11 August 2013

DIY School Year Planner

There's lots of different school year diaries out there for us busy Mums.  Some of them are great, some less so.  Some don't have enough columns to keep track of the whole family in one place, some have too many extra, irrelevant pages.  Some of them are just plain expensive.

I found a great idea here for a DIY Year Planner and notebook.  It got me thinking that what I really needed was a weekly diary, where I can keep track of all our family schedules, without all the extra stuff that comes in so many commercial diaries.  I decided to have a go at making my own.

I started by coming up with a simple template for a week-at-a-glance diary page (using this template as inspiration).  I used Microsoft Word to create the template - mostly because I know how to use it really well.  I downloaded some free Washi Tape clipart to make the pages a bit more interesting.

When open the diary will be A4, and when closed it will be A5.  It took me a while to figure out how to get it to print two-sided so that the dates run in the correct order.  Once I had the order worked out, I just copied and pasted the template and added all the dates.

I created one file for all the even pages, and one for all the odd pages.  My printer doesn't automatically double-side, so it is easier to print all the even pages, turn them upside down and put them back into the printer to do the odd pages on the other side.  It's worth practicing this by printing just the first 2-3 pages, as it's really easy to get them upside-down, or the order of the pages wrong.  Once they were all printed I used my guillotine to cut them in half, and hole punched them.

I made two covers out of cardboard backing from one of the kids old sketch books.  You could use any heavy-weight card stock you have on hand.  If the card you have is a little thin, you could try glueing two pieces together and letting them dry under a heavy book (this stops them buckling and bending).  I made the covers a bit bigger than the diary pages, and also allowed a little extra space on the right hand side, so I could add dividers without them hanging out.  I used my Decopatch Glossy Glue to cover the card in wrapping paper.  I did an extra coat on top to make them a bit more durable.  After that I just hole punched them.

The last step was to make a few dividers.  I used some pretty card from my stash and made three dividers - Months, Weeks, Notes.  I didn't have quite enough card for all three dividers, so I glued a strip of patterned card to some plain card for the third tab.

I used the exact same Word template to create Month-at-a-glance pages.  I then printed, guillotined, and hole-punch the months.

I also cut some extra blank pages in half for the notes, and assembled the whole thing using hinged, binder rings.

The end product is really neat and exactly what I need for keeping track of schedules.  I especially like the left to right layout of the diary, because it lets me use Washi Tape to highlight things across several days.  I love anything that introduces the cheerful colours of Washi Tape. The thing I love the most about this diary is that it was so cheap to make.  The only expenses are a handful of copy paper, one piece of wrapping paper, two hinged rings and the cost of using my printer.

If there is anyone out there who is keen to have a copy of the templates, send me a message and I'll email you the PDFs.  They are designed for A4 paper, but I'm sure they'd print fine on American Letter.


  1. hello! I would love a copy of your template if possible - have you uploaded it anywhere thats I can download myself?

    1. Hi Ellen. I'm very happy to share this with you, but I haven't updated it. The dates on the document are from the 2013/14 school year. Not sure how helpful this would be.

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