Tutorial: Perpetual Journal

Hello friends! I finally finished my family's Christmas presents this afternoon and decided to share the how-to with all of you.

You'll remember that I said in an earlier post that I'd tried to do this project but kept running into trouble. I used this tutorial ( with really beautiful pictures) from Design Sponge. It. requires. a. lot. of. steps.

And that didn't work for me.

So... here's my take on it! Easier! Not as much cutting!

Tutorial for a Perpetual Calendar


  • plastic basket from the Dollar Store (they came in a 3-pack)
  • 2 100-count packs of 3x5" index cards (you will need 365)
  • 1 card of a different color (this is for your birthday. If you choose, you can use the regular card and fuss it up a bit to make it special. You *need* to make it special, cos, chances are, no one else will!)
  • 12 larger sized index cards (for dividers)
  • magazines to cut up for the pretty pictures
  • ribbons and decorations to embellish (I hate this word) your basket
  • a small notepad and pen
I paid $1 for a 3-pack of baskets, $1 for each of the packs of cards ($3), and $1 each for the 3-pack of pens and the 5-pack of notepads ($1 for one-third of the baskets, pens and notepads). My biggest expense was for the date stamps and ink pads, but I will be using them for my Etsy shop, so it's okay. (I think I paid about $6 for the stamp and $5 each for the ink pads. Maybe you can borrow one from work?) You could substitute writing the dates for the stamp, but I really like the look of it, so it was a worthwhile expense for me. Like most of you, I already had the magazines and ribbon. 

I made six of these and the total cost for all of them was $21 (minus the stamps and ink). Take that, Economy!

  • xacto knife and self-healing mat
  • hot glue gun
  • glue stick (not really a tool, but you need it. don't give me a hard time.)
  • ruler
  • date stamp and two colors of ink pads
Step 1:
Count out 365 cards (or 366 if you are including your birthday card in the regular-colored ones) You want to have one for Leap Day, too, even though you'll hardly ever use it. Be prepared!

Step 2:
Stamp the dates on each of the cards, doing ONLY the month and day (not the year). I used black for everyday and red for special days (holidays). I didn't bother highlighting family members' birthdays. Half of the time, someone in my family isn't speaking to one or another of the family. No reason to bring up un-fond thoughts, eh?

 Step 3:
Make your month dividers. Cut the large cards the same width of the 3x5" cards (5 inches!) and a little taller. I found that I liked the height when I only cut off the bottom two lines' worth of card. 

Cut and paste pictures on each month divider. I chose pictures that more or less went with the feeling of the month. It didn't help that I only had October and December magazines. (Sure hard to find Fourth of July colors in those issues.) You could substitute scrapbook paper or any other paper you like for this part. I'm just partial to color and I love Martha Stewart magazines...

Put your dividers in to separate the months. Aaah...

Step 4:
Decorate your basket. I used ribbon woven in between the slits on the sides of the basket and glued a fabric rosette and button to the front of each basket. I don't know how well the decorations will hold up over time, but I'm hoping for the best. You can also leave it plain, duh.

How to use this thing:

The reason I am so excited by the idea of this perpetual calendar is that I love the idea of a diary or journal, but I simply don't make the time to write. On each of these date cards you've made up, just write the year and one line about your day. The first year will be a trial in patience, but in the years afterward will be really cool to look at what you've written.

This is how neat it would look if I'd been doing this already for four years...

Last, but not least, include a pen and a notepad with the calendar. That way there is no excuse NOT to write each day.

Good luck and Happy New Year!


Lindsey said…
I love this idea! I am totally making one for myself!
Sabrina said…
I am going to the dollar store TOMORROW! So excited. This is right up my alley!
Catherine Peart said…
Love this idea so much! I even have a card holder hanging around that I was wondering what to do with it. Buying the stuff to fill it tomorrow.
Tana said…
I'm definitely going to start this! Perfect timing too!
Unknown said…
I was thinking it would be fun to add random pics as you print them. Esp of the kids' birthdays and such!
Amy said…
So cute! What a great idea! Thanks for sharing.
Anonymous said…
I made one over the weekend and it was so easy! I am loving it and look forward to writing in it everyday!
Heather Eddy said…
It's now the 10th and I've written in mine each night. It's hard to distill a whole day into one line!

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