Crafting a Calendar

Today I started making (and finished one) a set of calendars that I’m sending out as Christmas presents. I can post this without worry as none of my relatives read this blog, that I know of! This was actually a super fun project to complete! I knew I wanted to create something both practical and beautiful for Christmas. In early November, I thought, “Why not a calendar? They can see some wonderful memories and actually use the gift!” Then it became the process of what kind of calendar to make.

I saw the perfect idea here on Artifact Uprising’s website. They have some absolutely beautiful creations! (Side note: I actually used them to create a photo book for my senior project in college and it was A+ work.) I really loved these calendars and their other pieces of art.

However, I am paying off a student loan, car payment, etc. and couldn’t afford to make 5+ for each little group in my family. Then I thought, “Why not just make one? You have everything you need.” The project began!

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The process was very easy and coming from me, that means anyone can do it! I first started by designing the calendar pages. I laid out everything I wanted in InDesign and made sure to double check all the dates. (I made sure to leave crop marks on the documents so I could cut them later, as I wanted a 5"x7" calendar but didn't have 5"x7" paper. I'm so cheap!!) Once that was complete, I went through hundreds of photos to find the ones I wanted. (This is honestly what took me the longest because I'm so indecisive.) The pictured calendar is for my brother and his girlfriend (plus her sisters) so I wanted to find a good balance between pictures of them when they stayed with us in September and photos I had taken that they liked—such as the thunderstorm we had in May or the fall leaves in November. 

Once each image had been added to the InDesign pages, I exported them as PDFs and grouped them together. Then, as our printer is in an office done the hall, I emailed to myself and shuffled in my wool socks to the other room. Cue me finding mistakes pre-print and shuffling back and forth until everything was settled.

After printing came the cutting. With an x-acto knife, cutting pad, and ruler, I set to work cutting each month out. I found this part of the process really relaxing. I'm not sure why.

Once each page was precisely cut (no errors—go me!) I stacked them in order and prepped them to be bound. I wanted to bind them together so that each month could be taken off as time progressed but they didn't have to be ripped. I found wonderful and very simple instructions here. (Second Side Note: If you're ever looking for fun and simple crafts for your kids—or even yourself!—check out Playful Learning's blog.) I followed them to a t and within 15 minutes, the pages were bound. (To avoid annoying repetition, I'll let you click the link and read the instructions there.)

The next step was making a clipboard. I really loved the 5"x7" idea, but again, my frugality wouldn't let me buy mini wooden nice quality clipboards for $10 a piece. I just couldn't do it. So, after forcing my father to walk through a craft store for 35 minutes, we found these small burlap canvases ($4 for a pack of two!) that, with a bit of work, a nut + bolt, and small clips ($2 for two! Yay savings!) I turned into tiny clipboards.

I took a small mallet and thin screwdriver and, after finding the middle point, made a small hole. I then wiggled the bolt until it slipped through both the clip and canvas, and then attached the bold. Voila! A mini clipboard!

After that, it was just a matter of wrapping the finished calendar in tissue paper and putting it in the Christmas package bound for Idaho. I added a small wooden easel display to the package so the calendars can be displayed either hanging or standing up.

I’m so happy to say I will make six for the price of one thanks to some super helpful craft stores and websites. If you have any questions, or decide to make some of your own, give a shout out! I'd love to see your work, too!

Thank you for reading and I hope you have a Merry Christmas!!