DIY Dry Erase Calendar

In my quest to organize my life and feed the starving Type A personality that is somewhat dormant these days between chasing around a sticky fingered 10 month old and trying to maintain a semblance of a clean home. I came across this DIY dry erase calendar on, you guessed it, Pinterest!

Let’s be honest who has time to organize anything to the degree they would like?! I have developed the stuffer trait I often ridicule my mom for when she just stuffs things anywhere out-of-sight and then drives herself crazy trying to find those missing items that have been stuffed in some nonsensical place.

I digressed, but that is yet another one of my mom’s traits that seems to becoming more prevalent with age – getting completely off topic at every turn! Back to this fantastic calendar I made this past weekend! I looked at some local office supply stores at dry erase calendars and I just couldn’t find the value in spending $30+ dollars on a less than aesthetically pleasing calendar. I even looked into a basic wall calendar, but the problem is I just can’t write small enough to fit inside those spaces and I really wanted something that could be a design element in our kitchen!

So, I came across this great tutorial on a fabulous framed calendar using paint swatches as the calendar grid. I adapted it slightly since I can’t cut straight to save my soul (not from a lack of talent, but rather a lack of patience). Rather than using paint swatches, which is a very clever use of the FREE material by the way, I used InDesign to layout my own grid (you can download a free 30-day trial of the software to try it out).

I wanted a large calendar so I made my 18” wide by 14” high. Depending upon the wall space or the size of frame you have, you can go smaller or larger than this. Keep in mind though, unless you have a large scale printer making anything larger than a 17” x 11” might be a bit difficult to accommodate. I have a large scale printer at my office, so I was able to “borrow” it. You could easily print half at a time and then segment the pieces together while framing it or FedEx Kinko’s or another local printer would be able to handle this type of project pretty cheaply and quickly.

I made my calendar 7 rectangles wide by 5 rectangles high. Each rectangle was approximately 3.5” wide by 2” high with a 1/8” gutter in between. Again, depending upon the size of your entire grid these may have to be made slightly smaller. I used the grid lines in InDesign to help me get consistent spacing and used copy/paste to duplicate the rectangles rather than having to measure each on exact every time.

DIY Calendar Grid Lines

Grid line demonstration on how to get perfectly spaced calendar rectangles.

Now to colors, I used color families found in my kitchen already. I used the CMYK color palette to find the right shade of purple, yellow, green, orange and teal (I just eye balled the colors so they were similar in hue).

DIY Calendar Color Swatches

CMYK color swatches

In InDesign after you create a rectangle, then in the top tool bar find the fill and stroke color swatches. Click on the right arrow next to the current swatch color to modify the fill and stroke. Go to the bottom of the swatch box that pops-up and click on “New Swatch”. With the new swatch box open, adjust the CMYK values until you find the color you want. Then select this same color swatch for the stroke color, unless you want to have the stroke be black then select black instead.

Changing Fill and Stroke in InDesign

Click here to change the fill and stroke color swatches.

Then use the same CMYK color to fill the entire row of rectangles. To get the different tints of each color, I used the tint slider to adjust to 90% to 10% tint. The tint slider is found by clicking on the right arrow next to the color swatch and at the top of the drop-down box there is a Tint: and a percentage field. Enter the desired tint percentage or use the slider to the right shade.  I varied the order the tint shades appeared in to give a bit of randomness. For example, for the first purple row, the tint shades are 100%, 10%, 60%, 40%, 20%, 30%, and 80%. The second green row is 50%, 90%, 30%, 100%, 20%, 70%, and 10%.

I added at 2” header at the top for the Month and Days of the Week along with a 1.5” footer for miscellaneous notes and just because the rectangles wouldn’t evenly fill the height of the space.

I printed the grid out, cut it down to size and then placed it in the frame. Used a dry erase marker to fill in the dates for February and now I am just waiting on my husband to hang it on the wall! How many times can you ask them before it is considered nagging?