Vintage Book Planner Tutorial

I desperately needed a day planner. With so much going on I can no longer keep it all straight in my head ’cuz something’s always falling through the cracks. So on my way home from the morning school drive today, I went to the office supply store to shop for one. Nothing bulky, nothing leathery, don’t need pockets, grid paper, address book or all the bells and whistles, just a plain ol’ planner, but a spiral one for sure, so it will lay flat while I’m planning. I chose a monthly planner that also has weekly pages. Perfect. Just what I wanted, but, in a word, boring. Right?Enter: A cute vintage book from my stash, one simple but pretty file folder and this simple tutorial!Find a cool vintage book close to the size and thickness of your planner and either a manila folder, decorative folder or heavy card stock.

With a craft knife, gut your book. I needed to cut the strings to remove the innards.Save the pages for your craft projects.Trim away any extra scrap along the inside of the book cover, but careful not to cut through the cover itself.
Turn the file folder inside out, and lay the book cover onto it with the fold of the folder lining up with the inside edge of the cover’s end paper and trace around the cover.Draw fold lines just inside the drawn book line.Cut the folder about 1″ outside the fold line.Trim away the fold creating two cards.Trim away the two corners just inside the fold lines.Use a ballpoint pen to press fold scores into the cards.Fold the flaps inward.
I chose to add packing tape along the non-folded edge for additional reinforcement. Run a strip along the edge and trim away excess.Using a strong adhesive on the folded flaps only, (I used E6000), glue to the inside covers with the open sides towards the book spine creating pockets.Place a piece of paper inside the pockets to keep any oozing glue from gluing the pockets shut.Place stacks of heavy books on top of the pockets as they dry.
Trim your planner if necessary to fit into the pockets.With book cover folded backwards, slide the covers of the planner inside the pockets.Once the planner is centered and in position, add a piece of double stick tape inside the pockets to keep it from shifting. This can be removed later for inserting next year’s planner.Start planning.FOR MORE EXAMPLES, CLICK HERE!

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149 Responses to Vintage Book Planner Tutorial

  1. #1 - piccola samurai says:

    So clever! A great way to have a modern agenda while keeping things vintagey… love love love this!

  2. #2 - Jill says:

    very, very, neat.

  3. #3 - BellaLovesPink says:

    Such a great idea!

  4. #4 - Elise says:

    THIS is smashing, Cathe! What a FABULOUS way to keep track of your shelf, with such fine style! I love it! Terrific inspiration!

  5. #5 - Kathy-Catnip Studio says:

    This is excellent; I want one just like yours!

  6. #6 - Annie says:

    This is a really neat idea. Thanks for sharing!

  7. #7 - Cathy says:

    Awesome! Could also be used to make a cover for a small notebook.

  8. #8 - Creative Grammie says:

    Aloha Cathe;
    You have an awesome blog site. I love your vintage book planner tutorial. I found you while visiting Tera's wish; glad I found you.
    I'm fairly new to blogging, but I'm trucking right along.
    By the way, we have something in common, my husband is also a firefighter. He is a captain here in Hawaii.
    Anyway, just wanted to let you know that I'm happy to follow your blog.
    Aloha for now-Wayna (otherwise know as Creative Grammie)

  9. #9 - Feather says:

    get.out. seriously. get out! that is awesome!

  10. #10 - Jackie says:

    Oh goodness. i love it!! Thank you!hotsly

  11. #11 - Tracy @ ComfortandLuxury says:

    How wonderful! And the perfect book for it too! Thank you. I'll save your tutorial and go on the look-out for the perfect book.

  12. #12 - Gayle says:

    How delightful! Your cover is PERFECT for a planner! I've used a wall calendar for 30 years, but decided it was time for a change in January, so I made one similar to yours (I used an old book for the cover), but I made my own pages as well and stamped the dates. It was a fun project.

  13. #13 - Michelle says:

    What a great project!!!

  14. #14 - Ann says:

    OMG…this is FABULOUS!!!!

  15. #15 - Maria Isabel says:

    That looks awesome!

  16. #17 - Tracey @ Art of the Letter says:

    This is very inspirational. I hope to use similar techniques to create a few book covers for myself and for gifts. Great Job!

