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  • DIY IT Gifts Photo Gifts

    Make a Photo Calendar – DIY or Ordered?

    Photo calendars presented as gifts combine personalisation and practicality. Designing a photo calendar takes less than a day, and it is enjoyed by all household members for an entire year. The only question is: Is it better to make a photo calendar yourself or to order it from a photo printing service?

    My first DIY photo calendar

    I created my first photo calendar eight years ago for a boyfriend. The price of this photo gift was not for my budget, and it seemed rather easy to make it, so I decided to design it on my own. First, I picked photos presenting him with various people: me, his family and friends. Then, I matched the outfits in the pictures with the seasons of the year, and important events with the months in which they took place (e.g. a photo on a ski slope in January and a New Year’s Eve party photo in December). I placed each photo in the top half of a page in MS Word document, with the name of the month written with the Word Art tool. In the bottom half, I inserted a table with days of the month, which I wrote down manually. I also remembered to mark important dates: holidays and birthdays of all of our friends. After I had 12 pages and the cover ready, I took the printouts to a photo printing service, where it was bound with a spiral for a nominal fee. In my opinion, it was as pretty and practical as professionally printed photo calendars, and it adorned my boyfriend’s bedroom for a whole year.

    My second photo calendar ordered online

    When I prepared a photo calendar for the second time, for my grandpa, I decided to order it online. Firstly, I remembered how much time and effort it cost me to create my first photo calendar. Secondly, I wanted a different format than A4. And thirdly, I no longer had access to free colour prints. Therefore, I picked one of the smaller formats and made a photo calendar with my grandfather’s scanned photos.


    Did my grandfather use his photo calendar?

    Yes and no. He did look at it frequently. However, he never turned the pages. Every time I visited him, I saw exactly the same month illustrated by the photo of grandpa with all of his grandchildren. This gift taught me something important: If you want to look at yourself, you use a mirror. Grandparents, in turn, are more eager to look at the photos of their offspring, especially if they can’t see them on everyday basis. The next time, I was much wiser, and my present was so successful, that I no longer need to wonder what my close relatives would like to receive. Last Christmas my aunts and uncles envied my grandparents their gift so much that this year I am going to make not one but five photo calendars.


    Photo calendar – do it yourself or order it in a printing service?

    When it comes to photo albums as gifts, I have no doubts that photo books are a better solution [if you want to know why, go back to my post about the advantages of photo books]. As regards calendars, I am not that certain since I can think of strong arguments for both sides.

    The price of photo calendars depends on their size and number of pages, and varies from $10 to $100. Calendars similar to what you can do at home cost ca. $25. If you have a good colour printer, and the only thing you lack to make a photo calendar is a spiral, printing it on your own will be much cheaper.


    What are the advantages of using photo printing services?

    Firstly: you have myriads of layouts and backgrounds to choose from, and the editing applications are very user-friendly. Furthermore, you can be sure that the effect of your work will be aesthetic. The MS Word editor, in turn, is not a graphic editor, so if you want to use it for purposes other than writing texts, you may find it rather cumbersome. Naturally, you don’t have to consider these issues if you make a photo calendar manually, and not on the computer, yet in such a case creating several copies requires much more work.

    Secondly: the days of the month are inserted automatically. I can still remember how much time it took me to write them all in my boyfriend’s calendar. Moreover, several months after he received his present, it turned out that I had made a minor mistake, and the days of the month didn’t match the days of the week. When you order calendars from a photo printing service, you don’t need to worry about such things. You may also automatically insert the dates of all public holidays.

    Thirdly: the program saves and stores the information you have provided. You will only appreciate this after a year has passed since you made your first photo calendar, and you want to recreate it. It is enough to write down the dates of your family feasts (birthdays, anniversaries, etc.) once for the program to save it and display it on request when you create a new calendar. Owing to this feature, I hope that this year I will design my photo calendars with lightning speed.

    What do you think? Is it better to create a photo calendar on your own or to order it from a photo printing service? Let me know in the comments below!

    P.S. If the only thing that stops you from designing and printing a photo calendar on your own is my second argument, you may use a template I have prepared for year 2017. On 12 pages I inserted tables with days of the month, with Sundays and feasts marked in bold. You may edit the template as you wish: change colours, fonts, sizes, etc. and write down all of your important dates. On the top of each page, there is a space left for your photos.

    Download the calendar


    Have a nice time designing your photo calendars!



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    My advice:

    – If you start designing your photo calendar early enough, you will surely find a special offer that will considerably reduce its initial price .

    – If you decide to make your photo calendar on your own, whether manually or on the computer, remember to leave some free space at the top of the page to place the spiral!


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