How to make your own Planner

My DIY Planner by iHanna Copyright Hanna Andersson of www.ihanna.nu

After the introduction to the why of my DIY planner I thought I’d continue today with the how to, a tutorial to inspire you and some facts on how I finally created my own Planner for 2011, in a format that I can continue to use for many years to come! I created the layout of the weekly pages in Adobe InDesign, as well as a few other layouts for my planner, but I won’t go into that here.

Update for 2015: Buy iHanna’s Planner Pages here

Tutorial time!

Since I have been thinking about this projects for months I knew what I wanted to end up with (finally!). You might have other prerequisites for your planner project, so go ahead and be inspired but make sure you get what you want from your personalized planner! This is what I wanted from my project;

Making a planner folder

My DIY Personal Planner need:

  • to be small enough to fit into my bag, but big enough to write a few things each day 7 days a week
      … this is why I decided on a non-standard size (see previous post about how size does matter)
  • to have spine that I can open up, so that I can take out pages and add more as I go
  • to use my own printable pages for calendar pages (and other “extra” pages for lists, planning etc) that will fit my custom sized planner
  • tabs for the different areas (because I adore tabs)
  • a pretty cover that makes me happy
  • constant reminders, printed each day of the week, of what is important to me to keep me accountable and on track

For the cover I bought a a plain yellow binder (with a cardboard cover) at the thrift shop. It has a European standard 2-ring mechanism (which is perfect for me because I’m Swedish and already own a hole punch for this kind of binder). You have to decide what will work for you. I decided to recycle it by cutting it down to a manageable size that fit the calendar pages I created using InDesign.

Finished cover size is 5.7 x 6.7 inches (14,5 x 17 centimeters), and the spine is as thick as 3,4 centimeters.

Downsizing for the planner folder

When I felt this size was really working for me I decided to make a pretty and durable cover for it too. I wanted to cover it with something durable and when I (in my stash of papers) found a kind of plastic book paper I knew it was perfect. It is pink and oh so sparkly! Just look at it;

Glitterlicious Pink!
Glitterlicious pink!

I like that it is made out of plastic, because it will go into my bag on a daily basis and therefore get a lot of wear and tear. Plain paper would stain and tear much quicker, though I would guess that this one will not last long either (it’s already got a stain). But then I get to re-pimp it and that will be fun too! :-)

Rose end papers
The inside endpapers are made from a photocopy filled with roses, from a few years ago when I had access to a great laser printer. I use a glue stick to attach everything, then I’ve also added a transparent plastic pocket to the inside of the cover. I am a firm believer that all journals, notebooks etc needs an inner pocket of some kind! Where else will you put business cards and daily ephemera that you want to save?

On each of the dividers I’ve taped a pretty postcard from my stash. The first one in the book is a Papaya postcard with the words Make a Wish!. Love it!

Cutting dividers with tabs
I used coloured cardstock to make a few section dividers. I cut out the pages and measured and marked tabs that would not overlap each other. At first I had no idea what sections I wanted or would find useful, but I created a few anyway just to get started. I have sections for Blog planning, Writing, Read Books etc. Make sections that feels usable for you. I printed labels and used transparent book tape to seal the tabs that stick out from the normal pages, for easy browsing.

These are the tabs I’ve got in my planner for now;
Matching pen

Then it’s time to print the pages for your planner!

When you’ve got a few pages printed it’s time to down size them and start assembling it into your planner.

Cutting calendar pages
I’ve bought beautifully cream coloured paper at the office supplies store! Two weeks fit into one page and I use my paper cutter to cut them apart. Chop chop, and finished!

Check out the wonderful site diy planner if you can’t or don’t want to create your own layouts… They’ve got yearly templates that you can print – for free!

Writing dates in my planner
I customize the weekly overview on the computer by adding the name of the month and a little quote, but then I write dates and week number by hand. It’s just faster and also more personal & fun.

Hole punching
Then punch holes in each page. BTW, did you know that you can buy a special Filofax hole punch? I didn’t know this when I started to make my planner folder, but I think it’s quite generous of them to make one. Imagine the possibilities… You could add anything to your beloved filofax… If you just wanted to make the pages and not bother with a cover you could get a filofax cover and use that to store your personalized pages. Just a thought…

Folder style
I like the standard Swedish folder style though, with four holes. I’m thinking that I will also create another folder where I can put used weekly pages, like an archive folder! We’ll see.

