Calendar freebies are an opportunity you don’t want to miss out on. That’s because a good chunk of people uses a calendar in some way.
Your job is to be creative and figure out how to use a calendar to help solve a problem or achieve a goal. The good news is that it can work for pretty much any niche!
This post will focus on monthly calendars. The three styles include:
Here is a preview of the three types of calendars I will show you how to make in Canva!
How To Create A Calendar In Canva
To create a calendar in Canva you need to decide on three specific elements.
- Size of your design.
- Amount of days.
- Dated or undated?
Let’s discuss this a little further.
Element #1: Choosing the size of your calendar.
There are quite a few different design sizes to choose from but I recommend since this is a printable calendar, to sticking with the standard printer size: 8.5″ X 11″.
But don’t feel limited by that size. You can also choose a size that fits within the standard printer size. For example, other calendar sizes you can try are:
- 6.5″ X 8.5″
- 8″ X 10″
- 4″ X 8″
- 5″ X 10″
Also, consider the layout of your calendar. Do you want it to be portrait (vertical) or landscape (horizontal)? Either will work well, so choose the one you like best.
Element #2: How many days will your calendar have?
This is essential because it will determine the layout of your calendar. The types of calendars you can choose from are:
Like I stated earlier in this post, I will be showing how to create a monthly calendar printable. But you can take all the steps and use them to create a different style calendar.
Element #3: Should it be a dated or undated calendar?
A dated calendar is one where each day is set with a specific date. This will allow a blogger to use it in real-time and can be a great way to interact with your readers.
With a dated calendar you can create a monthly/weekly schedule where you send out your printable calendar that has goals or tasks associated with it. This can keep your email list activity involved with your blog.
Whereas with an undated calendar, there are no dates associated with them.
Undated calendars are left blank and made so that you can fill in the dates as you please. These are great calendars that allow people to use them over and over again.
With an undated calendar, you can create a freebie that you don’t have to worry about updating all the time.
So choose which one will work best with the freebie idea you have in mind.
Once you have answered these three essential elements, we can now move onto the designing process in Canva.
One Big Detail to Note About Designing in Canva
I love creating my printables in Canva. You will rarely hear me saying anything negative about it but I actually avoided creating calendars in Canva for quite awhile.
And that is because I find their alignment tool lacking.
They do have two types of alignment tools, one where a line appears in your design space and the other is located within the Position button located in the top-right corner of your screen. It is right next to the Group button.
The problem I have with it is that it isn’t very good or reliable. Especially when you compare it to PowerPoint or Google Slides.
If you have read any of my other blog posts that mention Canva, you know that I love everything about it…except for their alignment tool. I tend to be a little neurotic when it comes to having every element perfectly aligned. It is why I love to use PowerPoint.
Related Post: 6 Google Slides Tools for Creating Printables
I Finally Decided to Solve This Problem by Creating the Alignment Tool
Within the past year, I came up with a genius solution (if I do say so myself) and created the Alignment Tool. This tool makes it so that you can align each element in a matter of seconds and know that it is aligned.
There is no more questioning if it looks perfectly spaced or not. Plus, it has made speed up the amount of time I spend designing in Canva.
You can get my Alignment Tool for FREE in my Printables Kickstart Toolkit. Click here to get access to my toolkit resource library right now!
Why do I bring this up?
Because my Alignment Tool is what I use to craft a calendar in less than 10 minutes. In fact, it probably only takes me 5 minutes but I tend to play around and experiment with different ideas.
So in answer to the question above about how to create a calendar in Canva, I recommend using my alignment tool.
Okay, let’s hop into the design portion of this blog post. I am going to go over three different styles of monthly calendar printables that you can make it Canva.
Calendar Design #1: Traditional
This style is the traditional calendar format (hence the name). It uses lines and text boxes to create the calendar. You can set up your design to be either vertical or horizontal. Either works great.
Step 1: Add My Alignment Tool
Like I stated earlier, you need this to get that perfect spacing but it also helps you determine the size of your shapes. You want each element to fit perfectly within your printable.
To use the Alignment Tool (assuming you decided to get it) in Canva you will need to upload it. This is done either by dragging the PNG file into your design space or clicking the Upload an image or video in the Upload tab.
Once you have uploaded it, add it to your design and set it as the background image. To do this, right-click your mouse and then select Set Image as Background.
Step 2: Add The Line Elements
Before adding the line elements, figure out if you plan on creating a calendar where the dates match with the weekday of a specific year OR if you would prefer it to be updated. One perk to an undated calendar is that it allows your subscriber to use it for as long as they want.
Typically you need to create 5-6 rows. Depends on the year and month.
If you are not using specific dates, then you can adjust how your calendar will look. By that I mean you can do 5 columns and 6 rows.
Use the Alignment Tool to make your rows and columns. You can either have each space in the calendar be a square or a rectangle.