  17. #18 - 32˙North says:

    You sure picked the perfect floral for those pocket! I love it!

  18. #19 - Stephanie says:

    BRILLIANT, woman, brilliant!

  19. #20 - teaborg says:

    Simply, WOW.

  20. #21 - Stephanie says:

    I can't believe how perfectly the title of that book suits its new purpose! Fantastic project!

  21. #22 - pamwares says:

    How freaking cute is that! You have some of the best ideas! Lucky duck!

  22. #23 - CA_grafico says:

    That's really cool! i must make one 🙂

  23. #24 - marysworkshop says:

    Cathe, you never cease to amaze us!
    Another great project with easy to follow directions and also very helpful how-to photos.
    Now I just need a book that I don't mind deconstructing…

  24. #25 - Patty says:

    So smart! I am such a "book" person that I am wondering if I could actually take the pages out of a book. I am very tempted. Great idea.

  25. #26 - Cheryl~ZanyMayd says:

    Love It ~

  26. #27 - jodi @ back40life says:

    great job! love it!

  27. #28 - jessica says:


  28. #29 - alyssa says:

    Wow this is so cute! I lovet his!

  29. #30 - Monica says:

    I am once again amazed at how creative you are 🙂

  30. #31 - {All Thingz Related} says:

    This is just brilliant!

  31. #32 - dogwoodandpoppy says:

    omg brilliant. I can't wait to make one! Thanks so much for sharing all of your many cool ideas in such an easy to understand way.

  32. #33 - pepper says:

    oh my, that IS pretty! what a super idea! why live with boringness if you don't have to?

  33. #34 - marie says:

    Love this idea!

  34. #35 - Createology says:

    What a wonderful personal date book. You are super clever. Happy appointment keeping…

  35. #36 - amyg says:

    That is beautiful. I don't know where you come up with these things!

  36. #37 - Cotton Kiwi says:

    What a fantastic idea and tutorial thank you!! It would make a lovely gift for Mothers's Day (and great for Dads too). Thanks for you all your wonderful ideas.

  37. #38 - Carla Thursday says:

    This is probably the best tutorial I HAVE EVER SEEN! I am going to use it RIGHT NOW! 😀

  38. #39 - Heidi says:

    Rad. I'm so doing that.

  39. #40 - Lululiz says:

    Love that project, what a fabulous idea. Thanks for the excellent tutorial.

  40. #41 - Lora says:

    This is just brilliant. I spend days browsing racks of daybooks looking for just the right one. I like like something fashionable and fun as I am stuck with it for the entire year. Great idea. Bravo.

  41. #42 - queen-of-nostalgia says:

    Ooooh… I know what I am going to want to do now 🙂 Thank you! What an inspired idea!

  42. #43 - Kimmay says:

    super cool! PS: I have those file folders hehehe and I have some amazing vintage books that I get for $1 each at Strand Book Store … looks like I have some projects to do!

  43. #44 - Dee Tollaksen says:

    So smart! Love it!

  44. #45 - Brass Paperclip says:

    Oh my word! You are such a creative soul. I love that idea and will definitely be trying it. Thanks so much for your continual stream of inspiration. xoxo Cindi

  45. #46 - Suki says:

    Such a clever idea! Very cool.

  46. #47 - Michellem says:

    What a wonderful way to give an old book new life! You continually amaze me!!

  47. #48 - Elaine A says:

    Cathe –

    Excellent idea and project! Love how this came out. I will now start hunting for books to change.

    Elaine Allen

  48. #49 - Chelsea says:

    Vintage book planner get in my life!! This is awesome, can't wait to try it!!

  49. #50 - Rebekah says:

    LOVE IT, Cathe!

  50. #51 - KatieB says:

    This is FANTASTIC! I LOVE this project. I love planners and journals and combining them with vintage books is a great idea. Thanks for writing this tutorial. I love your clear pictures and easy to follow instructions.

  51. #52 - orchard_girl says:

    I love this so much! I think I'm going to make one for my sister in law's birthday, but use a sketch book instead of a planner

  52. #53 - Big E's Mom says:

    Thanks for the inspiration – i need to go in search of some old books now. This was just what I needed!

