So after a bit of a disastrous calendar last year, I decided to make my own. Why would I do that? Well my reasons are...
* Shiny paper is hard to write on with anything other than a felt tip.
* Many off the shelf calendars come with bespoke settings (often 1 photo up top, with calendar below) that you can't edit.
* Many calendars also don't come with useful important (UK) dates like Bank Holidays etc.
I'm lucky in that I have a decent quality printer that can print A3. A3 is about the right size for our wall space and has room for an A4 calendar on the bottom and an A4 space above for photos. This could be done just as easily on double sided A4 with the hinge in the middle.
This assumes you have Lightroom, a printer, and a bit of a creative head.
Step 1: Make the calendar
To use the print module efficiently, we need an image of the actual calendar month. I used Calendarpedia because it's a UK site and can auto-add things like Bank Holidays. Their calendars can be downloaded as Word docs, which I did, so that I could go and add birthdays and anniversaries in type, rather than hand write them on in my illegible scrawl. You need to download one Word doc (or pdf) per month. Once you've finished editing the calendar, save each month as a pdf file. This will keep it high quality and A4 (landscape) sized.
Step 2: Convert pdf to jpeg/tiff/png & import into LR
Lightroom can't work with pdfs unfortunately so you need to convert the months to an image format. I used Photoshop (open the pdf then save it as a high quality jpeg) but there are various free online sources for doing this. Once it's converted, import the calendar month images into Lightroom.
Step 4: Create a Collection
I created a collection set of "2017 Calendar" with a single collection inside it for each month. Into each month, I then added the appropriate calendar page.
Step 5: Find Images
I then went through my library, adding images for each month that were appropriate. Your creative vision has no limit here. Better to add loads and remove later. I used people's birthdays as a guide, anniversaries, pet birthdays, holidays etc. The great thing about the LR print module is that you can add as many photos as you want, in whatever shape you want.
Step 6: Create Print
For each month, I then set up an A3 custom package and built the calendar page. Remember to make sure that you leave space at the top of the package for the holes you'll use to tie it all together. To add images, simply drag them on to your A3 sheet and place them where you want. Images can be resized with drag handles (remember to hold Shift to constrain the proportions) You can send back & forward with the right click menu on any image.
Step 7: Tie It All Together
I used a wire binding kit to bind mine, but you could easily punch a hole through the tops of all the months and tie off with ribbon or something more creative. I bought a wire kit from Joyce (direct - avoid inflated eBay prices!) and unfortunately then had to order separate wires from Amazon as the supplied ones weren't man enough for the job. The kit comes with 6mm wires as standard, but this will only hold 2400 gsm worth of paper. I was using 285gsm paper, and 12 of those tops out at 3420gsm so I had to order 10mm wires just to be safe. The Joyce kit is pretty nice for binding one sheet at a time (it's not tough enough to do multiple sheets of heavy grade photo paper) and comes with a thumb punch. I went for the heavier kit (this one) as I wanted the leverage of the bar type handle and a sturdier overall machine.