Tutorial_ 3 Easy Ways to Upcycle Last Year's Calendar

Tutorial: 3 Easy Ways to Upcycle Last Year’s Calendar

Did you know there are a ton of ways to use last year’s calendar that make it totally new? I always hate throwing away calendars because the pictures are usually great quality. Seems like such waste!

I SO loved last year’s calendar. It was a beautifully illustrated work of art, called “The Lang 2017 Love to Cook Calendar,” with paintings of fat chefs creating amazing concoctions on nice thick paper. It broke my heart to take it down, and I just couldn’t throw it away.

So I started to think, how can I use this expired beauty? Broads, you’re in for treat!

Today I’m going to show you three fabulous ways ways to use last year’s calendar. I promise, you will be so excited, you’ll start collecting everyone else’s old calendars, too. You’ll also realize these three projects are just the beginning, and I bet while you are making these, your brain will be coming up with a ton of other ways you can use your old calendars!

Let’s get started on project numero uno!


Project 1: Pen/Pencil/Paintbrush Holders


For this first simple project, you’ll need your calendar, four empty tin cans, a ruler, glue, a Sharpee, and scissors (not pictured).





The first thing you want to do is measure your can to see how wide you need to cut your paper. Make sure you measure only the flat part that the paper will be glued to, and not the lip of the can. Mine were about 4 inches.





Next, you need to find four pictures or areas of a picture that you like. Measure the four inch width and mark it across your paper with the Sharpee.





Then use the ruler to connect the marks and make a straight line. Take your scissors and cut along the line. That should give you a nice four inch wide strip of paper. Repeat the process with your other three papers.





You’ll end up with four strips of four inch wide paper, like so:





Now grab a can. squeeze a line of glue vertically down the can.





Take a strip of your paper. Starting at the glue line, wrap the paper around your can. You’ll want to make a new glue line about every 1 1/2 to 2 inches to make sure your paper is nice and sealed to the can. When you get to the end, cut off the excess paper.





Then you can draw a line of glue at the very end to seal the edge of the paper flat, like this:





Make sure you press it firmly and hold it for a few seconds so it stays flat and doesn’t raise on the edges. Repeat the gluing process with your other three cans and papers. Before you know it, viola! You have gorgeous holders for your art utensils!





I took my project a step further and you may be able to as well, depending on what you have laying around your home. I had a drink caddy with four glasses and a jug that I never use. I took the glasses and jug out, and put my cans in, which created an awesome little art utensil caddy. So cute!





That’s project one, and it was easy as pie! But fear not, I have two other ways to use last year’s calendar coming up right MEOW!




Project 2: Bookmarks


For this project you’ll need your calendar, a paper cutter, glue, a Sharpee (not pictured), a hole punch, some ribbon, a ruler, and a piece of sturdy cardboard.





The first thing you want to do is measure and mark the width of your bookmark on the cardboard. I’m doing 1 1/2 inches.





Connect your dots and use the ruler to draw a straight line for cutting.





Use the paper cutter to ensure very straight lines, like so:





Next, you’ll want to cut your calendar paper about two and a half times as wide as your cardboard piece, and about and inch longer. So for instance, my book mark is 1 1/2 inches wide by 5 inches long. So I’m going to cut my calendar paper 3 3/4 (1 1/2 X 2.5) inches wide and 6 (5 1) inches long.





Put your cardboard piece on top of your freshly cut calendar paper. Now get your glue and line both short ends of your cardboard with glue.





Next, fold the ends of the calendar paper over the cardboard, and press them hard to get the glue to seal them.





You’ll now line one of the long sides of the cardboard with glue, and fold the paper over, pressing hard again to get a nice firm seal.





Put a line of glue across the middle of your bookmark, like so:





Then simply fold the last end over so your cardboard is completely wrapped in the calendar paper. You’ll also want to put an extra line of glue on the short ends, and press nice and hard so they seal better, like this:





At this point, put your bookmark(s) under a book or something else flat and heavy. This will allow for flat drying. It’ll take about 30 to 60 minutes to get dry enough. I did two bookmarks. You can do however many you want.





After drying, punch a hole in one end, centered.





Take your ribbon and cut it to the length you want. I did about 8 inches, giving myself a little extra to work with.





Thread your ribbon through the hole punch and tie it securely. Trim if necessary.





There you have it! Lovely bookmarks!





These were super simple, and since I’m always in need of bookmarks for my cookbooks, they were put to use right away!




Project 3: Mini Pocket Notebook


Our last project is a simply adorable mini pocket notebook. You will need your old calendar, a paper cutter, a Sharpee (not pictured), glue, a hole punch, a ruler, computer paper, and twine.





First things first, you want to measure how wide your paper will be. Think of how wide you want your notebook and then double it, because you will be folding your paper in half.

