured pencil, like this silver one. Alternatively, you can get fancy and do drop shadows, or go simple and just use a marker instead.

Practice with pencil crayons and pen to create number for your origami shirt advent calendar

Now, back to folding! Flip the paper over and pinch along fold in centre.

Pinch fold in centre for origami shirt advent calendar

Bring the fold to the crease marks and press down.
Bring the fold to the crease marks and press down for origami shirt

Fold bottom edge up to top edge.

Press along edge.

Fold back down and press pleat downward.

Fold back down and press pleat downward for origami shirt bag

Turn right corner of pleat up to horizontal line to form a triangle.

Do the same on the left side.

Open out paper flat.

Open out paper flat for origami shirtFlip paper over and fold in top and bottom as shown.

Note: If making the fabric version, you won’t be flipping the paper over to do this step; it’s done on the same side.

Leave folded and flip over, turning 90 degrees. Bring bottom edge to just underneath the point of the triangle and press along the bottom edge.

Fold back down and turn 180 degrees. Again, bring bottom edge to just underneath the ‘V’ of the triangle as shown, press andd fold.

Bottom of Origami Bag

Bring top edges together, pinch top fold and bring down to meet bottom fold.Pleat together for bottom of bag for origami shirt

Press along edge to fold.

Here’s how it should look with the number:

Number two on front of origami shirt bag

Fold down and open as shown (number is now on the opposite side).

two hands opening folds of origami shirt

Sides of Origami Shirt Bag

Fold right side into the centre. 

Bring the lower horizontal fold down to meet the outer edge.

As you bring the edges together crease to form a triangle as shown. Finger press right along into the corner.

Open right side out. Now do the same on the left side: fold the left side toward centre, bringing the lower horizontal fold together with the side by pushing down toward the left edge.

Folding the sides of the bag for origami shirt Finger press along the inside into the corner to form a diagonal fold. Open left side out.

Turn 180 degrees and repeat the same process along the right and left sides.

Open and turn 90 degrees. On the lower righthand side, make note of where the centre line.

Front of Mini Origami Bag

Fold the bottom edge up, then fold the upper edge back along the centre line now underneath. Crease the paper to approx. 3/4 of the way across, stopping when you get to the diagonal line.

Pre folds for collar of origami shirt Turn 180 degrees and fold the paper upward. This time, we’re working on the lower left side. Again, make note of where the centre line is underneath, then fold the upper edge back along where the line is underneath. Crease the paper to around 3/4 of the way across, stopping when you get to the diagonal line.

When you turn the paper 90 degrees counter-clockwise, this is how it should look:

completed folds in centre for origami shirt collarNow take this opportunity to fold the two lines you just did in the opposition direction and re-crease the folds (you can also do this later, but I find it easier to do now).

Back of Origami Shirt

Open and turn 180 degrees so you’re working on the opposite end. If the centre is cover hidden, open it out so you have 3 column showing. Now fold the bottom right corner 45 degrees to form a triangles.

Do the same on the left side.

Bending up the corners for origami shirt

Two triangles done.Both right and left corners bent for origami shirt

Fold the bottom edge upward so you’re creasing from the point of the ‘V’. Crease along that edge out to the sides. Fold at point of 'V' for origami shirt

Press well to fold.


Fold back down. Now fold in the left side as shown. Then fold back along the dotted line.

Form the shirt sleeve for origami shirt

Finger press into the corner.

The side should look like this, forming a triangular gusset:

Put back down on the table and fold in the right edge in the same manner. Push upward so the triangle meets the edge along the side.

Finger press into the corner.

Turn the work 90 degrees counter clockwise. Push outward against the two gussets just formed. 

Now, fold the bottom edge upward so the triangles on the sides are pointing outward in opposite directions as shown.

Press two triangles facing away from centre for origami shirt On the left side, fold along the diagonal to bend back the tip and press down.

Fold down to meet the right outer edge and finger press.

Open. Now, bring the right side over the left. Fold the tip extending from the diagonal as you did on the left side. You have now formed the bottom of the bag.

Turn 90 degrees clockwise. If you didn’t do it in the previous step, refold the two edges shown so they fold .

Now we’re folding in the left edge to form the side of the bag.

Fold along the diagonal, pinching along the edge.

Do the same with the other side. 

Turn toward you. Bring the two folds together in the centre.

Fold the bottom edge upward in half as shown.

Fold the bottom edge upward for origami shirtNow fold the top edge in half in a downward direction and finger press each side separately if too thick.

Open the fold downward.

Origami Shirt Collar

Bring the bottom right corner up to the centre. This forms the collar. Turn to the other side.

folding right side of collar of origami shirt mini bag for advent calendarSimilarly to the other side, bring the bottom left corner up to the centre to meet in the middle. Finger press.Folding the collar of the origami shirt advent calendar

Turn 90 degrees to the left. Bring the bottom section up. Then tuck the points of the collar over the edge to hold the bag closed. All done.

