In addition to running this blog, I also have a podcast, small business blog, and have just started a YouTube channel…so I've got a lot going on (in addition to my writing job) and keeping it all focused and organized in my brain can be a real challenge.
Yikes, that was a ton of links in that last paragraph, wasn't it? This is why I drink so much coffee, folks.
My dream life includes having a rotatable set of dry erase calendars so that I would be able to keep my brain focused and maybe even do something crazy like get ahead of the work that needs to be done…but they are EXPENSIVE. Like, hundreds of dollars expensive. So I did what any sane person does: went to Pinterest to look for a solution.
So taking those ideas, I created one of my own. Or should I say, three of my own!
The best part of this is how ridiculously easy it is to make! Ready? Let's get started:
Tools needed for DIY Dry Erase Calendar
- IKEA Fiskbo 16×20″ Picture frame
- Glue gun + hot glue
- Washi tape (optional. This is the one I bought which is just Scotch tape)
- Dry erase pens
- Paint samples (total of 35 swatches per month)
- Post It Flags
First stop: IKEA! I used their Fiskbo 16×20″ picture frames which I believe were $4.99 each (and looking at the picture, I was right!). Remember that you don't need frames with glass in them, the plastic will do just fine.
Next stop: Hardware store! Now it's up to you how insane you want to be when it comes to this. I've seen folks getting individual chips, but I went for the ombre-type strips to give me an easier time. Note that most strips have 4 swatches on them, and for my calendars I wanted 5 weeks to account for overages, so you should double down just to be sure.
That means if you're planning to do a quarterly setup like me, you'll need 105 colors total and remember you'll need extra swatches to account for the 5th week.
Told you I was nuts. You should've seen the stack I walked out of there with.
Now we assemble:
- Remove liner plastic face of frame and set aside. Flip over white sheet that comes with each frame…you'll be gluing your swatches onto this
- Additional step: If you're doing a 5 week calendar, cut one paint chip off of your extra swatches and either tape or glue it to the bottom of an ombre line of chips
- Start up your hot glue gun
- While it's warming up, begin to measure and mark where your paint samples should go. You can use a pencil or sharpie if you're feeling confident
- Glue the white paper onto the cardboard backing of frame
- Begin to glue down your paint samples, one row at a time, double check to be sure they're straight and evenly apart.
- Use washi tape to create labels for days of the week and month and put them above the ombre strips
- Using the Sharpie, write the days of the week and “month” on the washi tape
- Remove protective liner from plastic face of frame
- Put plastic face of frame back into position
- YOU'RE DONE!
Now you've got a beautiful blank calendar, so let's start filling it in!
The plastic face will take dry erase pen very easily, but you might need to press down a smidge to get a bold color. Add the month and the individual dates
If you've got a lot of things to focus on, I recommend using the post it flags to keep track of things. I use different colors for different things so that I'm able to quickly assess what I've been working on and what still needs to be done.
For important events like trips and such, I use the washi tape to highlight and “block off” those days. You can see that in the original picture with “Ann” and “Rochester.”
Last but not least, hang them! I'd prefer using a horizontal scape but due to space limitations of our current apartment, I had to hang them vertically.
I hang the current month in the middle, the next month above that, and the 3rd month on the bottom (since it's the farthest away, time wise, and won't need as much attention)
Keeping Your DIY Dry Erase Calendar Clean
I've tried a variety of methods to clean off the dates when it's time for a new month and here's what I've found works, in order of least effective to most:
- Plain water
- “Dry erase cleaner” (aka rubbing alcohol)
- Writing over the dates then wiping off
- Clorox Wipes
Save yourself the aggravation and scrubbing, the clorox wipes took it right off and didn't damage the plastic.
Voila! Now you have a quarterly plan set up and ready to use. If you decide to make your own DIY dry erase calendar using these directions, be sure to leave a pic of it in the comments below (and feel free to ask any questions in case something wasn't clear)