28 November 2017

Zoella Advent Calendar DIY from IKEA

I'm a fan of YouTube vloggers, and while I don't personally follow Zoella, I'm definitely familiar with her--she's one of the biggest and most successful content creators on the site. Zoella has translated her internet success to a line of beauty and lifestyle products aimed at young women, and this holiday season that line has produced a controversial £50/around $65 "Twelve Days of Christmas" advent calendar that many purchasers say falls way short in value of the price.

While I haven't purchased the calendar myself, looking at the contents I have to agree. There are 12 products inside, which should translate to an average price of $5.50 per piece, but several people have shared price comparisons proving that even at retail cost, you could buy equivalents to everything inside for well under that. British retailer Poundland even posted a picture on Twitter of equivalent products available in their store for just £1 each, and vlogger Those Rosie Days took up their challenge to find and purchase their bargain version of Zoella's calendar.

After watching Rosie's video, it occurred to me that you might be able to do a similar challenge at IKEA; they sell products in many of the same categories as those in the Zoella calendar, and they're usually bargain-priced. Yet in my experience IKEA's products are also pretty good in quality, and their Scandinavian aesthetic is right on trend for this Christmas. So, I challenged myself to find products for a DIY Zoella-style advent calendar at IKEA, and here's the result!

(Note that I browsed online, so I can't vouch for the particular quality of these products. All images by IKEA.)

Day 1: Ceramic Ornament / Vinter 2017 Glass Ornament Set, $4.99


The ceramic ornament in Zoella's calendar is flat and round, and says "Merry and Bright" in metallic lettering. While IKEA has tons of Christmas ornaments, I thought these flat glass ones had the most similar shape and aesthetic--but you get three here instead of just one.

Day 2: Star Confetti / Särdal Light Chain 


The confetti is by far the most ridiculously cheap item in Zoella's calendar. IKEA doesn't carry any, and though you could easily make this yourself with a paper punch and some shiny paper, I thought I'd see how much of a better product I could find for this slot that accomplishes the same goal of being shiny and fun. Lo and behold, you can get an LED light strand and snowflake toppers at IKEA and still come in under budget for the whole calendar.

Days 3 and 10: Star and Gingerbread Cookie Cutters /  


Zoella's calendar contains two cookie cutters on two separate days, but since this festive set from IKEA contains six, I combined them. While it doesn't contain a star like Zoella's, it does contain multiple variations on gingerbread people plus tree shapes.

Day 4: Sticker Set / Vinter 2017 Stickers, $2.49

After the confetti, the stickers in Zoella's calendar are probably the biggest rip-off. You only get eight, and they kind of look like the sort of thing you can get custom-printed to stick on Etsy packages. There are a whopping 90 stickers on IKEA's roll, and they've got a cozy woodland animal motif plus lines for using them as To/From labels on holiday gifts.

Day 5: Zip Pouch /  Förfina Accessory Bag, $3.99
This IKEA pouch is plainer than Zoella's ivory patterned version, but the bright red is festive, and its bigger size and multiple pockets exceed the functionality of Zoella's.

Day 6: Festive Cookie Candle / Vinter 2017 Candle #1, $1.99


The Festive Cookie candle is one of two candles in the Zoella calendar. Obviously IKEA didn't have an exact scent match for this, but they did have a festive "berry, evergreen, and vanilla" fragrance that sounds a bit like Zoella Beauty's "Snow-ella" scent for this year, which is peony, cranberry, and mint. Like Zoella's candle, it's votive-sized and comes in a decorative glass holder.

Day 7: Christmas Clementine Room Spray / Dofta Potpourri, $1.99


While IKEA doesn't sell room sprays, I think that potpourri accomplishes the same goal of adding fragrance to a given space. This red mix has a berry scent, which works well for the holidays.

Day 8: Rose Gold Pen / Måla Gel Pen Set, $3.99
Zoella's shiny rose gold pen is nice-looking if simple. However, you can get eight gel pens from IKEA that includes actual gold and silver metallic ink among other colors, so while the look of the pens themselves is pretty basic, their output is pretty nice.

Day 9: Green Pom-Pom Bag Charm / Vinter 2017 Heart Decorations, $3.99
IKEA doesn't sell fashion accessories, so I knew this would be a tough one to match. Admittedly these plush heart decorations aren't pom-poms, which are apparently the hot thing to attach to your handbag. But they're about the right size, soft and squishy, and you could easily attach them to your bag's zipper or strap if you wanted to. Plus there are three of them!

Day 11: "Notes" Notebook / Eklog Notebook Set, $3.99
 Zoella's calendar comes with a tiny paperback notebook, but you can get three of a larger size from IKEA--in a similar green and gold color scheme to boot--for much cheaper.

Day 12: Christmas Clementine Candle / Vinter 2017 Candle #2, $1.99


The second of two candles in Zoella's calendar also doesn't have an exact scent match at IKEA, but citrus is a refreshing scent and IKEA bills this "wintry sea" fragrance as refreshing as well. Again, it's votive-sized and comes in a decorative glass holder.


GRAND TOTAL: $39.38

TOTAL DAYS: 12

TOTAL ITEMS: 26*

IKEA COST PER ITEM: $1.51

ZOELLA COST PER ITEM: $5.50

TOTAL SAVINGS: $25.62

SAVINGS PER ITEM: $3.99

* Counting stickers and light set as one item each

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