Adding weekly pages into the ringbinder
Then just sort the pages and add them into the ringbinder! And start planning your days, weeks and months. Your life!

Today is easy to find
One of my favorite parts of this planner is the Today tab that is sticking up on top of the planner. It tells me where to find this week that we’re in right now, and I use it all the time to check what time my Next Thing is!

What's up Today?
Transparent note papers
I made it out of empty plastic laminate and taped the word idag (today) there.

I’ve been playing a bit in inDesign now that the size is set it’s easy to customize pages for special use in my planner. These are a few of my layouts;

Blog post planning design
Plan blog posts ahead of time like we learned from Pam’s post on planning blog posts for a year. I am a bad planner, but I have ambitions… does count for something me thinks!

Project Planning Design
I’ve also created a layout for Projects that are in the planning stages. I want to outline the idea, make some notes below that and then make a list of Next Actions in true GTD-style!

Books I've read
I even created a special page for Books I’ve Read this year! I’m oh so into novels right now, I just want to read all the time. I’m keeping a list of Books to read here too, for the first time in a long time. Sometimes when I start thinking about books I want to read there are so many that I get overwhelmed, but this time around it is helping me focus on what I really want to read, like my friend Maria’s favorite books from 2010!

The dividers has pretty postcards, like I mentioned. Here are a few more;

Pretty postcard with tabs
Love this design too, a Michelle Ward designed GPP postcard.

Pretty postcard with tabs
Pretty collection of pink things, a postcard designed by Christine Clemmensen.

New pink pens
To celebrate my pink planner I bought pink matching pens. All of a sudden I’m obsessed with pink pens, I’m thinking these two are the beginning of a great collection…

Writing lists in my calendar
I love using my planner! Love love love it! Another favorite use is the to-do-lists I keep on the opposite page of the week. So handy and useful there!

Handy Planner indeed
I hope you’re inspired to make something on your own. Let me know if you make a planner and what works for you!

Update: Get the scope on the new year of Planner Pages here. Please subscribe to iHanna’s newsletter to be notified when new editions come out, and when I start up the DIY Postcard Swap next time.

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114 Responses to How to make your own Planner

  1. This is by far one of the best tutorials that I have seen to date. I’d go as far as to say… I love you for posting this!! Haha!

  2. Cristina says:

    What a beautiful idea! I have a small black notebook that I would love to turn into a planner by covering the outside with some pretty fabric, however I’m not very crafty….=/ You did an amazing job! What a gorgeous planner!

  3. Unfortunately I don’t really need a planner.
    But… now I really WANT one. :-)

    Happy new year from Denmark,
    //Lisbet

  4. Liz says:

    Fab tutorial – thank you! My planner this year is a blank notebook that I’ve written the dates in, so that I can keep the back free for the dozens of lists that stitch my life together! – it’s awaiting a funky cover though, and it doesn’t feel so good using it before it’s properly ‘finished’.

  5. skye says:

    i have just written a blog post about how fussy i am about diaries- but this is seriously amazing!
    i was given an amazing diary for christmas, but now i’m already excited for next year- i can already see myself planning something like this, oops!
    skye x

  6. marilyn says:

    I just posted a link to this blog post on my blog….I LOVE this tutorial! :)

  7. beautiful planner! I did one for me too! Would you like see it?

  8. Eva says:

    Hi Hanna,

    I was wondering where you found that plastic glitter cover? Do you know where I can find something similar? I really want to make something similar to yours because it looks so great!

    Eva

    • iHanna says:

      Eva, sorry, I have no idea where you can get that kind of paper. But any paper will look great, and you can add some glitter yourself with a glitter glue. Good luck.

    • Kaylee says:

      You can buy glitter spray paint lots of places. It might even be easier to put on than glitter paper. :)

  9. Renee says:

    Thanks for the great idea. I was able to find the glitter paper at a craft store called AC Moore here in the US.

  10. Sandra says:

    Hi, Hanna: I am making my own planner for 2012. I’m going with a one-page-per-day format, in InDesign. Do you have any idea how I could generate the dates automatically, without having to hand write them in?

