Customized Planner


“How did you spend your Sunday, Kelly?” you ask.

I spent it customizing a planner!

Wild child that I am.

I decided I needed to join the ranks of the Planner People.

Now why not just use my handy iCalendar that syncs so nicely between my iPhone and my iMac? I could do that, I suppose. And to a sense, I already do that. But there’s something about keeping my records on the physical plane instead of up in the digital one that makes me want to take a look at what I’m doing more often. It seems to add a sense of permanence to my goals and plans.

I can tell you back at my previous job, I was a Google Calendar guru – and in the corporate universe, digital calendar usage is a must because it syncs very quickly and easily with your colleague’s emails and calendars. Honestly, I lived on my computer in the office so a calendar accessed strictly through my desktop station made sense and was put to use constantly.

Constantly living on a computer is not currently the case with me, and since this is more a personal business approach that this planner is using, I’m choosing to take it physical… with digital backup.

I put this together using some existing scrapbook paper, cardstock, and washi tape I had on hand for my art journaling, so this made this project a very inexpensive one for me. The only items I purchased specifically for this were an inexpensive small 3-ring binder and two packs of blank Avery calendar paper from Target. (I purchased two packs because I’m already over half-way through 2015 so wanted to have enough on hand for a full year for 2016.)

target-plannerThe binder I purchased from Target was kind of blah looking, for my taste, I was actually wanting to purchase one of the white blank planners with the clear inserts on the cover, but it was more expensive than this other one. In any case, I knew I was going to customize the exterior anyhow, so I didn’t mind that I didn’t care much for the existing cover design.

I measured out the front and the back with a choice of scrapbook paper and adhered it to the binder with a glue stick, folding the edges over to the interior. I measured a complimentary piece of scrapbook paper for the spine and adhered that to the spine and wrapped it around the front slightly. This was probably the most unruly part of the entire project as the binder is stiff and there was a bit of a trick to folding the paper around the edges and allowing for the puckering to occur when the binder was open. I added some additional security to the spine wrap with some washi tape.

planner-2I cut two pieces of yellow card stock for the interior of the cover and glued them down using my glue stick.

It was then time to start customizing the Avery inserts. First thing I tackled was changing the appearance of the dashboard tabs. I had plenty of paper left over from the cover design so I cut strips big enough to fold over and cover the existing tabs, scored them down the middle and glued them over the existing tabs with a glue pen. I then wrote my subjects on both sides of the tabs with my Sharpie pen.

planner-4I did this for all five of my existing tabs. I may make another as I was watching someone else demo their personal planner on YouTube and they had a great idea for a goals section. I have one last tab left that I can cover over, too. As it currently sits, however, I made tabs for 2015 monthly and weekly, 2016 monthly and weekly, and one for notes.

I then inserted all the papers from back to front, putting the notes section in the back, then 2016 weekly, 2016 monthly, 2015 weekly and 2015 monthly. I counted out all the calendar pages I needed for 2015 and put the excess in with the 2016 pages as spare calendar pages.

I decided I wanted more customization then, and I had plenty of leftover scrap paper from the yellow cardstock and the teal floral cover pattern. I also had some other  yellow cardstock left over from a different piece of scrap paper I had cut to use for the spine originally, only to discover this particular piece was too short to use.

planner-3I used one piece of the cover scrap to make a pocket for the inside front. I just used washi tape to attach it.

I used remaining large pieces of the yellow cardstock to create a nice benchmark cover for the yearly dashes for 2015 and 2016.

planner-5For the 2015 year, the Avery calendar filler had one page that contained a yearly look at 2015 and 2016. I decided to cover the 2016 yearly view with another pocket with that other yellowish scrap paper. I did the same thing when I got to the 2016 calendar year, covering up the 2015 information with another pocket.

I chose for this calendar to only fill in all the remaining information for 2015. This is sort of a trial for me, so I left all of my 2016 calendar pages blank for now in case I found I didn’t like how I did something for 2015 – I could change it up for 2016 and not be stuck. I used colored pens to fill in the calendar information, coordinating the colors for each month.

I thought I was finished but then I determined I needed to be able to flip to existing months, weeks and notes more easily so I created little place marker cards using a set of BoBunny stock I had purchased for art journaling a long time ago. This stock worked perfectly as the colors were complimentary and it was really made to fit this size binder. This particular collection was called the Zip-a-dee-doodle journal insert collection. For the time being you can find it on clearance at the link provided.

planner-6-monthI took out some of the half-sized cards, punched holes in them to fit in the binder and added an extra bit of washi tape as a tab. I’ve but them into my existing month and week sections as quick markers for current content. Although in the pictures I skipped over a bit as I didn’t want my personal plans and appointments posted up for the entire internet to see.

planner-8-weekFor the card used for my month at a glance, I wrote the success quote on it for a bit of inspiration. My weekly place-marker card already had the “All you need is love” sentiment on it, which I felt worked pretty well, too, and the notes place marker just says “Hi”.

I was really having fun using the BoBunny stock so decided to use more of it throughout the planner. I used full-size pieces to use as dividers between the years and the note section. I took quarter-size cards and tucked them into my pockets in case I wanted something to scribble notes on.


planner-13I then made a pen-holder using washi tape on the inside front cover since I figured it would be nice to have a pen on hand in case I haul the planner around.

The final touch was writing the word “PLANNER” on a remaining piece of the yellow cardstock and adhering it to the front cover.

I’m really pleased with how this turned out and I’m interested to see how I start putting this to practical use. I know I’ll be opening it each morning when I start my day to see what the plans are going to be – I’ve already got a lot of to-do’s on my current week… one of which was to blog this planner, so now I get to check that off my list. ;)

Have a custom-made planner you’d like to share? Link it in the comments section below.

If you enjoyed this post, please leave a comment below or like the page and share with your friends. :) Thanks for reading!

List of materials:

1″ 3-ring binder
Avery blank calendar inserts
American Crafts scrapbook paper
BoBunny journal inserts
Neenah Creative cardstock
Scotch washi tape
Elmer’s Board Mate Extra Strength Glue stick
Martha Stewart Glue pen
Recollections cutting mat
Artist’s Loft Ruler
X-acto knife
J.A. Henckles Scissors
Sharpie Pen

4 thoughts on “Customized Planner

  1. Glad that I stumbled upon your post when I searched for “custom planner tabs!” Using cardstock & washing tape to create a pocket – loved it! And, using washi tape to create a little place marker tab – very much loved it! Simple, but so pretty & functional. I, too, used to be big on Google Calendar (still use it for the reminders), bit everything else I’ve slowly gravitated back to a old-school planner. There’s just something about a physical planner that makes you feel more in control. And, you can add creative splashes here, there, or everywhere without worrying about wifi or storage space. Beautiful job on your planner! I hope it’s working for you!


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