Looking for CUTE, DIY planner tabs or dividers for your planner? You’ll be able to get that frankenplanner into check with our tutorial on how to make DIY planner tabs. I started making some cute and colorful DIY planner tabs for my planner and I want to show you how to make them too.
They are super easy to make at home with our step by step tutorial and FREE printable planner tab dividers to experiment with! We include free PDF files for simple download, print and cut. We also have included PNG files that can be uploaded to Cricuit Design Space to create an SVG print and cut file.
Our DIY process is similar to our earlier tutorial on How to Make Your Own DIY Planner Covers. If you’re interested in making your own planner covers you won’t want to miss this article that include FREE printable planner covers to experiment with!
As an added bonus we’re also including free printable Instax camera planner stickers (because I know how much you guys LOVE your stickers). The stickers come in two different sizes so they’ll hopefully fit just about any sized planner or layout. They’re going to be located in our free printables library in the planner stickers section. Here’s how the stickers turned out:
I’ve included PNG cut files (the the stickers) that will upload to your Cricut for cutting just like an SVG. No need to convert the file for Cricut Design Space. It’s ready to be turned into a print and cut!
|Meet Our FREE Printable DIY Planner Tabs|
So let’s take a look at the cute DIY planner tabs divider I made for you to experiment with. It’s a kawaii or cartoon like version of a Fuji Instax Instant Film Camera. If you are using your planner like a memory keeper or photo journal you might be a fan of the Instax. It allows you to take quick snapshots and instantly add them to your memory keeper. I love mine…which is partially why I made a DIY planner tab that looks like the Instax!
I really love the colors, design and how this whole project turned out. I’ve done all the hard work to make sure you can produce quality DIY planner tabs that will LAST over repeated use. As always I love to hear what you think. Leave me a note below in the comments section at the bottom of this page. It really helps me tailor content when I know what you guys like!
Our planner tabs are designed to *peek* out much like a tab top so that you can see and easily jump to your place in your planner. It’s functional AND cute! Here is a little preview of how it will look with your planner closed.
Here is how our DIY planner tabs look like inside the planner! It compliments our Valentines Day Sticker Kit nicely! I just love this cute little pink camera!
Okay, now I’m going to show you a few of my methods for making DIY planner tabs for your planner that will withstand the test of time. Let’s start with the supply list. I’ve hyperlinked to everything I’m using to make for easy shopping.
Note: All these items can be found on Amazon and have free shipping with Amazon Prime. If you’re not a Prime member you can sign up for a FREE 30 day trial HERE and take advantage of FREE shipping for 30 days!
|How To Make DIY Planner Tabs 3 Ways|
First…you can add your own tabs to any cute paper you find (think scrapbook paper section of your local craft store) using a Memory Keepers Tab punch. This tab punch ONLY MAKES THE TAB PART….NOT THE TAB+DIVIDER.
Once the tab is punched out you will fold it in half and then unfold it again. Use a glue stick to add some glue to the back side of the tab. Then affix the tab to whatever you want to use for the actual divider page. This is a great tool if you want to use contrasting patterns or colors for your tabs and divider paper. Check out the example below:
If you want one, single piece divider there is another great tool out there by the same company called the Memory Keepers Divider Board Punch. This tool will cut a tab INTO any sheet of paper or card stock. So if you found a cute piece of scrapbook paper that you wanted to turn into a divider…this tool would cut the outline of a tab INTO the scrapbook paper.
It’s not “add a tab to anything” like the tab punch we mentioned earlier. What you end up with is a single piece of cardstock or scrapbook paper that has a planner tab divider. The divider board punch also allows you to make tabs in three different sizes. Here’s a sample of what you can make:
As you can see from the sample above, you can make one whole divider in a single pass with this tool. It’s pretty cool! After your divider is completely cut out you can use a planner punch to make holes for your rings to go into. You may want to round off the corners using a corner rounder so things look extra professional (and you don’t get poked by a sharp corner)!
If you think you’re the type of person who might want to take on a light graphic design project we have a third option for you.
We’re providing you with a free printable DIY planner tab to play with (at the end of our tutorial) but you may want to try and make your own divider designs when you see how easy it is to put together. There are a ton of beautiful graphics, clipart, fonts & stock photos on my favorite graphic design site Creative Market.
I can LITERALLY spend hours and hours perusing all the beautiful graphics from thousands of uber talented graphic designers. If you have a moment check out some beautiful examples HERE. The possibilities are endless for custom planner tabs, planner covers or anything you want with ready made graphic design from that site.
You can take any of the beautiful graphics you might find on Creative Market and upload them to a user friendly, web based graphic design program like picmonkey.com and arrange them to your tastes with a simple tab for hole punching (just like our freebie). Picmonkey will also allow you to do text overlays and tons of special effects.
