Hello, and Happy New Year friends! I always look forward to the opportunity to set some goals at the new year. Getting organized, planning and setting goals work a lot better for me if I have things written down so I can keep myself accountable and on task. Each year I make a printable calendar to help me do that, so today I’m sharing a FREE PRINTABLE planner that you can use for any year. I made mine for last year, but since you write in your own dates you can use this for 2020, or any other year, too. I used a coptic binding for my planner and I’ll show you how to do that.
To create this planner I used my FREE PRINTABLE PLANNER (click link to download), some papers and embellishments from the Dear Lizzy New Day collection, some stickers from the Amy Tangerine Journal Studio collection, and some We R Journal Studio tools.
I started by printing the planner pages. There are 7 pages for each month: a To Do page, a monthly spread, and weekly spreads. I designed them double sided so that you can flip them over at the short end of the paper since they’re horizontally oriented. (Tip: the last page is single sided.) I used high quality printer paper that’s designed for double sided printing. You can download the FREE PRINTABLE PLANNER below:
Then I trimmed the pages (they each have a trimming guide) and folded them in half. I ordered them so that page 1 is on top and page 7 (the single page) is on the bottom, repeating this order for each month’s pages. Then I trimmed a patterned paper divider for each month from the New Day collection. Trim the dividers to 6 1/2 inches wide and 5 5/8 inches tall to match the printed pages.
Since I used a Coptic binding for my planner I grouped each month together with the divider and all of the printed pages. When creating a coptic bound book, these small groupings of pages are called “signatures”. For this book you’ll have twelve signatures, one for each month. Since this book is so thick, I saddle stitched each signature with the Book Binding Guide before binding them all together to provide more stability. Here’s how to saddle stitch the signatures using the Book Binding Guide (instructions come with the tool):
- Place all the folded pages in your signature face up on the left side of the tool. There’s a groove in the base of the tool which makes is easy to accurately place your pages.
- Place the piercing guide on top of your papers with the groove side facing down. Turn the screws to secure the guide, making sure the holes with the rings around them are centered along the fold of the pages.
- Use the piercing tools to pierce every other hole (the ones with the rings). Make sure the tool pierces through all the pages.
- Repeat these steps for all twelve signatures.
- Use the straight needle and the wax thread to saddle stitch each signature (instructions included in the manual). Thread the needle with a single strand of thread.
- Thread the needle through the hole at one end of the pages, going from the inside to the outside of the signature (inside pages to outer cover), leaving 3-4 inches at the end to tie a knot once you finish stitching.
- Go up through the next hole, down through the next hole, up through the next, etc. until you reach the end.
- Then stitch back to the other end using the opposite motion (stitch up through the down holes and down through the up holes). Repeat this all the way to the other end so that you have continuous stitches on the inside and outside of your signature. Tie the two ends in a square knot and trim the excess.
- Saddle stitch all twelve of your signatures together, and then your ready to make your covers!
To create the covers:
- I trimmed two pieces of book board to 3 1/2 inches wide and 5 3/4 inches long.
- I covered them with patterned paper from the New Day collection and then pierced holes in both cover. The holes for the covers must match the holes for the signatures.
- When piercing covers, place them on the left side of the Book Binding Guide and flip the piercing guide over so that the flat side is facing down.
- Use the center column of holes and align the ringed holes to they’re centered like the holes for the signatures were (see above photo for details). Then tighten the screws to hold the piercing guide in place.
- Pierce through every other hole (all the ringed ones) with the piercing tool. Repeat these steps for the other cover.
Now it’s time to bind together the covers and the twelve signatures! You can find instructions in your Book Binding Guide manual, more details and photos in THIS POST by Eva Pizarro, and you can also watch this helpful video tutorial.
- Use the curved needle and wax thread. Thread the needle and tie a knot in the end of the thread. Start by stitching together the bottom cover and the last signature (December pages) following the instructions in the booklet.
- Add the November signature using the instructions, and then continue adding all the signatures in reverse order through February. If you’d like you can add sequins to the coptic stitches to embellish your book.
- Finish off the book with the January signature and the top cover. Tie the loose end in a square knot and trim the excess. I added a pom pom tassel from the New Day collection, attaching it to the binding stitches on the outside of the planner.
- Tip: I used multiple strands of thread (about four) since it’s easier to stitch smaller lengths of thread. Just be sure to finish a length at the end of a signature, and start a new length at the beginning of a signature.
- Once you’ve finished binding your planner, you can decorate the inside pages! I like to use flat embellishments (stickers, rub ons, washi tape, ephemera, stencils) so I don’t add too much bulk to the book.
Since this planner can be used for any year and can start at any time, you’ll need to add the dates. You can write them, stamp them, or use stickers from the Journal Studio. I used my colored pencils.
Decorate your front cover with stickers, washi tape, rub ons or ephemera. I used the Dear Lizzy New Day and Amy Tangerine Journal Studio collections.
This would be a fun weekend craft project to get the new year started. Thanks for stopping by! Have a fun and crafty week friends.