I actually cut out a few pieces and folded them to give myself a good idea of exact widths and lengths. I settled on 5 inches, so I will have 2 1/2 inch wide paper in my mini notebook.





Use the paper cutter to cut your paper to the length you measured. See how I put my paper at the 5 inch mark?





Your calendar paper will be the outside cover of the notebook. I wanted mine 1/4 inch bigger on all sides than my white paper. So that would be 8 3/4 inches long (because my paper was the standard 8 1/2 by 11), and 5 1/4 inches wide. Follow the same process of measuring, drawing your lines, and using the paper cutter to get everything nice and straight.




Now, fold your white papers in half, and use your hole punch to make two holes. They will be on the folded side, about 1/8 to 1/4 inch from the edges. Since I didn’t get a good photo, I drew up a quick diagram to show you what I mean. The two circles are approximately where you want your holes punched.




Make sure you punch the holes while the papers are folded in half, so when you unfold them you will have four holes all together.  You will need to punch two holes into your cover paper (old calendar) as well, in the exact same spot as the white paper, so they will line up perfectly.





Next, measure out two pieces of twine.  I did mine at 12 inches, because I wasn’t sure how much I would need. If you plan on just tying a secure double knot, you probably only need each string to be about 4 inches long. But if you want to try a cute bow, 12 inches is a good amount to work with. You can always trim them down later.





Now put your white paper and your cover paper together, lining up the holes. Thread the twine through the holes and tie, making sure it’s very secure. I settled on a double knot because I’m terrible at tying secure bows.





It should look something like this:





You can stop at this point if you want, and have a wonderful mini notebook. However, I like to do one last step because I think it makes my mini notebook a bit more professional and polished. What I do is glue the very first white page and the very last white page to the cover page.

Now you have a gorgeous mini notebook!






Final Thoughts


It only took me about an hour to complete all three of these projects, and I just LOVE how they turned out!





Aren’t these three GREAT ways to use last year’s calendar? Now I have little pieces of this fabulous calendar around my house!

I really enjoy upcycling in this manner, because I not only save myself some money, but I also feel like I’m contributing to saving the earth. What’s not to love about that?

What have YOU done with your old calendars? Please comment and give me some more ideas for what to do with the rest of my calendar! Also, check out this awesome tutorial on making quick gifts with dollar store supplies!


Toodles Broads!


35 thoughts on “Tutorial: 3 Easy Ways to Upcycle Last Year’s Calendar”

  1. Christy Peeples DuBois

    I don’t know which one I like the best. I am always reading so the bookmarks I would use all the time. I’m always making lists so the notebooks would be great for lists and many other things. My grandmother use to make baskets out of her cards. She would cut the pieces from the cards then crochet the pieces together to make a little basket. I always at a loss with what to do with my cards each year and now I have 3 ways to make then keepsakes. Thank you.

  2. Very cool craft ideas! You give great detail and instruction. My niece absolutely loves this kind of stuff. This gives me a great idea for her and wife to do.

  3. I love these ideas! I actually love everything that helps you reuse and recycle something into something else! I will keep this in mind for my roundup posts!

  4. These look great! I have a Mickey Mouse calendar for 2018 which I really don’t want to throw out, so think I’ll be upcycling! I love the storage tins idea! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  5. Wow, so artistic craft ideas. Thanks for sharing on how to do it. This is so fun, de-stressing too. I hope I can find time to do it 😀

    1. They are so simple, it won’t take much effort to carve out a little time for them. And yes, crafting is excellent way to de-stress.

    1. I absolutely LOVE making cool things out of items that will just go into a landfill. It feels like giving back in a small way.

  6. I really like these idea, especially the bookmarks. Some pictures on calendar are just too pretty to throw it away.

    1. I agree and have always felt that way. But then I keep them and they just sit in a drawer or box. I’ll be posting more ideas later, too.

  7. This are some very neat & creative ideas. I think I will be trying these soon. It will give me an my daughter something to do together. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I had to pin these wonderful idea so i could make them with my kids. I have a metal holder like yours so now to get some cans to wrap with cute paper such great ideas the kids cant wait to try and make soon.

  9. These are all some really wonderful ways to use up old calendars. I loved the bookmark project the most, will give it a try. thanks for sharing! 🙂

  10. Although I’m surprised that with Smartphones and tablets etc. people are still using calendars, I love these ideas – actually I love everything that’s sustainable, and your ideas are really ingenious and inspiring. I’m looking forward to how you upcycle the nuns 😉

  11. You are one crafty lady. I admire people who can “conjure up’ something wonderful from things that otherwise would have been thrown away. Your work is very unique and beautiful. And you are so good at demonstrating exactly how you did it!. So inspiring!

    1. Nope not just you! I have gotten pretty creative with things I have used as bookmarks. I always need them!

  12. These are all amazing DIY projects. I especially think the pencil holders turned out cute with the calendar you chose!

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