I’ve been planning in my Erin Condren planner for a while now and I decided that since I use free stickers every week I would share some tips and tricks with you.
- Find a way to get cheap printer ink. This is a must. Printing your own stickers will dwindle your ink supply rapidly, luckily for me my dad gets given free ink as a job perk but if you are having to pay for yours you need to keep an eye on the cost. Try bulk deals, local libraries and internet offers. This is the same principle for paper, it’s likely that you will use a lot so you need to bare this in mind. Also card stock is a lifesaver – I recently started using it instead of paper and it makes my spreads so much more durable, it is slightly harder to cut out but I think it’s worth it.
- Start compiling a list of good websites. The last thing you want to do is find a good site and then forget about it when you actually need it; I get around this by having a bookmark folder in my browser and also a pinterest board. (Which you can view and follow here for inspiration and free printables!) You could also start a list on the notes page of your planner.
- Decide whether you want to use sticker paper or glue. I started off using sticker paper, then I switched to glue and now I do a mixture of both. I don’t have a silhouette machine so I have to cut out my stickers by hand and I used to find that it was then extremely difficult to peel the sticker backing off – this can be solved by using a craft knife to score the edges of the stickers which should then peel off as though printed professionally. The only downside to this is that I find it takes a long time and you have to be precise which is why nine times out of ten I simply print off on normal paper and use either scissors or my paper trimmer which, brings me onto my next point.
- A paper trimmer will save your life, I picked up an A4 one at my local craft shop when I was just starting out with planning. It was only fifteen pounds and was one of the best purchases I have ever made! Cutting out full boxes or anything with a straight edge now takes a lot less longer than it did originally. All I have to do is feed it in and drag the blade. Simple! It also comes in really handy for my photography sketchbook.
- Keep a box or folder for already cut stickers, by this I mean sometimes you will print out a sheet of stickers and find that you don’t end up using all of them – that’s okay! You can just cut out and store the leftovers for use another time; I need to get a bigger box because mine is actually overflowing. It’s also super handy to have some of your frequently used stickers precut, this way if you are short for time one week you can just delve into a ready supply. Put aside an afternoon one week and dedicate it to printing and cutting stickers, it’s tedious but worth it in the long run.
- See if your local craft shop has a loyalty card. I signed up for a paperchase loyalty card last month because I kept finding myself in there and now I get great discounts and offers. I buy stamps, stickers and washi in there so it gets a lot of use! Also always be on the lookout for stickers that fit your planner, as well as decorative ones. Often I find stickers that just happen to be full boxes – which is like a dream come true.
- Mix and match kits. One free kit may just not strike you by itself but sift through the internet and you will find pieces from several different kits you can use all at once. Some websites specialise in sidebars, whilst others may do full/half boxes and page flags. Out of washi tape? No problem, you can print that for free on some websites too!
- Make your own. All you need is Google and Microsoft word to get started. I use this template and simply copy and paste images into the pre-sized boxes! No more guess work or trying to measure boxes. It is also really simple to judge the correct size of headers and half boxes just by looking at the template.
- Be willing to spend time on it. It will be slow to start with but as you get more used to it you will have more stickers already and it will get quicker. Occasionally I get frustrated that I can’t just grab a pre-made sheet of pretty stickers and start peeling and sticking, but then I remember that this way I am saving money and being unique. I’m grateful that I could even afford a planner in the first place.
- Inspiration comes from everywhere but if you are ever stuck for ideas just search ‘planner spread’ on pinterest or Google and thousands of beautiful spreads will appear. Try and pick a theme before you start because this will make it much easier and you will have a focus. The most important thing is that it suits you and your needs!