Hi, I‘m Cleo. You may recognize me from my Creativebug daily practice classes: Painting Repeat Patterns By Hand: A Daily Practice and Learn to Paint with Gouache: A Daily Practice in Questions and Answers . I’m a painter, author, educator, and I especially love making things with paper. Book arts was one of my favorite classes in school. Lately I’ve been making scarves that look like artistic charts for my Patreon scarf club.
This month I’m sharing a printable for the pages of a calendar/planner book. Start the new year off with an organized way to keep track of all your projects. Use it to keep track of your progress in a daily art practice, plan your garden, finances, or travel. Each day has space for one small note to keep track of birthdays, health goals, or hours. Consider making a matching set–one for each subject. The accordion fold structure of the book allows you to see the whole year at once if you don’t glue the back cover in place.
I’ll cover the basics for a quick and easy book, but I encourage you to watch Faith Hale’s classes on bookmaking to learn the details of cutting and gluing and possibilities for different cover structures. This project is also an excellent place to use your decorative papers from Creativebug classes: Mercedez Rex marbled paper, Courtney Cerruti monoprints, Dawn M Cardona painted papers, and Sara Matthews collagraphs to name a few.
- Print out the PDF on paper to match your color scheme (I printed at 100% size borderless)
- Cutting mat
- Mat knife
- Bone folder
- Glue stick
- Thick cover paper such as a file folder
- Tape to decorate the spine or corners (I used 1” gaffers tape)
- Collage material
- Colored pencils
- Decorative paper
Cut between the parallel lines on the left side of April. Apply glue stick to the tab on the right side of March. Carefully put the parallel lines of April and March together, also aligning the top paper edge with a straight line on the cutting board. Continue with all four sheets until they are aligned in a long strip. If you are making this simple cover, cut off the remaining tabs just outside of the parallel lines on January and December. If you are an experienced book binder, you may want to keep those tabs to fold back and glue to another cover.
Place the long strip of calendar face-down on the table. Fold back each month in between the parallel lines and press with the bone folder. When you are finished, reverse every other fold to make the accordion, starting with January/February as a valley fold.
Cut a piece of paper for the cover. It should be 1/8” taller on the top and bottom than your calendar and twice as wide as the accordion plus 3/16” for the spine. Draw lines on the inside of the cover for the spine and crease with the bone folder. Decorate the cover before you attach it to the book. Use watercolor, collage, or test your supplies for a daily practice.
The simplest way to attach the cover is to glue the back of January and December to the inside of the cover, keeping glue off the spine. Put a piece of scrap paper underneath January (with the accordion closed) and apply the glue stick all the way off the edges. Slide out the scrap paper and peek to see that your front cover is on right-side-up before sticking it down. If you want to be able to open your accordion to see the whole year, don’t glue the back cover. Use paperclips to keep it tucked in the book. Press the book overnight while the glue dries under a brick or heavy book.