    I’ve been searching all over the Internet, and even visited the DIY Planner site, but am having no luck.

    Thank you!

    • iHanna says:

      Sandra, good luck with your calendar. I don’t think there is a date function in InDesign. The quickest way would be to make a week and then print them and number the pages by hand, that’s what I did with mine. :-)

    • TJ Brown-Armstrong says:

      If you don’t want to hand write them, a date stamper would be the quick and easy way to go, just rolling it around to the next date, like the library uses.

  11. Chloe says:

    Your planner idea is awesome and very very pretty I have been wanting one for ages but I wanted A personal one and gave up trying to make one as it didnít look right once I had finished but you have really inspired me to make my own! have you ever considered making a business out of this as i think people would love it !!! Thank-you for the help and inspiration !!

  12. Kelly says:

    Hey Hanna,
    I love your planner! its is sooo pretty! I;m trying to make one of my own, but i cant seem to find any GOOD templates.. any ideas> i checked office.microsoft.com && DIY planners…. i dont really understand the InDesign…

  13. Eva says:

    Hey, I was wondering where you found the winking lady photo that’s featured in one of your pictures? It’s super cute and I’d really like to include in my own templates if possible. :)

    • iHanna says:

      Hi Eva, No idea where I found her, but there is a lot of free images online, I bet you can find something similar. Search for vintage illlustrations etc.

  14. wany says:

    hyeee! i’m from malaysia and i just found your tutorial on making our own planner. actually i’m looking at shop but not one suit with my taste…then i google and found yours…love your tutorial and it give me some ideas to do my own…thanks yaaa!

  15. Amelia says:

    this is beautiful and brilliant! <3
    i've just gotten into planners, this is so inspiring!

  16. Jennifer says:

    That is awesome. LOVE IT. I totally understand the need to make your own. I bought a planner last year, fell in love with it, went to buy it again this year, THEY DON’T MAKE IT! Just aweful. And I can’t find one like I want, like you, that I can carry around in my purse. You have given me some fabulous ideas and I will have to see what I can create in InDesign for myself. Have a fabulous day.

  17. Katherine says:

    I adore the planner and I’m going to start on mine tomorrow (as I am finishing my cross-stitch project) but I was wondering what the exact name of your weekly pages were on the DIY Planner website? I couldn’t find them. :(

  18. Amy says:

    2nd to what Katherine says. Love love love your sparkly pink planner! But where on the DIY Planner site did you get your pages? I’ve been looking for perfect planner pages for a while and I think yours are the ones for me but I can’t find them. Thanks!!

    • iHanna says:

      Amy, thanks for leaving a comment on my blog! The pages I’m using are made by me for personal use at first. Then I was planning to release my own pages for sale via my blog, but haven’t done so yet. Let me know if you would be interested in purchasing my designed pages as a printable download. :-)

  19. Hailey says:

    Hi. I LOVE this tutorial. I’m going to college soon and i can’t wait to make a planner (: Do you know if they sell binders the size of your finished binder? I think it would be easier to buy a small binder instead of cutting a regular size one. Thanks for the tutorial (:

  20. Marina says:

    Hi Hanna I was wondering what size binder you used for the planner BTW I love to read books I read 8 books last summer

    • iHanna says:

      Hailey and Marina,
      it is easier to buy a finished calendar or a binder in the right size if you can find it, I couldn’t so I made one – maybe that is not for you guys. :-)

  21. Tera Bare says:

    Ok, now I’m inspired! I can never find a planner that fits just right for me. Thanks for the inspiration!

  22. Gina says:

    Hi Hanna,
    This is the first time I’m doing a planner. So how do you make the tabs not overlap each other? What is the measurement for each one? Thank u and I luv ur planner! It’s do pretty in pink. :)

    • iHanna says:

      Gina, you could attach loose tabs one by one. If you start with the top one you will know where to add the next one “below it” on the next tab page. Good luck.

  23. Amy says:

    Dear Hanna,
    I love your planner. You did an amazing job at making it. I have been searching online for a long time trying to find templates, ideas, tutorials etc. on them. I was wondering what all the tabs on your planner say? Thanks

    • iHanna says:

      Thanks Amy,
      the tabs are vision, projects, next (thing to do), ideas, writing and books (what I’m reading).