Step 3: Add Text Boxes
If you decide to use specific dates, then you need to add the days of the week first. Put them at the top of the calendar. There are three ways you can do it:
- Spell out the day completely (Monday)
- Use the shortened abbreviation (Mon)
- Use the first letter of the day’s name (M)
You can organize it however you like with the days starting on Sunday or grouping the weekends day to the end of the week. It is your design, so make it how you like it!
Once your weekdays are placed, now it’s time to add the dates. Use your phone, an actual calendar, or the one on your computer to know where to put the first day of the month.
Repeat until all the dates are filled in. And that’s it for Calendar Design #1. Don’t forget to delete the Alignment Tool in the background.
Once you have the basic design created, all that’s left is to add your creative touch. This includes title text for the month and year, any graphics, borders, and anything else that fits your fancy.
Little Tip: Use Ctrl + D to duplicate the numbers to save both time and your fingers. This is one of my favorite shortcuts to use in Canva!
Calendar Design #2: Boxes
For this design, we will be using two different shape elements that you can find in the Shapes category in the Elements tab. The two shapes I used were the Square and Square Border.
Step 1: Add My Alignment Tool
Once again you need this to get that perfect spacing but it also helps you determine the size of your shapes. You want each element to fit perfectly within your printable.
To use the Alignment Tool in Canva you will need to upload it. This is done either by dragging the PNG file into your design space or clicking the Upload an image or video in the Upload tab.
Once you have uploaded it, add it to your design and set it as the background image.
If you need to see pictures for reference, check out Step 1 in Calendar Design #1.
Step 2: Create A Single Calendar Space
First, you want to add a square border shape. Using the Alignment Tool, resize the square border shape to your desired height and width.
When you are happy with the size, add a square shape to be the title box above it. Once again, adjust the height and width to your preference.
Group (Ctrl + G) the two shapes together.
This is what it should look like:
Step 3: Duplicate The Calendar Space
Next, you want to select the grouped elements and then duplicate (Ctrl + D) it six times. I did mine with seven boxes in a row like a calendar but you can make it fit your vision. So if you prefer 5 boxes in a row, do five.
Once you have the first row set up to your liking, select each box and then ungroup (Ctrl + Shift + G) all of them at once. Now select them all again and group the entire row.
Group (Ctrl + G) each element in the row together. This will make sure there are no accidental adjustments.
Step 4: Add Dates
Insert a text box with the font of your choice and move it to fit within the square shape. Do this for the remaining boxes. You can either group the dates all together OR ungroup the box and then re-group them with the dates.
Step 5: Duplicate The Row
We are on to the final part. Duplicate the row you created 5 more times and then change the dates until you have created a whole month.
Delete the Alignment Tool from the background.
And you have done it!
Calendar Design #3: Journal
This is a unique concept for a calendar that allows you to reach your audience in a different way. It is just like a journal in that it promotes the user to write in it every day.
Out of the three calendars, I am showing you, this is the simplest one to create (at least in my opinion).
Okay…let’s get started! For this design, you only need to use text boxes and lines.
Step 1: Add Text Box
The text box is for the days of the month. When adding the numbers, don’t do them in a row. Instead, type the number and then hit enter to start a new line. Repeat until you have all the numbers of the month.
Take a look at this example. I split my numbers into two different text boxes.
Step 2: Adjust Text Line-Height
The reason you want to adjust the line height now is that it will make your life easier when it’s time to add the line elements. For this, you will want to use the Alignment Tool. Set it as the background.
When adjusting the line height, make sure each number sits in a designated box on the Alignment Tool. The line-height will vary depending on the font you use and the font size.
Step 3: Add the line elements.
To add a line, go to the Elements tab on the left sidebar. There should be a category called Lines. Choose the line style you want to use. I recommend the Simple Line. It should be the first option that you see.
If there is no lines category, then type lines into the search bar. A plethora of options will appear and then choose the one you want to use.
Using the Alignment Tool, you will match the lines to the numbers.
I recommend grouping the lines and dates together so there is no worry about elements from the calendar being moved accidentally.
Finally, delete the Alignment Tool from the background and add your personal touches. One detail that helps with this style of calendars is 1-3 lines of text that instruct the user for what they need to write in each day.
5 Tips To Creating Your Incredible Calendar Printables
Tip #1: Experiment
While all three calendars can be similar in the fact that they are for the entire month of August, each is very different from the other. In fact, I had a very different calendar planned out initially for Calendar Design #2 but ended up creating what you saw through playing around with the design.
And you don’t have to limit yourself to making a calendar where one page has all the days of the month. You can make each page represent the week of the month or do a whole month of daily pages.
Being creative is having fun and trying ideas that don’t follow the majority.
Tip #2: Less is More
This is an incredibly important tip when it comes to graphic design. Too many elements on a page and it could feel cluttered. So keep that in mind when you are trying different looks.
White space is your friend and you should embrace it whole-heartedly.
