DIY Art Journal 2016 Calendar

altered book, 2016 calendar, art journal

Back in July, I noticed calendars were already coming out for 2016. I decided I would make my own again this year but with the added space for art journalling.

Altering the Book

Materials Needed:

  • Hardcover Book (I get mine from the local second-hand shops)
  • exacto knife
  • paper for signatures
  • bookbinder's thread for sewing signatures
  • glue (PVA glue for bookbinding is preferred)
  • assorted art supplies for making calendar pages

altered book wip, inside cover

Remove the inner pages by gently cutting the threads that bind the pages to the book's inner spine. To do this you'll open the book as much as possible and cut away at the paper. Be careful not to cut through the cover itself. Above is what remains, after I've removed the book's original signatures.

ItsonlyaDream97 shows this cutting out process in the first couple of minutes in her youtube video.

Making & Attaching the Signatures

altered book, wip, gluing last signature page to cover

Depending on how large your book is, you may need more than 3 holes for your signatures. For a 3 hole signature, please view Alissa Marquess' youtube video.   I used a saddle stitch for binding my pages and used sea lemon's youtube video as my guide.

I used 90lb watercolor paper which will work with a variety of art materials. If you paint very wet, you might need a heavier paper. However, the heavier the paper, the less pages you can have.

After you've made your signatures, there are a few ways you can attach them to the cover. The method I chose glues the signature's page that faces the inside of the cover to the cover.

last page of signature glued to book cover

After you have glued the signature's last page to the inside cover and smoothed out any bubbles, place a sheet of wax paper on top of the newly glued page and place a heavy object on top and allow to dry. Repeat this step for the other side of the inner cover.

Calendar Pages

oblong linocut stamp, 2016 calendar 

For the calendar pages, I carved an oblong, linocut stamp and stamped spaces for the days.

sliver of paper to married signatures

Because I did not sew the 3 signatures as one unit, I glued the last pages of each signature to each other (same method as attaching them to the cover). It's not the most beautiful way to marry the signatures, but while I learn bookbinding techniques, this creative way works for me. To keep the signatures snug, I glue an additional slice of paper to the pages that sandwich the married pages.

To make the pockets for this altered book, I cut off half of one page at an angle and glued that page to the next page in the signature.

I will use this calendar - art journal to write, sketch, draw, jot notes down, and whatever else comes to mind. My gratitudes will also go in this book rather than have a separate gratitude journal.

I had a lot of fun making this altered calendar book and am looking forward to working in it next year.

joining sunday sketches


  1. oh my!!! I love this repurposed book! I made one for my diary this year, and will definitely do it again for 2016 - I paint each of the pages and keep it in its form... I LOVE your lino cut stamp - I do lino cuts too - and would never have thought of this - HOW COOL! You are full of wonderful ideas!! So glad I visited here today! Thanks so much for sharing!

  2. Wonderful repurposed book and creating your own calendar ~ !

    Happy Week to you,
    artmusedog and carol

  3. How very clever and great instructions for us beginners. Thanks.

  4. this is really wonderful!
    so very creative and will be a joy to use!
    thanks for the inspiration.

  5. Oh, this wonderful, Juana! And I like your lino cut stamping for calendar days--very fresh & fun! Your tutorial is very helpful. I've been looking up some info on altering book and adding new signatures to expand journals/notebooks so this was timely! And I like the addition of the pocket! My brain is buzzing with inspiration now! I've not gotten or made a new calendar yet (I Usually use more tha one). It feels a little early yet... but I know I shouldn't wait too long... LOL! Happy Autumn Blessings! ((HUGS)) P.S. Thank you for the sweet email... :o)

  6. This is beautiful and inspiring

  7. Your DIY journal book and calendar is wonderful. I would love to be able to sit down and do that sometime. How incredibly fun. In the meantime, trying to find time to put together my 2016 hand-painted calendar for customers! :D

    Have a lovely week! :) xx


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