Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas: Calendars

The holiday season is coming and everyone is on the lookout for the perfect present for a friend or a loved one. Did you think of creating a custom present? Creating a calendar is an easy project with PaintShop Pro and you can either print it at home, or go to a local print shop for a more professional result (or simply a different size than what your printer can do). You can choose to display photos of the kids for grandma to enjoy, or photos of cars from the antique car show for Cousin Frank.

There are different types of calendars and they can take on varied format. You can have a calendar that shows the whole year below a single photo montage, or you can have different photos for each month. You can have the dates printed directely onto the page, or on a separate page. The possibilities are numerous which also means that you can create different presents using the same photos, collages, or scrapbook layouts. Although you can do everything from scratch, you might want to look into the numerous supplies available in digital scrapbook sites.

Let’s have a look at a simple way to create your own custom calendar in 6 steps:

1)      Background and photos

Assuming you want to print at home, start with a standard 8.5×11 inches blank canvas (or 2550×3300 pixels for a good 300ppi resolution). The 300 ppi resolution is a good habit to take for anything that will be printed. It does use a larger canvas but it also gives you more room to create your project and more pixels means more details. If you choose to get your project printed by a print shop, you will definitely see the difference in quality.

Image 1Add a background pattern on your canvas either with the flood fill tool (if you have a pattern that you like) or you can use a paper from a scrapbooking kit. Since the standard scrapbook paper is typically 3600×3600, you will not have to trim anything, since the excess will just not show. Generally speaking, you will want a nearly solid paper or a lightly patterned one.

Layer your photos where you want them, mainly on the top half. Since this calendar page will not be folded, it is ok to go down more if you need to. You can focus on a single photo or on a series of related photos. Crop your photos to really focus on the subject. Remove any unwanted or excess space. Do you want square photos or rectangular ones? Or round ones? Or rounded corner ones? It is the time to adjust those shapes. It is also a good time to fix colors or brightness too. Do you know that turning your photo in black and white is a great way to use photos with bad colors?

2)      Embellish it Image 2

Add various decorative elements that you might find in a scrapbook kit, in the PSP picture tubes, or you can include elements you might have extracted yourself from other photos. This would make your project even more personalized. Among the elements you can include are frames, mats, fasteners, ribbons and bows, flowers and greeneries, but there is really no limit to what you can use. You can use a simplistic style with very few decorative elements and let the photos shine on their own, or you can layer multiple elements in clusters for a more dynamic effect. The choice is yours.

3)      The finishing details 

Once you are happy with the arrangement of all the elements, you can add all the finishing touches, like the shadows (they are very important), brushwork if you want, or any hand doodling you might decide to include.

4)      The month

What is a calendar without knowing what month it is? So, you need to include the month in a very obvious way on your page. You can place that on top, with the photos and embellishment using an alphabet that matches the style and the supplies used in that section. If you prefer to use the Text tool, you can also place it with the topper or have it on the bottom part, where all the dates will be.

Image 4

There is no right or wrong way to go about this. It will simply depend on your own preferences and the look you want to get from the calendar. It might, however, be a good idea to use a single general style throughout the whole calendar for a more cohesive look.

5)      The dates

The one absolutely essential element of a calendar will be the dates. The way you will display the dates will depend on how you think this calendar will be used. Will it be only a pretty reference on the wall, or will it be used to add various appointments and reminders? In the first case, you can have all the dates in a small area (or along a single line), but for the second option, you will definitely want to have boxes large enough to write something.

Image 5

There are two ways to add the dates: the long way and the short way! In the short way, you can find various calendars already made, online, that you can copy and paste as their own layer. You might not have the many options like the size, the font, the color and the spacing, but it is definitely faster.

The long way involves creating the dates with the Text tool yourself. If you want to place the dates in a standard weekly format, you will have to write the dates one at the time using the Text tool. Add each date separately aligning them perfectly using the guides. If you want boxes to incorporate those dates, create one, and duplicate it multiple times. Align them with the guides and your calendar will be perfectly balanced.

Finally, add a line for the days of the week. You can add the whole name of the days or just use the initials.

6)      Print it

Once you are done with all those steps for each month, it is time to print. You can also add a cover page if you want, and this could be a great way to showcase a summary photo of the calendar, or add a special message to the recipient. If you print at home, you can go to a local office supplies store and have them bind the top. And voilà! You have a custom calendar for Aunt Lucy ready to wrap or send.

Give it a quick start

If you are in a rush and find that creating everything from scratch is a bit too long for what you have available, you can always use quick-pages. Those are pages already made, in PNG format, where you can simply add photos too. Although you have fewer options as far as size, shape and number of photos, it will take you a fraction of the time. If you are new to using Paintshop Pro, this course can be a great introduction to it, while giving you all the supplies and instructions you need to create a useful project for yourself or as a present. And if you are already familiar with PSP, it will be a super quick project without the need to search for supplies.

About Carole Asselin

Carole is a French Canadian who was born in Montreal but has lived in New Brunswick with her husband for almost 30 years. She has been an avid PaintShop Pro user for 10 years and has taught digital scrapbooking online and in-person to hundreds of users. Over the years, she has written hundreds of tutorials and since opening the Scrapbook Campus two years ago, she has converted the plain written tutorials into multimedia ones, including videos and detailed guidebooks. When time allows, Carole also likes to create scrapbook pages but is more interested by the technical aspect of digital scrapbooking.
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4 Responses to Homemade Holiday Gift Ideas: Calendars

  1. Teejay2011 says:

    although I am not a newbie to paint shop pro.. ..I am new to calendar making..
    I found the calendar class excellent …easy to follow good fun to do and at a very low price..
    I tried this class last year and am still using the same pack this year
    …Carole gives you more than enough to play with
    all who received a calendar asked for another this year….You cant get better than that…
    this year I have added a few of my own back grounds and a few of my own tubes too
    thank you Carole for an excellent project, I wanted you to know mine is still very much in action.

  2. Raymond says:

    Anyone alive at your guys customer service? Claimed there was some one online who I can contact and after multiple tries it just says no agents available to help me and when I call im waiting on hold forever. Whoever working customer service need to be fired!!

    • Michaela Schreiter says:

      Hi Raymond,
      I am very sorry for the frustration. Our Support team has created a case for you and will be in touch shortly to help you.
      Thank you,

  3. Lawanna says:

    This is a subjet matter this is near to my heart…

    Best wishes! Exactly where are your contact details though?

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