Tip #3: Use My Alignment Tool
Okay, so I know you heard me talk about this throughout the post and some of you might be thinking you have no need for it. Let me tell that ever since I have created my alignment tool, my neurotic tendencies of each element being perfectly spaced have almost disappeared.
It was my only complaint about Canva and I am so happy that I found a way around it.
If nothing else, I recommend my tool for two important reasons.
Reason #1: It Will Save You Time
Instead of spending more minutes than you want to admit to getting each element of your design to look aligned, you will actually be able to see it.
As a mom to two extremely active toddlers, I don’t have time to waste trying to get my design to look right. I used to spend way more time than I should have to try to get each section perfectly spaced.
Want to know an interesting fact? I made all three of those calendars within one hour and a half. That includes the time for me to experiment with a variety of looks.
Reason #2: It is FREE
I made this tool to help other bloggers avoid wasting so much time working on the little spacing details. I want you to be able to spend that time you save working on other parts of your blogging business or enjoying the other great parts of life. You know like family, pets, the outdoors, etc.
If nothing else, you can try this tool out and if it doesn’t work, then you don’t really lose anything on your part.
Tip #4: Have Fun With Color
Make your calendar stand out by adding a splash of color. There are so many different kinds of calendars out there and color is an easy way to set yours apart from the rest.
You can use your brand colors (which I always recommend) or play around with a color combination until you find one you like. It is best to stick with 3-5 colors. Too many colors and you risk your calendar not looking as good.
Canva Tip: There is a styles tab that you can access in Canva that will show you trending colors and font combinations. You can find it by clicking the More tab in the left toolbar and then clicking Styles in the section labeled More from Canva.
Tip #5: Use Keyboard Shortcuts
Learning keyboard shortcuts has made my graphic design life infinitely easier! I save so much time with these shortcuts and finish my product a lot faster than I used to.
It will take a few times of actively using the shortcuts constantly but once you have them down they are incredibly easy.
You can also get the shortcuts in my FREE Printables Kickstart Toolkit. This is the same toolkit that comes with my Canva Alignment Tool. In this toolkit I have created Shortcut Keys Cheat Sheets for my four favorite graphic design tools (Canva, PicMonkey, PowerPoint, and Google Slides).
Download all or one of the cheat sheets to your phone, tablet, desktop, or even print them out and hang them on the wall. You won’t need them forever but they are handy to have on hand as you are learning them! Click here to get access to my FREE Printables Kickstart Toolkit.
How Can Bloggers Use Calendars To Connect With Their Audience?
Now that you know how to create these three monthly calendars let’s move into how you can use them to help your audience. There are two main purposes to a calendar.
- To complete a goal.
- To organize thoughts or tasks.
Each of these purposes is meant to give your subscriber a visual timeline of when they need to complete an activity. It could be from something complicated like a month-long workout challenge to a simple purpose like writing down one positive moment in your day.
However you choose to use your calendar, make sure it has a purpose. Want a little more clarity about these purposes? Read on then!
Purpose #1: Calendar With A Goal
People love feeling accomplished (me included) and one of the best ways is by completing a goal. Knowing you got to the end gives a huge rush of triumph.
Goal type calendars can be used in a variety of ways. My top favorites are a challenge and tracker style.
A challenge type calendar is one that has a set period of time (specific number of days, weekly, monthly) that you are using to motivate your reader to reach a goal. The best examples would be a workout or writing challenge.
Another style to try is one with a tracking goal. This could be a food journal or writing one good thing that happened a day. The point of these calendars is to help the user hold themselves accountable.
I am currently working at losing a little weight and to keep myself accountable and have a constant visual reminder, I write down my weight is for each day.
I even did this for my two pregnancies. It was pretty cool to see how my weight changed as my little ones were growing inside of me.
Purpose #2: Calendar For Organization
Life is busy and having a tool to help figure out what is needed to be done is the perfect solution. That alone is a big reason why so many people LOVE planners. So take what people love about a planner and apply it to a calendar.
You want this style of calendar to help your subscriber focus on a task. These could be daily, weekly, monthly, or even the whole year. It all depends on how you want to use it.
Some examples would be a calendar that also is a meal planner or one that keeps track of budgeting for the month.
Final Thoughts…Calendars Are A Powerful Freebie For Your Blog.
They provide a timeline for your subscribers to complete a task or goal. Use your creativity to find a unique way that can help solve your reader’s problem.
Don’t feel limited to creating a calendar that looks like something from the store. Make it represent you and your brand.
Quick recap on from this blog post:
- three different monthly calendar designs: traditional, box, and journal
- My Canva Alignment Tool makes it so you design your calendar quickly and efficiently.
- Figure out the elements of your calendar before you starting designing it:
- Size of your calendar.
- Amount of days.
- Dated or undated?
- Know the purpose of your calendar. Are you trying to complete a goal or want to organize a task?
Before You Go!
Which calendar design did you like best?
Was this post helpful in figuring out how to create your calendar from scratch?
Has it sparked your next freebie idea?
Tell me about it in the comments or send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Happy Days –