In October 2011 I spent a good while searching for a Zelda wall calendar to give to my Legend of Zelda obsessed kid, Cedar, for Christmas. When I couldn't find a Zelda calendar, I thought, maybe I can find another calendar that fits Cedar's interests. I had zero luck. There are lots of calendars for kids who like cute animals or sports or princesses. However, my kid likes oddball obscure stuff like Zelda, reading blogs, Hayao Miyazaki, Reel Big Fish and Sargent Frog. Good luck finding one of those calendars. Not. Gonna. Happen. I had to improvise, which turned out to be a good thing. Making a personalized calendar for your child or even an adult is a great semi-homemade gift that doesn't require as many crafty skills as say, making a homemade dollhouse or picture perfect felt food. Basically it's a super craft for us not-so-Martha types. Plus, making your own calendar allows you to personalize the calendar to someone's unique interests, use eco-materials and use up lots of excess craft goods you've got laying around. Bonus, this is a useful craft gift that kids can easily make for a grandparent, a sibling or friend. Keep reading to learn more.
You need very few supplies to pull off a personalized calendar. The supplies you’ll need vary depending on how detailed your calendar will be and who you’re giving it to, but in general here’s what’s you’ll need…
A blank, preferably recycled content calendar. Many craft stores carry these. You can also find free plain calendar templates online, and print them out on recycled paper. However, if you print them out, you’ll have to somehow attach the calendar pages together with a small home binding machine, a recycled calendar page holder, or use a heavy duty hole puncher and twine. Below are some blank calendar options.
- 100% Recycled Paper Accents Calendar 12″x 12″ OR 8.5″x 11″
- Acid-free Paper Accents Calendars
- Karen Foster Design Scrapbook Blank Wall Calendar
- 8” x 8” Year of Memories Keepsake Calendar
- Blank paper – use scraps you have around already before buying new.
- Non-toxic glue that won’t leak through your pages. A glue stick will leak less than liquid glue.
- If you want to seal your pages once they’re done, use Mod Podge; though seriously, this is overkill.
- Non-toxic pens, pencils or markers in a variety of colors. Aim for colors that won’t leak through your calendar.
- Stickers, paints, ribbon, buttons and any other embellishments you have around.
- Plain recycled paper for printing out pictures in your printer.
- Anything else you can dream up.
What Data to Add to Your Calendar
Of course, no matter who you’re making your calendar for, you’ll need to very carefully add in all the days of the year. Use a reliable online calendar while doing this, because you do not want to give a calendar gift filled with the wrong dates. If you’re making a calendar for an adult, I’d suggest not adding too much data to to the calendar — you might include major holidays and daylights saving events, but not much else as adults like to fill in events on their own. Since I was making this calendar for a child, I added all the events I could think of including a slew of holidays, birthdays of our friends and family, days off from school, meetings or other planned activities, and so on.
Picking a Theme
If you’re making this calendar for a kid or adult with one major interest, it would be fun to pick a specific theme and run with it. My son likes lots of odd stuff, so I didn’t really choose a theme as much as I simply chose images and designs I felt Cedar would like a lot. My friend made homemade calendars for his kids when I was making mine and he went with fashion themes for one daughter and music theme for his other daughter. You can really get creative with themes for both adults and kids. Below are some ideas.
- Eco-tips for each month
- Kid-friendly recipes
- Gather favorite recipes from the whole family and give this calendar to the family chef
- Arts & craft projects that fit each month
- Endangered animals or facts about animals
- Fitness calendar for an adult – make this theme really fun if doing it for a kid
- Video games
- Nature activities
- Quotes (with pictures)
You can 100% design all your own images using craft paper, old books, recycled concert posters and other craft objects or even draw images if you’re a good artist. You can also simply print out images from the Internet and add embellishments to the date pages, which is mainly what I did. I was aiming for an easy endeavor. My friend used recycled magazine pages to create collages on his homemade calendars and that looks really cool too. I personally gathered images that I knew Cedar would like, including Link from Zelda, Sargent Frog characters, Totoro, plus some scenes from his favorite blogs such as My Milk Toof, The Oatmeal and Hyperbole and a Half. You could of course, always create a calendar for grandparents using pictures of your kiddos.
Simple or Fancy?
I went with a very simple design for Cedar’s calendar. Mainly because while I knew he’d enjoy the calendar, I’m not naive enough to think a 10 year-old boy would be overly impressed by savvy design aspects. Honestly, it’s not worth your time to overly design a calendar for younger kids as they just won’t be that impressed. Now, if you’re making a calendar for a teen or an adult, I’d suggest putting a little more time and effort into your design as these age groups are more likely to appreciate the aesthetic, and they’ll be more picky about what hangs by their desk.
Other Decorated Calendar Ideas
If you need some personalized calendar inspiration to get your creative juices flowing, check out the links below.
- Scrapbook style calendar
- Really crafty photo style pages
- Instagram photo calendar
- Digital style calendar
- Child’s artwork calendar
- 10 creative styles for ideas
- Recycled paper bag calendar
All Photos by Jennifer Chait