  53. #54 - sarajane says:

    Oh, I am swooning! I love vintage books and have a serious planner addiction. I am going to do this this weekend. Thanks for all of the fabulous inspiration!

  54. #55 - CraftCrave says:

    Just a quick note to let you know that a link to this post will be placed on CraftCrave today [16 Apr 02:00pm GMT]. Thanks, Maria

  55. #56 - Christian Farm Girl says:

    That is the coolest thing ever!!! I would like to make one with like a 3 ring binder.. so it would lay flat but I don't have to get a new one every year.. That is just way to many planners lying around.. LOL

  56. #57 - Elizabeth says:

    I am just stunned by the way your brain works!!!!!! I have had old cool books lying around for years…and every year I go looking for a date book and can never find one I like. Never put the two ideas together though like you are able to…Bravo – such a clever project.

  57. #58 - Emily says:

    That might be the best, most fun project I have seen in a long time. I am a huge planner addict, but never find 1 I really like so I get a new one all the time. Which is pricey and drives me crazy. This might just solve my problem. Amazing tutorial thanks for sharing!

  58. #59 - MaryJanes and Galoshes says:

    This is really awesome! I have a ton of books just waiting to be rebound and re-purposed. Thanks!

  59. #60 - carolsnotebook says:

    I love it!

  60. #61 - allthingsjuice says:

    What a brilliant idea!

  61. #62 - Atelier de Charo says:

    Love it!! Thanks for sharing.

  62. #63 - Jana says:

    Such a helpful tutorial-Great explanation and great idea!

  63. #64 - EqualandOpposite says:

    Love the title of the book for a planner!

  64. #65 - DymphieM says:

    love this, thanks for telling how you made it.

  65. #66 - wont says:

    This is so original. And, if you can somewhat match old book covers to someone's interests, a very creative gift. Thank you.

  66. #67 - Valley Art Project says:

    I love this idea. I will definitely try this. Thanks!

  67. #68 - Jennifer says:

    I can't tell you how excited I am about this!! Thank you so much!!

  68. #69 - Kristi says:

    Great idea! Thanks for sharing it. I have some old books that will be perfect!!!

  69. #70 - Emily Jane says:

    Utterly brilliant. Thanks so much for the tutorial, I've been wondering how to best pretty up my uni planner for ages. Cheers!

  70. #71 - mainely stitching says:

    This is insanely do-able. WOW – thanks!!

  71. #72 - Deb says:

    I really love this project and your other work with vintage books. What a great idea, and such a clear tutorial. Thanks for sharing!

  72. #73 - Theresa @ 612Riverside says:

    I love this idea! It would feel special to keep track of everything we have going on in such a cool planner. Thanks for sharing! Theresa

  73. #74 - Sharon says:

    How wonderful! Thanx for sharing.

  74. #75 - Liza says:

    Sweet idea, but what did you do with the pages you cut out? I collect children's readers, intact, for their graphics and for their social history. Please tell me you did not discard the pages!! If you do more of these projects, and want a good home for the interior illustrations, please contact me. I blog about the illustrations, and use them, scanned only, for other projects. Thanks. Liza

  75. #76 - says:

    i love this! especially the slip-in-pockets feature!

  76. #77 - meetthecohens says:

    brilliant idea, thanks for the tutorial!

  77. #78 - denise says:

    why aren't you clever! and oh, so cool…

  78. #79 - Pam says:

    I love blending new with old and the book title says it all!! Think I'm stealing that idea for next year. Will start looking for a book title; I know where to get the planner. Wal-mart has non-spiral planners that will work for me. Mahalo for sharing.

  79. #80 - zoe says:

    what a great idea! i love it… will keep an eye out for the perfect book/paper!

  80. #81 - Country Dreaming says:

    What a simple but cute idea. This would work for smaller journals that could be given as gifts.


  81. #82 - Seth says:

    Such a clever idea. Thanks for sharing it.

  82. #83 - angela says:

    What a great idea! Thanks for the tutorial. I'll try that.

