Studio 5 Contributor Sue Neal shares ways to transform old calendars into gorgeous gifts and home décor.
A couple of years ago a friend of mine was at my house and noticed my wall calendar. She exclaimed how perfect that month's image matched her new craft room, with dress forms and pink & black colors. I tucked that piece of information away in my brain and when her birthday rolled around, I cut it from my calendar, added a few embellishments, framed it and gave it to her as a birthday gift.
Since then I've been seeing calendars in a whole new light.
Generally, we purchase calendars to match our home decor, or to celebrate a hobby or past-time or just because we like it. We enjoy those monthly images all year long, so Why not extend the life of those images by re- purposing them into more home decor, personal items and gift, wrapping, cards, scrapbooks and even teaching tools.
Most calendars feature well-known artists and photographers whose prints would cost a lot more if purchased singularly. Probably the easiest and most straight forward approach to re-purposing our wall calendars is to frame them.
Some will be timeless and you may keep them for a very long time. Others are great for switching out every year.
Some calendars make great teaching tools. This little desk calendar of baby animals was just too cute to throw away. I printed off some very basic text on cardstock, mounted the baby animal pictures onto them then had them laminated and bound. Cost was about $3.
If you have a particularly busy calendar, this can be a fun "where's Waldo" type find-it book. Just make a list of things to find on the opposing page and bind similar to the baby animals book.
You could also make a numbers book if you have pages with multiples on it.
Religious calendars can be great if you teach at your church or home. Simply trim the pictures from the calendars. You can file them back into the sturdy envelope the calendar came with or bind them at a local printing shop.
Gifts & Personal Items
Many wall calendars are seasonal and has at least one Christmasy image. Transform a inexpensive gift bag (or recycle the ones you get when you shop) by adhering the image on the top with a little matching cardstock.
You can also create other personal and gift items, like notebooks, scrapbooks, bookmarks and my favorite, cards.
Maybe you're not quite sure where to cut to create your card.
Go to www.sueneal.blogspot.com to download some simple card making templates. Just cut out the square or rectangle and move around the image to find the best place to cut your card from. Trace and trim. You can keep it very simple by adhering to a cardstock base, or embellish a little or a lot depending on the images. The savings here can be dramatic since most greeting cards can run anywhere from $2 to $5 each.
This project started with a desk calendar with inspirational thoughts for women. Too beautiful to throw away, I trimmed out the pages to fit an extra chipboard album I had on hand. A few little embellishments and the album is ready to add some pictures and to be gifted to a good friend.
This was probably my favorite way to re-purpose, simply because it was the last thing I thought of.
I went to Alpha Graphics in Lehi, UT to get a few of the calendar pages laminated. They offered both hard and soft lamination so I tried both. The hard lamination was most costly, but was perfect for the placemat (and SO easy to clean).
I kept playing the soft lamination, lamenting that it wouldn't lay flat and then joyfully realizing that it would roll around a glass vase perfectly. I love this look! It was stunning. Best part is that I can switch out the looks depending on my decor or table decor needs. I used Scotch ATG tape and it stuck very well, but also came off easily.
I love the idea of making placemats with different pages. Mix & match table decor is very trendy right now. If nothing else, it's pretty and so easy to clean up.
From there I realized I could also switch up the look of some of my table settings. As long as the item had a flat bottom I could change the look of a platter quite dramatically. Again, I used Scotch ATG tape to hold it down temporarily.
Your calendars will never be out of date again! In fact, you might want to take advantage of clearance calendars come the new year.
This can be a fun crafting activity with friends or family members. The goal? How many ways can you re-purpose your calendar from 2011? Good luck!