Easy DIY Planner & Sketchbook

Turn a plan notebook into a DIY planner using printable calendar pages!

How to hack a notebook into a fully customized planner (and idea sketch book)!

I like to use a desk calendar to keep track of my blogging commitments and content timing.   I use my iPhone primarily for family scheduling, but I needed something to keep near my desk to keep track of projects, due dates, etc.

How to hack a notebook into a fully customized planner (and idea sketch book)!

I also needed a sketch book to make notes about my projects as I make them. I decided this year to combine the two.  

The calendar takes up the first quarter of the notebook, then the last part I have free for sketching and brainstorming.  It’s been nice having everything in “one place”.

To make the book it was SOOO simple.   I used a free printable calendar and added some graphics from Rhonna Designs.

notes in black pen on white lined paper


How to Make the Planner

  1. Pick a Notebook: I chose Vera Bradley. I like their notebooks because they are very sturdy and spiral bind does not snag or catch.  I’m pretty abusive to my notebooks so they need to hold up.
  2. Print out the calendar pages. I just used plain printer paper, nothing fancy.
  3. Adhere to the notebook pages. Using adhesive, glue the printed calendar right on top of a page in the notebook. I recommend UHU glue for this type of project.


  1. Leave a few pages in between the months for notes and sketches. If you like to bullet journal this would be a great place to include some journaling.
  2. Glue the calendar pages in with UHU glue or with a double-stick tape on a roll (like a Tombow).
  3. You can download FREE calendar pages from our blog.
calendar pages in spiral notebook

How to Add Tabs

To make it easy to navigate between the months, I printed a page from a piece of scrapbook cardstock and simply used a punch to make tabs.

  1. Using a tab punch, punch out 12 tabs from the piece of printed cardstock.
  2. Stamp the month on each tab.
  3. Fold the tab in half and attach to the page using a tiny stapler.
  4. Make sure to stagger the tabs down the page for the months, so that you can see them all at the same time.
How to hack a notebook into a fully customized planner (and idea sketch book)!
How to hack a notebook into a fully customized planner (and idea sketch book)!

It’s a pretty simple project, but it solved a problem that I had and took less than 1 hour to make!

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  1. love this.
    i too have so much trouble finding planners i can use.
    love your idea!!!
    rockin’ the spring circus.


  2. I so need this right now….I have sketches EVERYWHERE (unfortunately they are literally everywhere) and I haven’t gotten myself blog-organized this year.

    And. it’s. March.

  3. this is a fab idea. I always have a notebook on me, then post it notes all over the place, then my diary… I did have an all-in-one a few years ago but have never got round to making a new one!

  4. Love this idea! So simple, quick, and easy! Thanks for sharing! Can I still make one even though it is already March???? 😉

  5. I got excited with this idea until I saw it used a 2017 Calendar. Sorry but it’s no use to me since its 2018 now. Have to look for another downloadable calendar.

    1. The post is from 2012 – it’s not meant to be a downloadable calendar. Just an idea of what to do with a printable calendar.

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