Creating A No Sticker Planner Spread (Budget Friendly Planning)

As you know if you have been following me through my planner spreads on Instagram, I enjoy changing up the design of my spreads. I began switching up my spreads in  the search for the perfect productive planner spread to find planner peace. However while on this search of planner peace, I have fallen in love with the creative aspect of changing things up. I always have some of the same elements in my spread, you won’t find a planner spread from this girl without a to-do list somehow incorporated in it, but I love trying to create something visual different. Lately I have been having fun creating planner spreads with just washi tape.

I love planner kits. I buy many of them. There is something really therapeutic to me about sitting down with a weekly planner kit and putting down stickers. If you are a #plannergirl you probably have heard of Jenna from Planningroses (@planningroses on IG), she said in one of her Youtube vlogs how she will sometimes sit down and put a kit into her planner even if she isn’t necessarily planning because it is so relaxing to her. I feel the same way. However since I don’t own a sticker shop and have extra kits laying around, I only use a kit if I am planning a week. My weekly planning session on Sundays calms and de-stresses me.  However find planner kits can get expensive especially if using one every week, so lucky for me I can find just as much happiness and relaxation in creating spreads without planner stickers. I also love to use the left overs from previous kits I have used to create spreads. By loving both types of planning it helps me to balance the cost of planning.

If you are on a budget but still want your planner to look pretty, there are tons of ways to use washi tape and a pen and make a great looking spread. I truly believe that you can make a beautiful planner spread with just a bit of creativity and some washi tape. Keep reading below if you want to see the process I went through to create my washi tape spread from last week and my tips on how to use basic office supplies to make a cute spread.

Processed with Snapseed.

I find the easiest way to start is to pick a colour theme. Maybe it is fall and you want to use greens, oranges, and purples. Or maybe you have a new washi tape that you are really wanting to use. You can choose one or two tapes or as many as you want. For my spread for last week I ended up picking four. I knew I wanted to use the marble purple washi so I picked out a plain purple to go with it. Then I love to add metallic washi because not only do I think metallic and glitters go with everything, but there was gold specs in my purple marble washi. It was my plan to use only those three but then I added in a striped pattern purple tape and really liked how it looked all together. If you have a hard time picking out colours that go together, google search ‘colour schemes’ or ‘colours that match…’ and find something you like that you may have similar washi tape colours to. If you want to be safe, pick shades of the same colour, but use different patterns like I did with the purple. Then throw in a glitter 🙂

I use the Happy Planner and when I am using just washi I like to block out the page and cover the black lines that the HP already has to block out the sections. I usually start by covering these up. I first put down the marble washi on the bottom and the gold on top, but then I decided to layer the bottom with gold as well. I think it really pulls the page together. I also think anytime you layer two washi tapes it just creates visual depth and looks pretty. This is why when I make flags I will sometimes layer them. I also like the look of using different width washi tapes. Using the thicker to divide the first and second box, then using the thin to divide the second and third box. I wanted to use the thicker up top since I already had it on the bottom.

Even before I divided my sections I knew that my top section was going to have a to-do list in in. I should look back in my planner and see if I have done a week where my to-do list wasn’t at the top. There are many ways to create to-do lists without having stickers. This week I chose to use a piece of cardboard I had sitting on my desk to make a template to trace a to-do list. I cut the cardboard so it had a straight edge, then I used a hole punch to punch out four holes going up the side of it. I wasn’t super precise about it. I just judged it by eye but you could measure it out to be exact. I then place the edge of the cardboard up against the edge of the Happy Planner box and traced the circles that were cut out by the hole punch. Super easy! I did this in all the top boxes for the week, then traced three in for the weekend. I then coloured them in with a purple colour pencil. I wrote to-do across the top of each box. If you are a person who likes stamps and has stamp sets for to-do lists I am sure it would be easy to stamp as well. I have looked up stamped planner spreads and they are so pretty and definitely something I want to try someday.

Next I decided to make my middle boxes a bit smaller and so I ended up measuring in (again by eye) 1/4″ on both top and bottom and made lines that went across most of the box. I did this in pen and then went over it in the same purple colour pencil that I coloured in my dots for my to-do lists. I thought creating these lines just brought some more colour to the spread. I used these middle of these boxes to write a main event or important part of my day. Each day I did a bit differently. Mondays box I tried to do a bit of a doodle to cover space after my words. I used some different washi flags I made to indicate some events (see below section on washi flags for more info on these). The Wednesday box I used the marble washi  to fill in the box. It was my day off and I knew I was spending the day with my cousin and her new baby so I didn’t need a lot of writing space for that day. On Thursday I used again the marble washi tape but I cut a centre rectangle out of the washi to leave a space to write. I really like how that came out.

