Learn how to make this fun Christmas Day Countdown Sign for your home with this easy tutorial!
I absolutely love to countdown to Christmas — it’s my favorite holiday! If you’re anything like me, or maybe you have kids who keep asking you “When is Christmas?” then this is the perfect project for you. My Christmas Day Countdown sign is easy to make, and the end result is a fun and decorative project. Your family can enjoy changing the number each day as you countdown to Christmas Day! So for Day 1 of the 25-Day Gift-Away, I am showing you how to make a Christmas Day Countdown Sign!
See exactly how to make a Christmas Day Countdown Sign in my tutorial video (or keep scrolling if you prefer a printable step-by-step photo tutorial):
This Christmas Day Countdown sign is easy to make, and the end result is a fun and decorative project. You and your family will love changing the number each day as you countdown to Christmas Day!
For this project, we’re using a 16 inch x 20 inch wood painting panel that we’ve covered in Christmas red acrylic paint. We’ll decorate the panel with white permanent adhesive vinyl, gold glitter vinyl, and black chalkboard vinyl. Chalkboard vinyl lets you write and erase with a piece of chalk or chalk marker, so it’s ideal for a countdown sign! I’ll even show you how to attach the chalk marker to the side of your sign so you don’t lose it!
Tools used in this tutorial include a Cricut cutting machine to cut out the vinyl, a paintbrush to paint the sign, a weeding tool to remove the extra vinyl, a ruler and chalk to help center the lettering on the sign, and a scraper tool to help the vinyl stick better to your sign.
This sign project is great for learning how to use these three different types of vinyl, as well as both types of transfer tape — regular grip and strong grip!
Here’s the Christmas Day Countdown Sign made by Grandi, my team’s “Wonder Woman,” for her family:
So let me show you where to find the free design pattern for this project, and then I’ll show you how to paint and assemble it! This post contains some affiliate links for your convenience (which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link I will earn a small commission but it won’t cost you a penny more)! Read my full disclosure policy.
Materials to Make a Christmas Day Countdown Sign
- One (1) painting panel (I used this 16″ x 20″ panel)
- One (1) bottle of acrylic paint (Christmas Red)
- One (1) 12″ x 8″ piece of Black Chalkboard Vinyl
- One (1) 6″ x 7″ piece of Permanent Glitter Vinyl – Gold
- One (1) 12″ x 12″ sheet of Permanent Adhesive Vinyl – White
- Transfer Tape (regular grip and strong grip)
- One (1) Liquid Chalk Marker (or regular chalk)
- Small 3″ strip of 1/2″ wide Velcro
- (Optional) Spray Gloss Finish
- A way to cut your vinyl (I used the Cricut Maker cutting machine but it can also be cut on a Cricut Explore or Cricut Joy)
- Cricut StandardGrip Cutting Mat
- Large flat paintbrush
- Weeding Tool
- Painter’s Tape
- Design #252 – My free Christmas Day Countdown Pattern (available in my free resource library—get the password by filling out the form at the bottom of this page)
How to Make a Christmas Day Countdown Sign
- One (1) painting panel sign 16" x 20"
- One (1) bottle of DecoArt Christmas Red paint
- One (1) 12" x 8" piece of Chalkboard Vinyl in Black
- One (1) 6" x 7" piece of Permanent Glitter Vinyl in Gold Glitter
- One (1) 12" x 12" sheet of Permanent Adhesive Vinyl in White
- One (1) 12" x 12" sheet of Transfer Tape (Regular Grip)
- One (1) Liquid Chalk Marker (or regular chalk)
- Small 3" strip of 1/2" wide Velcro
- Spray Gloss Finish (optional)
- Design #252 - My free Christmas Day Countdown SVG (available in my free resource library/get the password by filling out the form at the bottom of this page)
STEP 1: GET MY FREE CHRISTMAS DAY COUNTDOWN SIGN FILE
Get the free Christmas Day Countdown Sign SVG cut file from my free resource library. You'll find the password to the library in the form at the bottom of this post.
You can find the pattern by searching the page for design "252" — you can get an SVG cut file for cutting with a Cricut or another cutting machine, and a printable PDF for cutting by hand.
STEP 2: PAINT THE COUNTDOWN SIGN
I recommend painting the panel sign the day prior so the paint has time to dry. Apply light layers of paint with a wet paintbrush. If needed, apply a second layer. Apply the paint with effortless strokes in the direction of the wood grain. Here I am applying my second coat of paint.
STEP 3: CUT THE COUNTDOWN DESIGN
You can cut this project by hand or with a cutting machine. If you'd prefer to cut this pattern out with your Cricut cutting machine, here’s what the Christmas Countdown Sign SVG cut file will look like once uploaded to Cricut Design Space. Don't worry about the way it looks here — just click the "Make It" button to cut it out.
Tip: If you're not sure how to upload an SVG cut file to Cricut Design Space, watch this helpful video training series I made.
My Christmas Day Countdown Sign uses three different types of vinyl. The lettering and snowflakes use premium vinyl, also known as permanent adhesive vinyl. The black belt uses chalkboard vinyl and the gold belt buckle uses glitter vinyl. Make sure that you choose the appropriate material for each mat before cutting.
Be sure to place your adhesive vinyl pretty side UP on your cutting mat — you do NOT have to mirror adhesive vinyl.
After your vinyl is cut, weed the pieces with a weeding tool.
