10 Ways to Alter Your Planner

Altering books is a new art form that appeared a few years ago. In it, you breathe new life into an old or unused book by collaging, writing, painting and drawing or crafting niches into the book itself. In essence, you turn it into a piece of art. If artists can turn books into a work of art, it stands to reason that you too can alter your planner to match your personality more. Planners make great altered book projects because they track your progress over a year as well as your personality in one book. Instead of throwing out your planner pages every year, why not change them into wild works of art that become keepsakes and scrapbooks of your lives.

In honor of my birthday which coincides with today's post, I thought it'd be fun to list out 10 different ways you can spice up or alter your planner or journal to make it match your personality more. Even though I may sometimes act only 10, these are some fun and fast things you can do to add a bit of creative fun into your planners and journals.

1. Rip those unused pages out. Altering books isn't for the faint of heart. Some people think it's not right to alter a book in any way. So, the easiest thing to do is to rip out a page. Maybe it's the title page from your planner, or your planner's reorder form, but just ripping this page out DOES alter your planner and give you the freedom to try some of the next tips.

2. Color your pages. Break out the watercolors or the colored pencils and color those pasty white pages. I sometimes like to use ink from my rubber stamp pads to stipple color lightly across the white sheet and spice it up.

3. Smile! Track your moods with smilies. You can hand draw these things or get smiley stamps to press on your daily calendars. Over time you can flip back and see how many days out of the week you have excited faces or sad ones.

4. Stickers. I know lots of friends who put all sorts of stickers on the covers of their Moleskines. Show your brand support by slapping Apple, Tom Bihn or other company stickers on the outsides of your planners. Of course, I don't recommend you do this to expensive leather enclosures but for those plain jane covers, it does the trick. You can even get letter stickers to write your name on the book.

5. Clips. Many manufactures make fun paper clips in all sorts of shapes. Now you can clip stars or spirals to your planner pages to hold receipts or notes to the pages or just hold your place in your book.

6. Bookleash. Not too hip on having a clip bind your planner page together? Why not create a custom book leash to track your page. Guaranteed not to slip out of your planner the next time you drop it on the floor.

7. Tabs. Many art and scrapbook stores now sell stick-on tabs for paper now. Instead of buying the plain white or rainbow colored planner tabs from the office supply store, why not go pick up a set of patterned tabs that you can affix to your planner where ever you want.

8. Make a pocket, or two or three. Create a built in pocket to hold your receipts or Hipster project cards. It's as simple as folding and gluing, stapling or sewing (yes, sewing) two sheets of paper together. You can even make folders from scrapbooking paper that suits your colors and personality.

9. Be inspired. Everyone loves to be inspired, why not write inspirational quotes on some of the pages in your journal. You can add them in randomly so when these little gems of wisdom appear on the page, they'll help to brighten your day. Or you ca take this a step farther and glue in Fortune Cookie fortunes down into your books.

10. Doodle or collage your projects. A picture can sometimes mean a thousand words. Next time you've got your planner out, sketch out your day or the project you're working on. If you think your work can't be drawn, why not sketch the project team or your concept for the product packaging, or your coffee mug. Or paste pictures that relate to your project down on the planning sheets.

Altering books or your planner can be intimidating. Some people think you're breaking some unwritten rule that says you cannot defile a book. Well, I'm here to tell you that it's okay to write in your book and mold it into a work of art that contains your personality. So, rip a few pages out, splash some color on those pages and spice up your daily planners the way your personality spices up your office.

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appeared a few years ago?

Appeared a few years ago? Nah, this is old, old school. Check out Humument by Tom Phillips as an excellent example, started in 1966.


Everything old becomes new

Everything old becomes new again, or so the saying goes. :) I know that I've been altering books since birth (sorry mom and dad for writing in those really old books), but there's been an explosion over the past 6 years in the art community about taking books and really changing them into art forms.

People are cutting books to make stars, pasting ephmera into them, painting in them and whatnot. One of my favorite things to do is paint an entire page full of color but leave choice words exposed to create a whole new story or text or poem.

I love altering books. So much fun. And all you need to do is to rip a single page out, to get you hooked.


Okay, I'll say it...

"In honor of my birthday which coincides with today's post..."

Happy Birthday, innowen!

Do you procrastinate?

Thanks for the starting push...

I just kind of just fell on this site and started looking around. It has great ideas for all kinds of stuff! I like that you suggest just starting somewhere small when altering a book. I've been hesitant myself (although very interested) in altering books, but I haven't been able to convince myself that there's nothing wrong with making a book all my own. I honestly think it comes from teachers telling me that it's not right to dog-ear books or write in them. Strange how things like this hang on for years after the fact.

Read my thoughts on Displaced White Girl.

Here's an idea.

I have 'book guilt' too, and I finally found a way to conquer it, though cost can be prohibitive.

For every book you intend to alter, buy a copy and donate it to a library or hospital. That way, your copy isn't being 'kept from' anyone.

I don't know if it will work for you, but my inner librarian was satisfied with that solution.


beginner's altered book

I had book guilt too but the biggest thing that helped me get over this fear was the simple act of tearing a page out. You'd be surprised at how liberating that is, to tear out a page. It alters a book, in a big way as far as context but it also gives you permission to glue things into your book, or color around words.

One of these days, I will rewrite a book, just by selecting key words and phrases out of passages and then coloring around the rest. I've always loved that style of re-contexting.


Re:10 Ways to Alter Your Planner

This is awesome exactly what I was looking for to make my planner be as individual as I am... lol
I love graphics and I like experimenting so this is really going to help me explore every possible avenue I have to make my planner exactly the way I want it to be without just being plain pink...
Thanks for all the info it's very informative and helpful.

What a great way to start the new year

This is so creative. I have a very plain jane planner that can use some of these ideas.


"Book guilt"

Something that's helped me is a book called Wreck This Journal by Keri Smith. It tells you to do everything you were always told NOT to do to books. (drawing, poking holes, burning, etc.) I haven't quite gotten to the point where I'll mark in my planner but this book is helping me get there. That and looking at posts like this.