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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Planner Printing: more tips!

If you haven't seen it yet, go check out my first post about my planner that I created to use as a combination home management binder / life planner / teacher planner. It gives a ton of details about what pages I have inside, and how I set it up, including products and ideas that I used for binding and accessorizing. Click on the picture below to go to that post:

In this post I want to specifically address tips for printing the pages for your planner. Whether you have made your own pages on the computer or downloaded them online (like my new line of planners in my store!), there are some things you can do to make your planner just as fancy and wonderful as those pre-made planners that you pay a month's salary for.

When I first started my quest for a planner that met my needs as a teacher and mom last year, I started off looking at planners you could buy pre-made. While there are some super-cute and awesome planners out there, by nature of being mass-produced they are more generic and don't fit my exact needs, and they are expensive. Like wow, I can't buy coffee shop lattes for a year expensive. I did bite the bullet and buy one that was on the cheaper end but still pretty awesome. Although it was nice, I still ended up crossing out and rearranging things because it didn't exactly work for me. So I decided to go the DIY route.

THEN I was faced with another problem: although my pages were definitely perfect for what I needed, my planner felt cheap. Because, well, it was. Everything was printed in black and white on the cheapest paper with the cheapest binding options possible. So while I boasted to friends and family about how I was saving so much money blah blah blah, the truth was planning wasn't as fun and I wasn't motivated to use the planner.

What I've found after comparing the expensive, pre-made planners and my super-cheap DIY version is that there are a few small things you can do to get the nice feeling of the expensive ones without adding more than a couple of dollars to the cost. So here are my tips:

#1: Print Double-Sided

It is a complete and total waste of not just money, but trees and space in your bag to print single-sided pages. Please, whatever you do, don't print single-sided planner pages. Just think about it: 1. you pay for twice as many sheets of paper, 2. your planner will be twice as bulky, 3. you can only see one page at a time which means you can't see as much information at once and you will be flipping pages to find what you need all the live-long day.

There are a couple of things you need to check before you print double sided:
1. Are your files designed to be printed double-sided? If not, which pages will be facing each other when you print them double-sided?
2. If you are combining several different files, especially from different sources, check if the pages start with a front cover or the left side of an open 2-page spread, and if the pages end on the back or front of the paper. Even if all of your files are designed to be printed double-sided, if you print them as one document you could potentially end up with your 2-page spread printed front-and-back. If you need to make an adjustment, you can either print them as different files or insert a blank page to get everything back on track.

#2: Print Only the Front Cover in Color

Now I love my color just as much as the next guy. But printing in color is expensive. And I have found that, at least for me, I can fulfill my happy color quotient from my colorful tabs and pens. The great thing is that I still have a design in the background so all of the pages still have a stylish feel without the price tag (and most, if not all, of the planner designs in my store are designed to look good this way... just a thought *cough*). If you are having it printed professionally, there should be an option to print just the first page in color. Just scroll through the options and look for "cover page options" or "special pages". To be honest I think it also helps make the planner a little less dizzying. Sometimes the colors are too much and I get cross-eyed just trying to look at it- not to mention when you start adding different colored writing! Oh my!

#3: Print on Thicker Paper

This was the biggest a-ha moment for me when I was comparing my cheap-o planner and my pre-made one. I thought as first that the difference in fanciness quotient was in the color printing or maybe the tabs, but it's not. It's the paper. And guess what? It's waaaay less expensive to upgrade your paper than it is to upgrade your ink. So go ahead and move up in the world to the next-thickest paper: usually 28lb. There are a few advantages to getting the nicer paper: 1. your writing won't bleed through or show on the other side, 2. your pages won't get worn-down when you are flipping back and forth, 3. it will be easier to flip through and find the right page because each page will be slightly more substantial, and 4. it just feels nicer. Trust me- it is worth the tiny investment. When I finally tried it my DIY planner felt like a "professional"-quality one!

I hope these tips help you as you start getting your planner set up! If you have any questions please comment below. Do you have any other tips on printing planner pages? 


  1. These are all great tips! I really wish I would've chosen thick paper for my paper planners, especially the ones that were repositionable. It would've made them hold up longer and feel nicer! #fermatafridays