Front & Back of Origami Shirt Bag

Here’s how the bag should look from the front and back.

Hand holding origami shirt showing front of mini bag


Back of origami shirt

Now make 23 more to create an advent calendar, numbering each one.

Fill the Origami Shirt Bag

Pop a bag open to put in some treats. Of course, you could tuck in the obvious choice and use sweets. But if you have a budding fashionista in the family, or want to keep with the fashion theme, put in sewing findings such as bobbins…

Fill the mini origami shirt with treats or sewing findings for a unique advent calendar

Or these Thread Mates. They are invaluable for keeping the bobbins and tread together!

Thread mates are one example of how to fill the origami shirt advent calendar

I’d love to know: what do you put in YOUR advent calendars?

Advent Calendar Ideas

How to Make the Origami Shirt with Fabric

You can turn this mini paper origami shirt into an actual fabric advent calendar with one simple trick!

I cut up a pair of old Christmas pj’s for this fabric version of the mini origami shirt. However, it’s best to use a lighter weight fabric so it’s easier to fold.

Heat up an iron. Then Iron on a piece of freezer paper, shiny side down. The shiny side is plastic and will stick to the fabric once heated.

Cut around the edge with scissors.

Fold exactly like the step-by-step origami shirt tutorial above.

Since the fabric / freezer paper combo is thicker than just paper alone, you will need to iron some of the thicker parts so they stay in place. Especially if you upcycle Christmas pj’s like I did!

When you iron, pay particular attention to the collar.

And also iron the bottom to keep the sleeves nicely creased.

Finishing the Paper Advent Calendar

Gather all your origami shirts.

Because this calendar is popping with colour, I cut lengths of Scrubby Sparkle yarn in the colours shown below. I love sparkle yarn and even used it extensively for my crochet coral reef!

4 colourful scrubby sparkle yarns to string the origami shirt advent calendar

Displaying the Advent Calendar

Tie them onto your frame of choice. Since, the width of the frame will determine how many shirts you can hang on each line, I’m doing a test run here. Then add colourful mini clothes pins.Putting together the origami shirt advent calendar with yarn and mini clothes pins

Advent Calendar Reveal

We’re displaying our advent calendar on last year’s Christmas Sleigh Decor. In this top section, we can display 12 of the 24 origami shirts.

You could easily display the whole calendar on our upcycled Sleigh. In order to show you another cool advent calendar display idea with these mini shirt bags, we’re saving the other 12. Besides, we’re enjoying our gnome DIY sitting on the shelf! His hat lights up and it looks awesome at night! Be sure to check out the other half of our advent calendar with this washboard decor idea :).

Mini origami shirt advent calendar displaying on upcycled vintage sleigh

I hope this step-by-step shirt bag tutorial is helpful! However, if you’re looking for a simple origami project to start, check out our easy paper holiday ornament.

Want more holiday inspiration? Check out these 31 Christmas Craft Ideas for Adults!

Pin Origami Shirt Advent Calendar

Pinning is always welcome and appreciated!

Craft Ideas from the Creative Craft Blog Hop

To get into the Seasonal spirit, you have to check out the Vintage Hankie Ornaments – No Sewing or Cutting! from our friend Cecilia at My Thrift Store Addiction. When you’re done visiting Cecilia, come right back to visit these other amazing talents below:

13 thoughts on “Origami Shirt Advent Calendar

  1. Wow, Sara! Your origami shirt advent calendar is so cute and very creative! What a unique idea! I love the fabric one, too! Do you think fusible interfacing would work instead of paper?

    • Thanks Gail! If you use the fusible, you’ll likely have to iron at each step to hold the folds. The freezer paper helps retain the shape because it creases just like paper 🙂

  2. What a cute idea! I am not sure I have the patience for origami, but I love your idea! Happy holidays! Blessings, Cecilia @My Thrift Store Addiction

    • Thanks Cecelia! It does take a while of practice before you get it down, but it sure is fun to learn 🙂

    • Thanks so much Marie! I didn’t think the sleigh could get more colourful but it did lol!

  3. This is such a clever idea, Sara. I love how you displayed them on a toboggan!

    • Glad you like this because you’ll be seeing them again tomorrow lol! I have another display idea to share 🙂

  4. Shoooo, they’re so adorable and I’m guessing once you’ve done the first one it becomes easier. On that note thanks a mil for including the video, Sara. It makes it really easy to follow the instructions.

    • Thanks Mix! There are plenty of videos online showing how to make a shirt bag but not one that explains it verbally so I just had to up the ante :). Once you do a few it does become a LOT easier – expecially when you’re making 24 of them for an advent calendar. I can now do them in my sleep lol!

    • Aw thanks Jenna! You’re always such a cheerleader; I love that 🙂

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