One thing I think really helps to make your planner look decorated when using just washi is calligraphy. I really wish I could do nice calligraphy and that is something I am wanting to improve on. Even writing words in unique ways, or using double strokes when writing, still helps, but again this is something I want learn how to do.

One space I never productively use in my planner is my side bar. When using kits I have tried using various trackers in the sidebar but I never fill them out. However when I am planning with just washi I use the space for a weekly list of things that come to my brain that need to be done and this is usually much more productive for me then the planner stickers. I also like to keep my work schedule in the sidebar. So for my sidebar I usually put a washi flag going across the top. This time I did a three part flag which was thick and I absolutely loved it. Again I wish I could write ‘This Week’ pretty but oh well, it is there. I like the look of having a bottom  on the sidebar. So I ended up using the marble and gold washi tape in the reverse order that I used on the bottom of the pages, but in the same order as the flag on the top of the sidebar.

I worked the weekend of this spread so I didn’t have much to put in. I ended up just writing largely across the weekend because it was Thanksgiving Weekend. However a lot of times when I have a large space that isn’t filled in my planner I will put a quote in the space. I really want to get the Polaroid Zip printer so I can print off photos from my phone to fill in spaces like this with. On the weekend I did a cut out flag made from the stripe washi and although I like the look of it, I think it would look great with a thicker washi.

This spread is full of fun washi tape flags. I love trying to come up with different flags and markers when I am creating a washi only spread. I think they definitely add to overall look of the spread. I know a lot of people already know how to make these but for those who are new to creating or are just interested I thought I would explain how I made them.

Processed with Snapseed.

  1. The washi flag on the top of my side bar I made by first cutting a piece of the wide purple washi. I then layer the gold washi on top of it which left the edge of the marble sticking out. Then I layered the plain purple washi on top of the bottom edge of the gold. I cut a triangle out of one end of it and that turned it into a flag. I never measure my cuts out and sometimes one ‘wing’ is bigger then the other but it’s close enough not to bother me.
  2. The other flag in my sidebar is one I don’t like very much. I just cut a simple flag out of the striped washi and then coloured in a rectangular space in beside it and wrote the word Work over it. It was my first time doing this and I may try it again but in this instance I don’t like the look of it.
  3. I had a bank appointment this week with with my husband so I ended up doing a double flag for this. I cut flags out of both the gold washi and the marble washi and then I just layer the gold one on top so that the edge of the gold washi went down the centre of the purple one. I really liked how it turned out. I will definitely do one of these again when indicating an appointment.
  4. I made thinner flags for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday  in the three different patterned washi tapes by cutting the washi tape so it was thinner first and then cut the flag shape. I like the looks of these for vertical flags.
  5.  My favorite flag in the whole spread is the flag I made for pay day. If you purchase planner sticker sheets a lot of them come with pay day stickers. Even though I know when my pay days are, I still like to put them in my planner. So I cut a regular page flag out of the gold washi and then cut a rectangle out of the middle of the washi with a craft knife, and wrote pay day inside it. I did a similar flag for the weekend but cut flag shapes on both sides instead of just one.

I really like making page flags when I am not using any planner stickers, it definitely adds to the washi spread. Another way I tried to add to this spread was by cutting washi into thinner stripes and using it to decorate/fill in spaces. I did this on Monday and Tuesday with the striped washi. I also ended up filling with gold on the bottom of Wednesday, but doing the regular width of the gold washi on the top of the box and then cut a thinner stripe for the bottom of the box. I find adding these small touches really adds to the look of the week. Plus as I said before I find it really relaxing to be creating in my planner.

One last thing I did in this spread to bring in the purple colour, was colour in the numbers of the day and the half circle outline around them. I am having a love/hate relationship with the colours of the Happy Planner. I love the colours in general, none of them are horrible colours, but I find by having the whole weekend colour blocked and the colours around the day of the week, it is really limiting on the colours you can put with it. I don’t think the blue looks horrible with the purple, but with the new HP coming out later this month, I am hopeful for something a bit more neutral.

I love switching between planner kit spreads and washi spreads and this purple and gold washi spread is definitely one of my favourites.









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