A fast, easy DIY present idea.
Day Planner Hack




Sometimes we love someone so much we want to buy them the greatest present in the world.  But sometimes we don’t have enough money for that and also we remember how they once said our hair looked bad and we sort of hate them.

Then what?

Well I’ll tell you.  You do what any self respecting person who prides themselves on giving good presents, yet also wants to make a point about how rude it is to make fun of someone’s handicap (double cowlicks at the temples).  You don’t buy them a beautiful, expensive present. You hack it yourself out of crap.  They’ll think you spent scads of money on it,  feel bad they didn’t get you more AND you’ll have the satisfaction of knowing they only think they got an expensive present, when in fact they got crap.


The DIY datebook hack.

When I was in Costco a month or so ago, I came across some cheap day planners. I bought them.  Because I’m happiest when I’m living in a world that is a comfortable balance between The Jetsons and Little House on the Prairie.  I use my iPhone for texts, Googling, email, photos, phone calls and scheduling appointments and reminders.  But I use a notebook for scheduling all of my posts and work related things I have to do.  I just find it’s easier.

I knew when I bought the day planners exactly what I was going to do with them.  I was gonna pimp them out with the help of my good friend Value Village.

Amazon has the same day planners  (but at $11.99 it’s more than what I paid for 2 of them at Costco).

This makes a great hair criticizing present, so if you’re looking for a quick, easy, inexpensive DIY that’ll make you look great, this is the way to go.


Day Planner  ($16 for 2)
Used leather coat or purse (apx. $14 … most coats will cover at least 2 date books)

That means you can produce 2 very nice gifts for a total of $30, or $15 each.

*hint*  When you’re looking for a coat pick a heavy leather or suede so it isn’t too flimsy and pick one that has skins large enough to cut out the book cover without running into seams.


1. Remove the ugly cover from the day planner.  Just pull it off of the rings.

2.  Lay the cover on your ugly coat.  If you can’t avoid seams, just line the seam up with the spine of the cover.

3.  Using the covers as a pattern, cut  out your new leather covers.




4.  Lay your old day planner cover on top of your newly cut out leather cutter.

5.  Mark the holes for the spiral binding with a Sharpie.

6.  Fold your leather cover in half along the spine and punch out the holes.  I used a paper punch, but if you have a leather punch use that.  It wasn’t too hard with the paper punch but it’s a bit hard on your hands.  I couldn’t rice potatoes for about 3 days afterwards.

7.  Now all you have to do is slip your new cover back onto the spiral binding. You did it.  You’re done.

This isn’t just about ugly versus not ugly by the way. The suede or leather just feels better than the hard plastic cover cheap day planners come with.



If you want incite extreme guilt from the gift receiver you can take it one step further and cut the suede/leather larger than the original cover and have it flap over the day planner.  Punch another hole in the centre of the cover and add a long strip to tie the planner up.




OR if you have a leather stamper (which I do) stamp the receiver’s initials or a message on the book.




This is a gift anyone would enjoy and appreciate.  Even your ex.




By the way, I’ve been meaning to tell you.  Your hair looks GREAT.

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  1. Marna says:

    So cool! :)

  2. Mel says:

    Yes… Thanks for the link, though! I remember scouring high and low looking for the supplies you used to make that glassed in fire for your patio, and no luck on the metal pot base, they were sold out everywhere.

  3. Mel says:

    Thanks, Karen – alas, it is one continuous spiral… so I don’t think it will work. I’m still really excited to try this, I just need a different kind of planner. Thanks!

  4. Mel says:

    HELP! Karen!! I was giddy with how perfect I could make this gift, and immediately ordered the planners you link to on Amazon… and they arrived today. And, just like in the picture, which I didn’t oogle to carefully on Amazon – that spiral ring is from HELL. The ones in your tutorial had, if I count correctly, 15 or 16 white spiral rings that you hole punched, and it looks like they are decently far apart. The ones I just got from amazon will require 26 holes, and they’re reallllly close together.

    I’m worried that I’m going to a) kill my hands trying to punch all these holes and b) that because there are so many, so close together, my lovely cover is going to tear off far too easily.

    So, I think tomorrow I venture to Office Max or Staples to look for other day planners, because I really am keen to try this crazy project. And I think I’m stuck returning these to Amazon.

    Karen, do you or your clever other readers have any tips for me, before I continue my shopping cycle?

