DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers

Right around New Years, I discovered the amazingness that is an **Erin Condren Life Planner** (oh, EC, where were you when I was in college?!).  I’ve always held a special place in my heart for office supplies, and if you make them super cute and colorful, I’m SOLD!

Since learning of this amazing line of organizational wonder, I’ve come to find that Ms. Condren has quite a devoted fan base who swear by, not only the cuteness factor, but also the functionality of these planners.  Practical and pretty?!?  Be still my nerdy heart….

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

[Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.]

 

I’m currently using my planner more for my blog organization as opposed to my life (hey, I’m a stay-at-home-mom of one toddler, so I don’t require much life planning, plus the blog planner I was using didn’t work out for me.).  She also sells teacher lesson planners, notebooks, notepads, phone covers, canvas prints, business cards, and all varieties of super pretty and personalized goodies.

 

**Want to Save $10?!**

Just CLICK HERE to get $10 OFF your first Erin Condren purchase!  Wahoo!

 

There are bea-u-tiful personalized interchangeable life planner covers available for purchase on Erin Condren’s website, and since I bought the quick ship version of her planner, mine arrived with an unpersonalized cover featuring a motivational quote.  The quick ship planners also come with a coupon for a free* personalized cover….notice that asterisk there, though?  Yeah, the coupon doesn’t cover shipping….boo!!

So that got me thinking I could probably just make own cover thanks to receiving every nerdy girl’s dream gift for Christmas….a laminator!  More on my dorkiness below.  Plus, I love all things DIY and this project sparked some inspiration within me!

 

DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers

Supplies

 

UPDATE: DIY Snap-In Meal Planner/To-Do List & FREE Printable!

Since I first shared this post, I’ve also created my own DIY version of the Erin Condren snap-in meal planner & to-do list.  It uses the same supplies and process as this project.  You can check out my full tutorial for that as well, and also snag the FREE printable if you’d like to make your own….since you’ll already be making some DIY covers. ;)

DIY Erin Condren Snap-In Meal Planner/To-Do List & FREE Printable! | Where The Smiles Have Been

 

The Erin Condren Life Planner

Look at this beauty!  Like I mentioned earlier, I purchased the quick ship option so I could receive my planner sooner (I’m rather impatient) and it came with this cover featuring a colorful motivational quote.  Nice, right?   Not personalized though….that needs to change ASAP.

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

One of the wonderful things about this year’s life planner is that the covers are now interchangeable! Yep, you can easily change them out for every holiday, season, occasion, mood, etc.  So many possibilities!

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

 

Creating My Own DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Cover

I first grabbed a ruler and measured out the actual size of the cover design, not including the clear laminated border.  The design measured 6.75″ x 8.875″ (or 8 & 7/8″….yes, I totally had to Google it!).

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

 

Free Downloadable Covers!

Now that I had my measurements, I moved along to making my own cover.  You can of course use any design or image your little heart desires….something DIY, a picture or quote from the interwebs, a page from a magazine, whatev.

I headed over to Pinterest and searched for “free binder covers” and found a bunch of great sites that offered cute designs…..for FREE!  Here are some of my favorite ones that would make great personalized Erin Condren Life Planner covers:

 

My Cover Images

Like I mentioned, I used a cover from Happily Hope….she’s put together a bunch of Lily Pulitzer and Vera Bradley prints, and the one I picked is just so colorful and cheery!  Bright colors make me happy.

I downloaded it then opened it up in Photoshop Elements, flipped it upside down (I just like this look better), then added my name.  For the inside of my cover, I decided I didn’t need to worry about a box for my contact info, so I chose to use a picture of my adorably handsome son from his first birthday photo session, which I then added his name to….opening up my planner and seeing that cute little dude is bound to put a smile on my face every. single. time.

No Photoshop?  No Problem!  If you don’t have Photoshop Elements (which is the cheaper-but-just-as-awesome cousin of regular Photoshop), you can also use free online programs like PicMonkey or Canva to jazz up a design, add your name, and/or make it look totally profesh.  Phone and/or iPad apps might also get the job done as well, such as the one I used for doodling on my son’s many faces.

Now that both of my images were ready, it was almost time to print.  I first resized both files to be printed at 6.75″ x 8.875″ and printed them out on some matte photo paper on my home printer.

(You could use regular printer paper if you wanted, but the images will look crisper on photo paper, and the cover will be a little more durable thanks to the extra thickness.)

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

I then grabbed my paper trimmer and cut the images down to size.  (You could of course use scissors if you don’t have a paper trimmer….no biggie.)

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

Now both sides of my front cover were printed, trimmed, and ready to go!  In order to make things easier in the next step (laminating), I grabbed a small piece of double-sided tape and stuck the two images together, back-to-back, making sure the edges were aligned.  This isn’t necessary, of course, it just made things a little easier.

