Repurposing Old Wall Calendars

By , January 2, 2013

On New Year’s Day, I spent a few minutes performing what has become an annual chore: cutting up the previous year’s wall calendar to save the art for future projects.

I take an inordinate amount of time to seek out an acceptable calendar to see me through each year. I really enjoy having a pleasant calendar on my wall, in a calendar frame. It’s art that changes every month. I choose them with care, making sure the one I select is worth having for a whole year. In fact, when the year has passed, I’m reluctant to give the artwork up. Which is why I often don’t.

garden journal

When I’d finished cutting up an old calendar for my projects, Michelle used the scraps to decorate the binder cover of her garden journal (Photo: Michelle Zeiger).

I’ve come too late to reusing calendar art. I’ve thrown away a lot of good calendars over the years; some I’d really like to have back, but never will.

I admit, I don’t recycle calendars, which is the most obvious way to reuse a good calendar. There are a finite number of day and date combinations. These can cycle around again in as little as six years, short enough to make it worth storing a calendar, long enough that the artwork will seem fresh and new again. All one has to do is make sure one doesn’t forget what year it is. If one can’t, it’s easy to write the current year over the old one!

I generally have other plans for the calendar. I like to cut them up and use them for other projects. I definitely save the main artwork, but often use the covers, edges and trimmings as well. I’m building a couple of frames that will allow me to display one or two seasonally-appropriate pictures throughout the year. I’ve made greeting cards, wrapping paper, and stuck artwork into the fronts of binders. Once I cut out the “thumbnails” of several year’s artwork and lined them up by month. I use these to mark a book of days I consult daily throughout each year, switching to a new bookmark each month.

None of this solves any urgent problems; and, even with the cost of some printed calendars, I’m not being extremely frugal by repurposing a calendar after its year comes and goes. But, I find satisfaction in the crafts I make with them, and I love keeping around the artwork I chose so carefully in the past to enjoy in the future.

You will find a version of the essay above, as well as writing on similar and related topics in the ebook, Sacred Coffee: A “Homesteader’s” Paradigm by Mark A. Zeiger. The ebook version will likely be expanded, clarified, or updated from what you have just read.

One Response to “Repurposing Old Wall Calendars”

  1. Shona Hilton says:

    I love this idea! I use the same calendars/datebooks as the one you have pictured and have been keeping them simply because I can’t bear to get rid of the artwork. Now I have a good use for them. Thanks for sharing this.

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