Do you want to hear something that will blow your mind? An estimated 17.2 million tons of paper are currently in landfills according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Paper may decompose faster than plastic and other human produced materials, but that doesn’t mean it should just be thrown in the garbage.
Reusing your old calendars is a step in the right direction. By upcycling your calendars into something new, you’re cutting down on waste and getting something new at the same time. It’s really a win-win!
What to Do With Old Calendars
Now that your calendar is outdated, you can’t really use it anymore. However, that doesn’t mean you should just throw it in the trash! Be creative and keep the pages for art projects. Who knows? You may just end up with awesome décor, or cool gifts for your friends and family!
Are you ready to get crafty? Here are 14 upcycling projects you can try using last year’s calendar.
1. Frame the Calendar Pages to Make Art
Whether you bought a pre-printed calendar or made your own on a site like Shutterfly, you shouldn’t let those 12 images go to waste! Cut the photos out and put them inside nice picture frames. You can then hang the prints or photos on a wall to spice up your office, kitchen, or bedroom.
2. Create Gift Boxes & Tags
Do you have a big family and many friends? If so, you probably have a lot of gifts to buy for special occasions like birthdays, weddings, baptisms, etc. Mark these dates in your calendar, and then when the year’s done, cut up the pages to make DIY gift boxes and tags. You can then use them next year to wrap gifts when all those special occasions come around again!
3. Upcycle Into Birthday & Holiday Cards
Make everyone smile this Christmas or for their birthday by creating your own greeting cards. Cut the pages from a last year’s calendar to make a collage. You can also create a cute pop-up card like in the example above. Glue everything onto a piece of paperboard and write a special message inside. Who wants to pay $2 for a greeting card, anyway?
4. Keep the Calendar Pages for School Projects
Let’s say you have a national landmarks calendar that features photos of the Grand Canyon and Yosemite National Park. Your kid can reuse the photos for a school project on geography. This not only saves you ink from the printer, but also guarantees that A+!
5. Make a Refrigerator Magnet
Hobby Lobby or Michaels sells everything you need for this project! To start, brush Mod Podge onto a marble circle, button, or foam cutout. Next, cut an image from your used calendars to fit the shape. Finally, glue a magnet to the back, and just like that, you’ve got something new for your fridge at home!
6. Decoupage Furniture With Calendar Pages
Who says you have to go to IKEA for new furniture? Buy vintage pieces and repurpose them on your own reusing the pages from an old calendar. You can decoupage dressers, chairs, and desks, or smaller items like coffee mugs, storage containers, glass jars, and vases. All you need is last year’s calendar and a bottle of Mod Podge!
7. Turn it Into a Party Banner
Save money on your party planning by making your own banners. Old calendars are the perfect scrap paper since the pages have intricate designs that you can use to bring the décor to life. You can also cut big, bold letters from the calendar to spell out a message like “Happy Anniversary” or “Welcome Home!”
8. Fold the Pages Into a Paper Wreath
‘Tis the season for festive décor! Spruce up your home with DIY wreaths made from old calendar pages. Crinkle the pages up and glue them around a wire ring from your local dollar store. Tie a ribbon at the top or bottom to complete the look!
9. DIY Bookmarks From Old Calendars
Laminate a calendar page, punch a hole at the top, and weave colorful or glittery thread through the hole. DIY bookmarks are great gifts for teachers to give to their students, or for librarians to hand out as part of summer reading programs. You can even make one for every member of your book club!
10. Repurpose Into Drink Coasters
Are you hosting a cookout or holiday party? Skip the fancy coasters and instead craft your own with reused calendars. It’s super easy! Just cut circles from a piece of cardboard and equally sized circles from the calendar pages (you can create even circles by tracing the bottom of a cup with a Sharpie). Mod Podge the paper onto the cardboard, and you’re done!
11. Plan Your Meals
Meal prep helps you eat healthier and saves you time when you’re busy during the week. Get into this habit using an old calendar as a food planner. The dates don’t need to line up; you can just write down meal ideas for every day of the week.
12. Hang Christmas Ornaments
Did you use a spiral calendar last year? Grab pliers and remove the wire from the top. You can cut it into pieces and repurpose it into ornament hooks for the holidays.
13. Protect Fragile Items While Moving
Moving into a new home can be a pain in the butt, and the last thing you want is for anything to break. Protect all of your fragile items by wrapping them up in used calendar pages. You can stuff the paper inside of glass drinkware, wrap it around ceramic bowls, and put it in between any other easily breakable item.
14. Use Old Calendars as Kindling
On a chilly evening, there’s nothing like s’mores in front of a bonfire. Keep the fire going by using ripping out pages from a calendar. At the end, you can even throw the entire calendar into the flames. Burn baby burn!
Basically, if a craft involves paper, you can do it instead with your used calendars. You can also do many of these projects with your old planners. Just grab some glue and Mod Podge from the nearest craft store, and above all, have a blast!
Should I Keep Old Calendars?
If you have the storage space, it’s not a bad idea to hold onto your old calendars and planners. You can look back at them as a reminder of how much you’ve grown from a previous year. It’s also fun to reuse the pages for craft projects!
Are Calendars Recyclable?
Calendars are mostly recyclable, but it depends on the type of paper used. Special coatings or gloss may prevent you from being able to recycle your calendar, so always contact your local recycler first for more information.
It’s always more eco-friendly to repurpose your calendars instead. If none of the projects listed above catch your eye, see if you can donate the paper to a daycare, school, church, or nonprofit in your community.
A quick trip to the craft store is all it takes to turn your used calendars into something new. You can create a ton of amazing items – home décor, gifts for your family and friends, party and holiday decorations…the sky’s the limit!
Upcycling is better for the planet, and as a bonus, it’s also insanely fun! Get the kids involved, rip out the pages from last year’s calendar, and enjoy the process.
DuVal, L. 18 Ways to Reuse and Recycle Old Calendars. Retrieved from, https://livingonthecheap.com/recuse-recycle-old-calendar/
Striepe, B. 10 Ways to Upcycle an Old Calendar. Retrieved from, https://craftingagreenworld.com/articles/10-ways-to-upcycle-an-old-calendar/
United States Environmental Protection Agency. Paper and Paperboard: Material-Specific Data. Retrieved from, https://www.epa.gov/facts-and-figures-about-materials-waste-and-recycling/paper-and-paperboard-material-specific-data