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

 

Laminating the Cover

I’m one of those crazy people who absolutely LOVES shopping for office supplies.  A trip to Staples just gets me all giddy and I could literally spend all day browsing….sort of like shopping the gadget wall at Bed Bath and Beyond (not office supplies, of course, but equally amazing).

Well, this past Christmas, I received….a LAMINATOR.  My very own laminating machine….squeeeee!  My brother looked at me with great confusion when I started hugging the box after unwrapping it, no joke.  Since I also just received my very first Erin Condren Life Planner, I thought combining the two would be a great way to test out my new machine.

No Laminator?  No Problem!  Just take your designs to an office supply store and have them laminated there….Staples can do it for as little as $1.49!

Since my design was now ready to go, I inserted it into an 8.5″ x 11″ laminating pouch.  I positioned it all the way in the bottom left corner and made sure the edging around it was the same size as the laminated edging around the original Erin Condren cover.

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

Once it was in position and my laminator was warmed up, I fed it on through.  A few seconds later, my first laminated project was complete and almost ready to be transformed into a cute and colorful custom cover!

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

 

Trimming the Laminated Cover

Now that my cover was laminated, it was time to trim it to size.  I once again grabbed my original Erin Condren cover, placed it underneath my new laminated cover, then trimmed off the excess lamination with scissors using the original cover’s edges as a guide.

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

Looky there!  My new cover is now {almost} finished!

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

 

 

Adding the Spine Coil Holes

I needed to add the holes for the spine coils next.  To do this, I first placed the original Erin Condren cover overtop my new DIY one and aligned the edges.  Then I grabbed a dry erase marker (you could also use a wet erase or washable marker, but DO NOT use a Sharpie or permanent marker….the results would not be pretty.  You’ll see in a bit.), and simply marked where each of the holes were.

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

[Note: The dry erase marker does not really want to wipe off the inner edges of the holes on the original Erin Condren cover.  I haven’t really tried too hard to clean it, but a paper towel doesn’t get the job done….just a friendly FYI.]

Then I used a 1/8″ circle hand punch and punched out each of the holes.  I wasn’t super duper careful when lining up the punches….good enough here was good enough.  Feel free to be extra precise if you’d like, though!

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

After the first few, I got into a nice rhythm and punched out all the holes in no time.

And can you see now why you don’t want to use a permanent marker for marking the hole placements??  I’ll clean up the excess markings in just a bit.

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

 

Snipping Slots for the Coils

The last step in creating my DIY cover was snipping the slots that allow the cover holes to slide around the spine coils.  Using my scissors, I just snip-snip-snipped down the cover and cut little lines into each new hole.

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

 

Snap on the New DIY Cover!

I then grabbed a paper towel and wiped away the excess dry erase marker….then snapped my new completely custom and DIY cover onto my Erin Condren Life Planner!

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

 

The Final DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Cover!

How beautiful is this?!  Bright, colorful, personalized, and looks quite professional, no?  Maybe one day I’ll get around to using my coupon for my real (almost) free cover.  For now, though, I’m more than happy with my DIY one!

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

And just look when I turn and open up the cover….my handsome little guy is right there.  Ahhhh, he melts my heart….

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

This cover was so darn easy to make, I decided to make another one!  I fired up Photoshop Elements again and made this second one as a complete DIY using a flower graphic, so it’s very similar to the real Erin Condren floral ones….and perfect for Valentine season!

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

I used another pic of my handsome little devil as the inside image for this cover as well…..so. much. cuteness!

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

Now I have TWO personalized options that I can switch out in a jiffy!

How-to-Make-Erin-Condren-Life-Planner-Interchangeable-Covers-Animated

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

How to Make DIY Erin Condren Life Planner Interchangeable Covers! Save money and make your own! #erincondren

 

Granted, my DIY covers obviously aren’t as professional-grade and the lamination isn’t as thick since I used a personal laminator.  However, they certainly get the job done and are a cheap and easy alternative to the real thing!

Thanks so much for stopping by!

Where The Smiles Have Been

 

 

 

Tiny Prints Three Free Samples

About Christine

I'm Christine, a SAHM to a spunky toddler and his mini-me infant brother, and married to the best guy you'll ever meet. I (try to) spend their nap times getting my craft on and I blog about my creations and adventures in parenting at Where The Smiles Have Been. My loves are all things DIY, especially Silhouette projects, wreaths, & personalized decor. And ice cream....definitely love me some ice cream.

Comments

  1. Great information! Thank you so much. I was looking at the laminating pouches and noticed that there are many different thicknesses. Do you know what thickness you used?