    • Karen says:

      Hi Mel. Sorry to hear of your trouble! As long as the spirals are the same as mine (that can be pulled apart and aren’t one continuous spiral) I’d just punch them. (the way I did where you mark each hole using the original cover). Practice punching holes into your leather/suede first. If you have/can borrow a leather punch it’ll punch through the leather with EASE. I hear you about the holes being close together, but if your leather is heavy it won’t rip. Someone else mentioned they found a dayplanner at their Dollar store so that’s an option albeit not the best one if you’ve already bought these from Amazon. I did my best to find one on Amazon that was as similar to mine as possible for as low a price as possible. :( Sorry. ~ karen!

  5. Vanessa says:

    Just found the planners at the Dollar Store. :) And got a huge leather trench coat for free. So this will be the coolest cheap gift ever!!

  6. Jane says:

    Handful of comments for people who decide to try this on something thicker, like a blankbook.

    First, Karen, I seriously don’t know how you got your holes to line up, but I’m really impressed. For us lesser mortals, It is possible to do them one side at a time, by scrunching up the leather. Just make sure you mark every single hole. Also, remember to account for the width of the pages. Which I didn’t. Twice. And for a blankbook you might wanted to consider leaving in the heavy cardboard backing page to lean on. Also those spiral bindings get a little grouchy after you bend ’em back together for the fourth time.

    Only drawback to this is that there’s no way in hell my daughter is getting this now: I like it too much. No matter what nice things she says about my hair.

  7. Liz says:

    HA! oh please send that to him… with prescheduled appointments penciled in throughout the year to have head removed from ass.

  8. Vanessa says:

    I am going to make one of these for my brother…and it WILL be stamped “Asshead” :)

  9. Karol says:

    I actually LOVE this idea! Great hack, Karen… I bet you have never used a Crop A Dile, it would go through that leather like buttah. You should get one. It’s a Super hole puncher and eyelet setter. Tutorials are on YT.

  10. Jane says:

    Forget everyone else. Although the engraving is hysterically funny. I’m making this for me, to cover my cheap cardboard sketchbooks. Seriously, how did I not think of this. Thank you.

  11. Janet says:

    I think my hair IS one giant cowlick…how ever I wake up and wherever the cowlick has masterminded the swirl is how I work with it each morning. The cowlick wins every time. I don’t even own a brush as it doesn’t matter…tigi clay and hairspray baby! By the way…did you have to unroll the spiral all the way off and the spiral it back on with the new leather cover? Love the look and just cause you got me wondering…did you give that to an ex….really?

  12. kari says:

    Stupendous hack, just lovely. I think I will have to stamp these for my teen daughters with something more suitable than a–head, even though that’s what I”m thinking in my head sometimes. Bless their hearts! :-)

  13. Jody says:

    Brilliant. Sorry VV you won’t be getting my old leather coat now.

  14. Grammy says:

    Really good of you to say something nice about my hair since I just got the drywall mud out of it. I’m feeling perky now.

    This is a really good day for me: 9 inch hole in the ceiling fixed, picked up grandson from kindergarten and he lost his very first tooth today at school so TOOTH FAIRY tonight!, and then this most excellent idea and tutorial from Karen. Win, win, win.

    I’m retired, so I have absolutely NO use for a day planner. None. But I do use a day planner-sized address book to keep by my desktop computer so I have access numbers, login names, passwords, and all necessary info about websites I go to, as well as bank account number and credit card data so I can order things without getting up to get my cards out of my purse. It’s my most genius idea. I hate that plastic cover but the rest of it works for me. So, now I’m hunting down a nice piece of cheap leather to make it beautiful and nice to touch. Maybe I’ll make one for a gift, too. It could happen.

  15. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Nice hack..nice gift..Who would have ever thought to cover a planner with a coat??..Just our Karen..Thanks about the hair..I’m starting to like the long gray strands down both sides of my face..not sure I want to color it anymore..I have loved your hair ever since I met you..

  16. cbblue says:

    Great idea!!! Don’t you hate it when you get nose coffee on your keyboard?

  17. Lynn says:

    Fab hair Karen by the way

  18. jainegayer says:

    I’m wiping nose coffee once again off my keyboard! When will I learn???
    LOVE the craft and love even more the “ASSHEAD.”
    Can’t wait to make this.
    Thanks, Karen!

  19. Melissa in North Carolina says:

    Gotta love ASSHEAD!!! I just got my hair cut and a new style…thanks for noticing :)

  20. Kellie says:

    Were you in my bathroom this morning? Cause I really do have great hair today. I wish I could spell the sound of my laugh when I read ASSHEAD. Hysterical!

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