It’s official: we’re inching closer to the 2020 territory. The Christmas lights are on and the holiday cheer is kicking in; and if you’re just like us, you’re probably already looking for an artsy planner ready to organize your life away!

There may be hundreds of planners in the market today, but if you’re looking for something fresh and new, creating one yourself is the perfect solution. Not only will you be able to own something that’s uniquely yours, you’ll also end up making one that’s precisely suited to your liking—no more unnecessary features, unwanted life quotes, or irrelevant pictures. If you don’t know how to start a passion project as crafty as this, we’ve taken the liberty to jot down a few inventive tips below. Enjoy!

Pattern your Planner After Templates

What’s nice about being able to DIY a planner is that you get to choose how it looks like. Ultimately, your planner should be something you look forward to using. Consider every element you liked from previously owned journals. Which features and formats worked for you and what made you enjoy them the most?

Look for templates you liked and customize them according to your preference. When formulating something as elaborate as this, stick to themes to make it easier to finish. Knowing the overall aesthetic also simplifies the process; you get to streamline designs and fonts and come up with drawings or illustrations that complement your planner’s treatment. You can either go digital and edit the lines, dates, and spaces yourself or do everything manually.

Both styles are clever and the success of how these projects are pulled off is reliant on the resources you choose for yourself and the time you have to get this done. For starters, websites that have graphic design tools such as Canva or Snappa are great for those who aren’t well-versed with Photoshop or Adobe Indesign.

Use Stationary Stickers

Whether you go digital or manual, stationery stickers are amusing accessories. Buy them online or shop for them in art supply stores. Given how wide today’s consumerism landscape is, you’ll find it very easy to find where to buy the stuff you like for your project. You can either purchase them as you’re creating your planner or attach them once everything is done. Materials like colored glue, Washi Tape, and decorative scissors work well, too, for when you’re looking for alternatives to basic equipment or really when you just want to shake things up.

Nothing Beats Quality Paper and Printing

Things like these last an entire year, so when you’re actualizing the journal of your dreams, make sure you use premium materials. You don’t want to feel accomplished having finished something so personal and creative only for it to end up breaking and tearing apart 4 to 5 months in. Paper types between 210gsm to 300gsm are solid samples for arts and crafts projects such as these.

How your finished output looks like also largely depends on the kind of printer you use. Between laser printers and inkjet printers, the latter produces sharper colors more suitable for journals and personal notebooks. If you don’t know what a standard printer looks like, Canon PIXMA MG5750 is a prime example.

That being said, investing in Grade A materials is crucial since it’s what you use that holds everything together. With that in mind, make sure each variable is deliberately crafted with basic science in mind. For instance, you wouldn’t want to use superglue on flimsy paper, nor would you attach glossy photo paper on top of a 55gsm.

Prioritize Recycled Materials 

Whenever possible, use recycled materials. Not only are they beneficial to the environment, but they’re also fun to reinvent and play with, too. A used notebook’s covers, for example, make for fantastic and sturdy wrapping for planners. Carefully take out the insides of the notebook and paint or draw over the used notebook cover. You can be as creative as you want; wrap it with gift paper, paint the covers using watercolor, cover it with Washi Tape, write your favorite movie line with special lettering, it’s up to you, really. Do what works for you.

There are often multiple ways to bind your planner, as well. You can utilize book rings or have them wire-binded at a copy center if you don’t have the gear. Don’t worry, though; this part is quick and inexpensive.

Feeling Generous? Gift it to a Friend

There aren’t that many people who take the time and effort to create tedious projects such as these. But if you have a dear pal who’s turning a year older pretty soon or just have a friend you’d like to be generous with, gifting them with a planner you made yourself is taking sincerity to a whole other level.

Integrate pictures you have of him or her and include your friend’s most quotable quotes. If you guys share a ton of memories, create special spreads for those moments and include your thoughts and well-wishes. You can also attach or sew movie or train tickets, restaurant receipts, or basically any flat object of value to both of you.

When you have a lot of time in your hands, you can also make a business out of creating customized journals. Simply ask how someone wants their personal planner to look and obtain the sufficient photos, quotes, and designs, they want. Nowadays, people are willing to pay good money for everyday objects that are personalized exclusively for them.

At the end of the day, making your own planner or journal demands a lot of creativity but even a lot more commitment. When you’re meticulous about getting projects like these done right, they’re rarely completed overnight. Give yourself ample time to go through the creative process and don’t disregard the planning stage, too. Find out how you want your finished planner to look like and what the overall theme is. However big or small, however simple or grand, when you make something as intimate as a planner, you’ll be glad you did it.