  2. I have just purchased an EC Planner and I wanted to make my own personalised dividers/inserts using my kids photos. This has been a great help. Can’t wait for the planner to arrive now so I can start my photo dividers. What a great top. Thank you.

  3. Maariya says:

    You are AWESOME for posting this!!! It helped me SO much, and so did your FREE Meal-Plan print-out blog.. ;) I wanted to purchase the snap-in Meal-Plan accessory with my Life Planner from the Erin Condren website, but they were out of stock! :'( I would’ve had to pay more than DOUBLE the amount just for shipping, so I totally owe it to you!! This is AMAZING, SUCH a great idea. You are incredibly creative!! I’m still waiting for my Life Planner to arrive this Monday… I know… I regret not selecting the express option, but hey! I’ll be ready with many DIY interchangeable covers, so just wanted to say a huuuge THANK YOU!!!!! :D

  4. Hello and Happy New Year 2016 !

    I’m from Belgium so excuse my English :)
    Your blog is fantastic !!! Really..
    I would like to know how you do to print on the pages of your book (for the calendars,… ) .

    thank you,
    Manuela

  5. Where did you get the floral cover from?? It’s beautiful xxxxx

    • Thanks so much, Jenna! I actually made that one from scratch. I found a free clip art online and then layered them up in Photoshop and added my name. Thanks for stopping by!

  6. Now that you’ve had the laminator for almost a year, would you say that it’s still a great thing to have? I’ve been toying with the idea of getting one but I’m not sure! :) I just today decided to get an EC planner since everyone raves about them and I love the idea of being able to switch out my covers whenever I’m bored with the old one!

  7. Thank you so much for posting this. I manage to create my image in pic monkey and it looks great. But what program did you use to print it? Every time I try to print it it becomes larger :(
    Please help !

    • Hi there, Raquel! So sorry to hear you’re having trouble! I printed my images from Photoshop. I don’t have much personal experience with PicMonkey so I’m not really sure why you’re running into that issue. What settings do you have selected when you’re printing? It sort of sounds like you have it set to fill page or something like that instead of keeping it true-to-size. I would first check those, or can you maybe save your image and then open the file in another program and print it from there? I have a Mac and sometimes things work more smoothly if I print from Preview. Darn technology!

  8. Oh. My. Gawd!!!!! I could kiss your face right now!!!! THANK YOU!!!!

  9. So I just purchased the life planner and didn’t realize it wasn’t 8×11 until it arrived. I am trying to put together the same thing but larger. Do you know where I can purchase the spine coil (the thing that holds it all together?

    Kindly,
    Melissa

    • Hmmmm Melissa, I’m not too sure. I know office supply stores like Staples can bind things for you, but I’m not sure if they sell the metal coil spines. Maybe check with them, and of course possibly Amazon. It might also be worth a shot to maybe just grab a large notebook (like a five-subject one) and uncoil the spine or rip out the pages and see if you can use it for your new purpose. Good luck!

  10. Christine,
    I love your tutorial. I have been playing with using my Cricut to cut the holes. Now, I am not sure that it is worth the hassle. You made it look so easy! I have several items ready to add to my EC. ( I double laminated them for more sturdiness!) Thanks so much for your details!

    • Hey Melissa! Yeah, I thought about using my Silhouette to make the spine holes, but like you, I decided it was too much work. A hole punch is so easy though! And that’s a great idea about double laminating! I might go back and do that to these, and will definitely try it out with any future covers. Thanks for the tip! :)

  11. Oh my goodness, I love this! I just ordered my first EC planner after three years of using Lilly Pulitzer and I can’t wait for it to come, especially now that I can have a Lilly print on my cover. I’m trying to make the cover before my planner actually arrives to save time, so is there any way you could tell me the margins for the lamination on each side? I’m getting it done by Office Depot, so I want to make sure I give them the right instructions!

    Thanks so much!

  12. I have been hearing so much about these planners lately and have *almost* ordered one I think 3 separate times…but I went ahead and took the plunge and ordered my first one yesterday!! I am so excited! And I can’t wait to make my own cover, too :-) Thanks for the tips (and the referral link)!

    • Yay, Meredith! I’m sure you will love it! I mean you can’t beat cute office supplies. ;) I really want to try out the new horizontal layout too…which style did you get? I think that would work better for my life since I’m not *that* busy and don’t need the days divided into three sections. Let me know how you like yours! Oh, and thanks for using the referral link! ;)

  13. thank you

  14. Your custom covers look great. I love how you created the holes in your covers without any fancy machines. I see people talking about these planners all the time but I have yet to see one in real life. I will have to check it out.

