It’s still January, so still technically the beginning of the year, and not too late to share this project from Jan. 2nd, right?
I’ve had this idea in my head for YEARS! The actual project idea came to me probably 2.5 years ago (but 3 Christmases ago). I was driving my mom’s car alone at night and wasn’t familiar enough with it to figure out how to mess with the stereo. Her car had on the Soundtrack to A Winter’s Tale, which is all orchestral music, so I just nestled in for a long drive, watched the road and got in my head. The idea of making a one-of-a-kind gelli printed calendar came to me.
I’d made perpetual calendars before, and even taught a class on making one a few years ago at the All Day Craft event I go to. I even recall for a few years I had GRAND designs to make an annual planner (inspired by the agendas our school district would give out to the kids to help them keep on task with all their classes and assignments). I had a file I’d work on occasionally during down time at my 9-5. Before I got it done the popularity of planners exploded. At first I was sad that I missed my opportunity but then quickly saw several people who did jump in on designing planners and how much it kind of took over their entire small businesses. I honestly felt like a dodged a bullet, I’d never want to be designing planners of all types and sizes non-stop. But the idea of a one-and-done calendar, yeah, I like that.
I wanted the calendar to be entirely handmade, each part. From the art on each page being actual art (not reproduction prints) so the month, days and dates all being hand-lettered and numbered. From the beginning I knew I wanted to make this calendar for my friend Courtney, who’s birthday is January 2nd. She’s probably gotten more than her fair share of calendars for birthday gifts, but I hoped none like this.
My original idea was to make the artwork straight onto each page, but there is a lot of unpredictability when gelatin printing and after a few frustrating failed attempts, I shelved the idea for a while. I finally had the idea of cutting original gelatin prints and attaching them to the pages as well as cutting a stencil for the month that would be printed directly on each page (for a solid background to the month/days/dates) which would then be hand-lettered on top. I used my gelli arts plate to print the stencil, and chose a complementing color for each month based on the artwork for that month. I hand lettered using black and white gel Uniball pens. Voila! It worked and I was thrilled with the results. I’ll probably make myself one eventually, but these are definitely a labor of love, so will most likely never be popping up in my shop at any time.
That being said, I had designed a template for the calendar stencil, so I will share that pdf here if you’d like to make one for yourself –> Robayre Template for Calendar Stencil I’ve formatted it a few different orientations, but all on 8.5×11″, just download the pdf and print out the page you would want to use for your calendar, use an xacto knife to cut out all the boxes and you’ve got your calendar stencil. I used my Zutter Bind-It-All for the spiral binding and had the 4″ calendar hanger wire already from my perpetual calendar class. The calendar I made was half of a letter sized sheet of cardstock paper, 5.5×8.5″
If I were to do it again, I’d punch the holes for the spiral binding first. I did it last, and there was some definite wonkiness with the binding that I wasn’t thrilled with. It didn’t absolutely destroy the calendar, but at that point, after I’d spent ages handwriting every day of the year, there were no do-overs.
Finally! A long thought about project has come to fruition. Let me know if you have any questions and I’d love to hear about and see if you make your own calendar.