Next, apply regular transfer tape on the lettering. You'll want to use strong grip transfer tape for the gold glitter vinyl — look inside your roll of vinyl for a sheet of Strong Grip transfer tape.
I did not use transfer tape for the chalkboard vinyl pieces because they are very easy to handle.
STEP 4: ASSEMBLE THE CHRISTMAS DAY COUNTDOWN SIGN
With all your vinyl pieces ready it's now time to put the sign together. Find the horizontal center of your sign and measure 10.25" from the top of the sign. This is where the top of the belt buckle will be placed. I used a chalk pencil to mark this on my sign.
Fold the belt buckle vinyl in half and then put a slight crease in the vinyl to identify the center.
Remove the backing from the Belt Buckle (Glitter Vinyl). Take the largest piece of chalkboard vinyl and layer it behind the belt buckle vinyl.
This is what your piece should look like on the front.
Remove the backing from the layered belt buckle/chalkboard piece. Center it on your board with the top edge of the vinyl at 10.25" from the top of the sign. Use a scraper tool to press the vinyl down.
Remove the transfer tape from the vinyl buckle.
Use a ruler to align the right side of the chalkboard belt.
Remove the backing from the chalkboard vinyl and add it to the sign.
Use a ruler to align the left side of the chalkboard belt and apply it to the sign.
Use a knife to cut the excess chalkboard vinyl from the sign.
Align the "Ho! Ho! Ho!" lettering so the top of the words measures 1" down from the top of the sign.
There are approximately 3" on each side of Ho! Ho! Ho!
Use your scraper tool and apply the vinyl to your sign.
This is what your sign should look like at this point.
Now it's time to add "Christmas comes in" to the sign. I placed "Christmas" approximately 4.5" from the top and centered.
There are approximately 2" on each side of the word Christmas.
Remove the backing from the lettering and apply the vinyl to the sign with a scraping tool.
The last piece of lettering to add is the word 'Days'. Center the vinyl below the belt buckle and use a scraping tool to apply the vinyl to the sign.
Next, take the snowflakes and place them on your sign. Feel free to adjust the size of the snowflakes before cutting them and even add more by using the duplicate tool in Cricut Design Space. This is where I placed my snowflakes. Use your scraping tool to apply all the snowflakes to the Christmas Day Countdown Sign.
If you plan to apply a clear coat to the top of your sign (optional), make sure all of your vinyl pieces are thoroughly applied to the sign. Next, use some painter's tape to cover the chalkboard vinyl.
Using some velcro, wrap the soft side of the velcro around your chalkboard marker.
Take the prickly side of the velcro and stick it to one side of your sign. Now your chalkboard marker will always be with your Christmas Day Countdown Sign.
To make this sign easy to put up for the holidays without additional nails in the wall, I applied Command strips to the back of the sign. So when the holiday is over the sign is easy to remove without any damage to your wall.
STEP 5: SHOW IT OFF
And this is what my finished Christmas Day Countdown Sign looks like. Isn't this festive? I love the bright red sign! But my favorite thing is how easy it is to write the number of days until Christmas arrives!
There are no fonts used in this project. All text is hand lettered.
Special thanks to the JenniferMaker Design Fairy Team, specifically Design Fairy Caitlin, for helping me design and assemble this awesome design.
Answers to Your Questions About The Christmas Day Countdown Sign
Q: What can I use instead of a wood frame?
Two common options are canvas or corrugated cardboard. Both of these will work great!
Q: Do you need to seal the vinyl on to the wood?
Sealing is optional, but you do not need to seal this project. If you would like to seal we have a spray gloss finish listed on our Amazon List on this blog post.
Q: What can I use instead of chalkboard vinyl?
You can use chalkboard paint instead of the chalkboard vinyl. You can also use all black vinyl and then instead of writing the numbers you can put in little hooks and hang small signs with the numbers on them, and switch out the numbers daily. Some people have said they have used Post It notes with the number written on it!
Q: Is this durable enough to be kept outside?
Yes, if you can keep it out of the elements. The chalk pen will run if it gets wet, so you will just have to make sure your porch has an overhang to help protect it from getting wet.
Q: Can you use spray paint?
Absolutely! Just be safe and use spray paint in a well ventilated area.
Get my free SVG files to make a Christmas Day Countdown Sign
Answers to Your Questions
Q: Can I use something else besides the painting panel you have in your supply list?
A: Yes! You can use anything flat, mostly smooth, and sturdy. Try a piece of wood from the home improvement store, a canvas, foamcore, or even a strong piece of cardboard. Just make sure your surface is as smooth as you can get it before applying vinyl. If necessary, sand it and/or coat it with varnish or polyurethane to create a smoother surface.
Q: I don’t have chalkboard vinyl. What else can I use?
A: You can use chalkboard paint instead — buy it ready made or make it yourself with a little Plaster of Paris and acrylic paint. Or buy a small chalkboard tag at the dollar store and use that instead.
I’d love to see your Christmas Day Countdown Signs. Please share a photo in our Facebook group or tag me on social media with #jennifermaker.
I’ve created three other countdowns — a tile ornament tree countdown where you can flip over the ornaments each day, a Christmas Town Countdown where you can open up each little buildings door, and my Christmas Tree Advent Calendar with little drawers for treats. And, of course, I have tutorials for all of these projects here on my blog!