    • Thanks so much, Kelly! Yeah, I thought about using my Silhouette for cutting the holes, but that would have been too much hassle. The hole punch saved the day! :)

  15. I’ve heard several people rave about these planners, and being able to add your own cover just adds to the fun :) Love the ones you created, Christine!!

  16. I so enjoyed reading this. I can completely relate to the sheer joy of office supplies, as I feel the very same way in those stores, not to mention craft stores like Michael’s & Hobby Lobby… It was only a few short months ago that I even heard about Erin Condren on Pinterest and since I was needing a planner anyway, I decided to see what all of the fuss was about & I am completely in love!!! I can’t wait to make my own personalized cover, thanks to you ;-)

    • Yes Kelli, craft stores will be the death of me too! I definitely have to hit those up without my husband or son….I like to gingerly peruse each and every aisle, usually multiple times. :) I hope you have fun making your own covers for your planner! :)

  17. Kimberley says:

    Thank you! I made covers tonight all thanks to you. I love how they look, and I am so please with it :)

  18. Beautiful covers!! A personal planner cover would be fun to create :) I’ll have to give this a try if I ever splurge on an EC planner!

    • Thanks so much, Ann! I know, these EC planners are a bit of a hit on the pocketbook, but they’re just so cute! I’m a sucker for cute office supplies. :)

  19. I love this! Thanks for the detailed directions! I’m getting a Plum Paper planner this year and I’ve heard the EC covers fit so I’ll try to make my own! Do you know the thickness of the lamination pouch you used? I have a laminator and am thinking that 5 mil will be better. Thanks!

    • Thanks, Stacia! That’s good to know that the Plum Paper planners fit the same size of covers (I’ve never heard of those before….I need to check them out!). According the lamination pouch box, they’re 3 mil thick, and then I added two sheets of photo computer paper to the inside. Hope this helps! :)

  20. Tonya Gambin says:

    Awesome post! I’ve been doing this exact thing for 2 years, love my covers too! :)

  21. Thank you for this detailed DIY! I’m not-so-patiently awaiting my EC life planner to arrive, and looking up ways to personalise it in the mean time. This is right up my alley! Looks like I might have to go shopping, since I don’t have a laminator nor the little hole puncher tool, haha!

  22. Francesca says:

    Are you usng a 1/8″ round punch? Your holes look more oval to me, but perhaps not. Just want to make sure I buy the right thing! :-)

    • Hello Francesca! Yep, I’m using a 1/8″ circle punch (there’s a link to it above). The holes on the original EC cover are more oval, but my hole punch is a perfect circle. Good luck making your own cover! :)

  23. I absolutely love this! Will you be willing to make one for purchase?

    • Hello Laila! I’m so happy to hear you enjoyed this post! Sorry, but I just don’t have the time available or the means right now to make things for purchase. My son is starting school this fall, so I hope to open up an online shop at that time. Thanks for stopping by!

  24. I just went through your tutorial step by step and I LOVE my new cover!!! Thank you so much for this!

  25. I love a good planner! And how super smart to DIY your own covers! Thanks for linking up at Creative Spark; hope you’ll join us again this week :)

  26. THANK YOU!!!! I love the roses cover with the name in the middle, that is what I was going to order, because I too ordered the quick ship life planner, but when I went tonight to order that cover I found that its no longer listed!
    Plus to make matters worse, the option to put your name in the middle of the cover is not listed either. For an additional $15 you can personalize it further.
    Very disappointed in Erin Condren Life Planner at this point. We pay a small fortune for the planner and then they want anywhere from $10.95 to $25.95 to personalize it with your name in the middle of the planner.
    I am going to use your idea and make my own.

    Thanks again,
    JC

    • Hey JC! Say whaaaat?? Up to $25.95 for a cover?!? I had no idea some were that pricey! Thanks for sharing….I’m very glad I decided to make my own now, and I’m happy to hear this tutorial will be of help to you as well. Thanks for stopping by!

      • Rebecca says:

        Thank you for the tutorial. I’m going to make my own as well. I just ordered my first EC planner and I was impatient as well and ordered the ready to ship planner and just received it. I love the planner but I do want a pretty cover with my name on it. As promised the planner did come with a coupon for a free personalized cover so I eagerly got online to order it and it will be $10 to ship my free cover for the $50 planner that i just paid $10.00 to have shipped, plus tax. The ready to ship option is now expensive in the long run :(

        • I know exactly what you mean, Rebecca!! I was really bummed to see that the coupon in my ready-to-ship planner was actually not for “free” personalized cover….boo to that! Have fun making your own (and saving a bunch of money while doing it)! :)

  27. CLEARLY I need a laminator in my life! Oh my.

  28. Courtney English says:

    I am so happy you posted this tutorial. Thank you Thank you !

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