  24. becky says:

    Hi Hannah….
    I linked through Pinterest to this old post of yours. I love what you have done with a DIY planner! I wonder if you ever posted your actual pages for sale? If so, where could I find them?
    Hope you are well.
    Becky

  25. Georgia says:

    dear hanna,
    im creating my own planner as well, but i have no idea on what to actually put in it? :L xxxx

  26. ASHLEY says:

    I really like your planner. I cant find the pages that you used. I really like them! Cant find them anywhere! Could you be able to post them as a PDF? I love your work!

  27. Ninaisnotmyname says:

    I LOVED IT! is there anyother way to make a simple,cute,AWESOME planner?
    um….NO! my friends and family love my planner thanks to…(drum roll)…YOU!
    Thank you so much i can’t belive it:)

    love,
    ninaisnotmyname

  28. Betts Paschke says:

    Pink, pink, pink and…sparkly, sparkly, sparkly! What is not to like about this delish planner? Great job!

  29. Sonia says:

    Hi Hanna,
    I love your idea! I’m making my own planner now, but I have a feeling yours is much much better…! I’m having lots of fun, but I couldn’t find any templates that work for me in the Internet, so I’m making my own using Microsoft Office Word.
    I have one question: What is this plastic sparkly pink cover you used to cover your planner??
    Thnx!
    Sonia. :)

    • iHanna says:

      Hi Sonia, so happy you’re making your own planner! I think yours will be awesome too.

      Sorry: Can’t say anything about the pink paper though, don’t remember where I got it here in Sweden. I think you will find some kind of cover that makes you happy too. Think: plastic vinyl, fabric, scrapbook paper, glitter glue… Anything is possible and the best thing is that you can change it when you get tired of it! :-)

  30. Jenn says:

    I love your binder. I live in the U.S. and all the binders I’ve seen have the metal strip all the way down the entire spine. Where did you buy yours? I’d be willing to pay to have it shipped to the U.S. if I can’t find anything here.

  31. Kat says:

    Hi, love this tut. I wanted to pin it on pinterest but it says “can’t pin this image”…
    I’ll bookmark this instead, thanks.

  32. Bridget says:

    Love this. It has inspired me to make my own. Still finishing it, but I am using the Circa system from Levenger. (Staples also has their own compatible brand). So far I have made dividers from some of my prettier scrapbook cardstock and working on a design for the weekly pages. When it’s finished maybe I’ll post it. Thank you for your inspiration.

  33. lara says:

    Great idea and very helpful! Not only the look but also the content. You should also convert this a real iHanna one,- a smart phone app;)

  34. sarah says:

    hi, i love your planner very inspired i am making one this week

  35. cassie says:

    omg! thx hanna!!!! i will make one when i buy a binder! *hugs*

  36. This is lovely to see. I’ve just ordered a half-price Moleskine diary because I like sticking old receipts in it. It’s a retrospective journal rather than a forward-planning diary.

  37. Bee says:

    This is beautiful and inspirational! Thank you! Now I’m gathering ideas for my own planner ;)

  38. yoon cho says:

    Wow this is actually amazing~!
    You are great~!

  39. Alyssa says:

    I just saw this on Pinterest and was curious if your template is available for download yet? Its wonderful!

  40. Lace says:

    Hi!!

    I spent 5 hours online last night looking for the perfect planner… £25 to start with then you’ve got to make it personal… Can’t afford that… Then I stumbled upon you and you fantastic tutorial!! WOW! I am going to utilize my day off tomorrow and make a planner… I’m soooooooooooooooo excited!!

    Erm… If I use a regular cardboard ringbinder, will it be fairly easy to cut up? xx

    • iHanna says:

      Hi Lace, no bought planner will ever be as cool as the one you make yourself, or as useful to you! Cut into any ringbinder, it’s worth a try right? I hope yours turn out just the way you want it too!

  41. Jilly says:

    Hi Hanna,

    I love love love this post..and your whole site. Do you know where I can download the Swedish language calendar pages? I have been looking everywhere for an A5 planner page to print in Swedish language.

    Thanks.

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