  83. #84 - Term papers says:

    Awesome! Could also be used to make a cover for a small notebook.

  84. #85 - Dawn @ alteredartists says:

    Just catching up on my blog readin. A wise man I married once said "paper never forgets" so even in the age of the blackberry…a good thing to remember.

  85. #86 - Amanda says:

    That's lovely. I did something similar a few months ago but made it into a 2-ring binder for planning…

  86. #87 - Cathe Holden says:

    Amanda, your binder project is fantastic!! And I've so enjoyed going through your website and blog, etc. Thank you so much for sharing this!!

  87. #88 - Deb - Two Cheeky Monkeys says:

    I'm so excited by your tutorial! I am a big fan of vintage books but have only ever used the pages for crafting and not the beautiful covers.

    Thank you so much for your fantastic idea.

  88. #89 - Jesse says:

    Lovely tutorial! And your vintage books look fascinating – Tumbling for Girls?

  89. #90 - Mary Ellen says:

    LOVE it!!! I'm a planner junkie – just planners, not planning!

  90. #91 - tuscanycastlegirl says:

    i'm always a fan of re-purposing discarded books ~

  91. #92 - says:

    This is fantastic, thanks so much! I'll be linking.

  92. #93 - Rein says:

    Wonderful, thanks for sharing!

  93. #94 - twirling betty says:

    Absolutely love this. Thankso so very much for the tutorial. Indeed, thanks for all the fantastic tutorials you give us. Now I've got my eyes peeled for just the right old book.

  94. #95 - Randi says:

    That's fantastic … definitely have to copy that idea!

  95. #96 - Dayzero says:

    Thanks for the tutorial, I love this!

  96. #97 - Whosies says:

    what a fantastic idea!! i love the upcycled notebooks made from the older books, but to make it into a cover..that is wonderful!

  97. #98 - Lindsay says:

    i love this craft! if you're looking for some cool vintage books to use, check out my etsy shop. i have a ton of interesting vintage titles.

  98. #99 - Nancy Ward says:

    Hi Cathe,

    Posted a link to this tut today…I love it!

    Have decided this book would be the perfect spot to store my passwords. In as much as I've forgotten the latest and greatest password for my e-mail account, I think it'd be to my benefit to start writing my passwords in a decent book.

    Hopefully Microsoft will send me a new one in the not too distant future so I can return to an e-mail existance.

    Nancy Ward

  99. #100 - The Prudent Homemaker says:

    Love, love, LOVE this!

    I'm a paper planner/fountain pen kind of woman. This is beautiful.

  100. #101 - Anthonette says:

    I'll be at Maker Faire tomorrow. I hope to see your demo. Such a great idea!

  101. #102 - Colleen - the AmAzINg Mrs. B says:

    love it love it love it! Thank YOU!!

  102. #103 - TheBlackForrist says:

    genius! thanks!

  103. #104 - RosieB says:

    absolutely brilliant! Thanks so much 🙂

  104. #105 - lej619 says:

    this is so awesome! and i left a post for the give-a-way also!

  105. #106 - Anonymous says:

    hi cindy,
    love the tutorial,i have been looking for one,but, the ones i had found,were either so confusing
    or i just eneded up with a huge mess. also, i really like this week's question. thanks for a chance to win,but mainly i want you to know that we are all quite lucky to have chance to win this giveaway,but to say thanks for sharing your talent with all of us.
    now,my answers are quite easy,i do
    art therapy.due to my disease is one that basically turns you into a prisoner within your own body. so
    to answer,mine would have to be a
    definite disease counselor and i are trying to rebuild my life with things that i use to like
    to would be starting back to doing my abstract paintings.
    i am trying to teach myself how to quill as well to bead.but,the really neat thing is that i journal,have since i was kid.i want to win this so bad,i can taste it,but hey if i don't thanks for the giveaway and tutoria.
    barbara aka nannie

  106. #107 - MM says:

    Really enjoyed your demo at Maker Faire – have lots of pics!

  107. #108 - Barbara says:

    Thank you so much! I just read your tutorial and can't wait to transform my boring planner tomorrow!

  108. #109 - puggerhugger says:

    I love this idea. I've already tweeted it and after making four, Im blogging and linking back to ya. Thanks so much!

  109. #110 - The Real Blonde Blogger says:

    Stopped by a vintage store today and scored some really cute books for $1.00 each. Can't wait to try this this weekend!!!!!

  110. #111 - Stefanie says:

    Awesome. I'm going to link this to my recycling website.

  111. #112 - stephanie says:

    Great tutorial. I may try this.

  112. #113 - Silvia says:

    I can't wait to make one! So awesome. I just bought a new planner just like the one you used in the tutorial and I have just the vintage book, too. 🙂 Thanks.

  113. #114 - Cre8tivegirl says:

    I've been looking to make one of these, thanks Cathy! I'll be sharing this on my blog! So lovely!

  114. #115 - Robyn says:

    Will I receive one of these as a gift? Great idea! Perfect for all those busy, busy people out there.

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  119. #117 - Heidi Woodruff says:

    I love this! I have a great planner every year but I always just glue on a new cover, this is WAY better! Thank you!
    Blessings, Heidi

  120. #118 - Candylei says:

    I love the idea of it being hidden away in the old book cover. Neat!
    Thank you,

  121. #119 - Laurie Jacobsen says:

    Super cute idea – and a great savings!! Love it – thanks for sharing!!

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  123. #120 - amelia Critchlow says:

    what a fabulous tutorial. I love vintage books and yet another thing I can do with one!



  124. #121 - Violette says:

    Wow……what a great tutorial and fabulous idea…..i love your vintage book planner!

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  126. #122 - Hazel says:

    what a wonderful idea, you’ve done it again.

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  128. #123 - Lizzy says:

    Hi Cathe …You are an answer to my prayers. I have been racking my brain on my last Christmas gifts to make for this year. I wanted to make a journal for everyone, but I was a bit tired of creating the covers with all the embellishments, I have a ton of blank journals I purchased a few years ago, so with this, you gave me such inspiration. . Now all I need to do is use some books I have collected and use this technique. This is such a brilliant idea. THANK YOU so much….

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  130. #124 - Mary Anne Enriquez says:

    Fantastic Kathe! I have several beautiful old bindings I would love to try this with. You can even create pockets on the inside of the covers to hold all those receipts and business cards we tend to collect.

    I so enjoy all your ideas…been following for several years now.

  131. #125 - Tawnya says:

    Toooooo cool. You have the most amazing ideas!! I have been enjoying your blog all day.

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  133. #126 - Marlene Daniels says:

    Very nice and great instructions.

  134. #127 - Hanna says:

    “Good times tomorrow” (^_^)
    Perfect title for the perfect planner!
    You are so brilliant

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  137. #128 - Craftasaurus Rex says:

    I love this project so much! must try! i’ve gutted books to make sketchbooks before, but not something quite this useful yet…

    a word of caution…be vary wary of your craft knife blades…they are quite sharp…this summer i managed to cut an inch long, 1/4 inch deep gash in my leg while gutting a book…i was being stupid about it and learned my lesson…don’t make my mistakes! 🙂

  138. #129 - Amanda says:

    I love this! Just shared it on my Facebook page 🙂

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  140. #130 - Eileen says:

    I love your ideas! Thanks 🙂 Your crafts are an inspiration.

  141. #131 - Deborah H. Bateman says:

    Cute idea, thanks for sharing.
    Deborah H. Bateman-Author

  142. #132 - Polly says:

    What a lovely idea!
    I love the cover can be removed and can be put other planner inside!

    I hope you don’t mind if I use your picture and share your tutorial in my blog:

    It is a very nice tutorial, thanks for your sharing, Cathe.


  143. #133 - Susanne says:

    I do like the title of the vintage book. Smart for a planner. 😉

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  145. #134 - Diana says:

    OMG, best DIY ever !!!!! Very clever !!!

  146. #135 - Denise Doherty says:

    Creative…thanks for posting…will be doing!

  147. #136 - Lindi says:

    Love this idea 😊 love the vintage look. Will have to start searching second hand shops. Great idea for Christmas presents. 😆 Thank you for sharing💜💜