If you are using the Cricut to cut out your planner tab dividers, Picmonkey will allow you save your files as a transparent PNG file. PNGs will go straight into your Cricut Design Space software without having to convert it to an SVG file.
Just make sure that you set the background layer to “transparent” and you add something you can punch holes into. You’ll want to make sure you can punch a least 4 holes into any design you make (any less that the divider moves/flops around too much).
Here are some tab dividers I’ve made recently using this exact method (in addition to the Instax camera tab divider we’re giving to you today)…for inspiration! The conversation heart coffee cup planner divider is a part of our Valentines Day Mega Sticker Kit. The unicorn tab dividers can be found HERE if you want to download them.
Regardless of which option you choose from we think you’ll want to print and laminate you DIY planner tabs or they just won’t last very long. In many cases you’ll be pulling them out of your Happy Planner once a week! That puts a lot of stress on the holes. We’re going to show you how to preserve your planner tabs for the long haul in this step by step tutorial.
|Step 1: Print Your DIY Planner Tabs on Glossy Cardstock|
In order to have a thick and substantial planner insert you WILL need to print on card stock. You’ll want to print on glossy white card stock that is at least 80 lbs weight like THIS inexpensive option.
If you are a frequent reader on my website you will probably hear me preaching the benefits of using glossy paper for all of my printables. This is for good reason! Glossy paper prints true to color so vibrant, bold colors print out closer to how they look on your computer. Matte papers absorb a TON more ink and the colors can look faded or washed out.
In the picture below I’ve printed on glossy card stock and the colors are bright and bold.
You’ll need to adjust the paper settings on your printer before printing on glossy card stock. After pressing the print button go to the settings area. Look at the paper options and choose something along the lines of “card stock” or “other photo paper”.
Be sure to pick a thicker paper setting so that your printer accounts for this thick glossy paper. Your printer will also be sent a message that it’s printing something high quality and needs to slow down it’s roll.
If your printer is like mine there is a separate rear tray for special papers. Make sure you put the paper in the correct tray and that that the paper is properly aligned. When using glossy cardstock allow 5 minutes for your print out to properly dry.
CRICUT USERS: You will need to grab the free transparent PNG cut file out of our printables library and upload it to your Cricut Design Space library. You DO NOT need to convert this PNG file to an SVG file. Design Space accepts transparent PNGs like ours (I’ve tested it). After the file is uploaded to your Design Space library you will insert the file to a new project as a “print and cut” and re-size as needed. Click the “make it” button and select “80 lb card stock” from the materials drop down menu. You can skip to step 3 for the rest of the tutorial.
|Step 2: Trim Away Excess Card Stock|
If you are planning on trimming our planner page dividers by hand we have a few pro-tips for you. Obviously you can use plain old scissors to cut away the excess card stock. BUT if you’re OCD like me and want nice, straight lines I highly recommend that you use a straight line paper cutter for simple, straight cuts. For non-linear cuts I use a Fiskars Fingertip Craft Knife. Both of these tools are pretty inexpensive and they really make the difference when you need to cut nice lines.
I’m a little too OCD to cut anything out by hand these days. Whenever possible I use my Cricut to cut out any planner dividers I make. We’ve provided PNG files that can be uploaded to Cricut Design space and will convert to an SVG within the Cricut software.
Just look at those perfect straight lines! Love it!
|Step 3: Laminate Your Planner Tabs|
Next you’ll want to place your DIY planner tabs inside a 8.5 x 11 5 mil laminating pouch. Most desktop, at home laminators will melt 3 or 5 mil laminating pouches. I prefer the thicker 5 mil pouches because it makes all my planner inserts, covers or dividers last a lot longer under heavy wear. You may be able to fit more than one planner tab in each pouch to conserve pouches (if your planner tabs are reasonably sized). Make sure you have about a 1/2″ between objects in the pouch.
After you’ve placed the divider in it’s own laminating pouch you’ll run it through your laminator per the manufactures directions. This will only take a minute once your machine has warmed up.
I really LOVE my super basic laminating machine. It’s nothing fancy and it’s not very expensive (at the time of this writing it’s under $24!). I use it a lot…especially when it comes to my Happy Planner. I laminate almost everything I want to last more than the one year life span of my planner. This includes all the DIY Happy Planner dividers as well as photos, dashboards, half sheets, markers and tabs.
I also like to take the guts from my old planners and re-use them on other planners. Laminating these items allows them to last for years. I also laminated a Happy Planner brand to-do list and I use dry erase markers to make a new to-do list every day. This way I’m not wasting a lot of paper/money.
When you have a laminator you can make a TON of your own Happy Planner accessories using scrapbook paper from craft stores, stickers, photos and ephemera you have around the house. I have a friend who laminated a ton of paper keepsakes from a trip to Disney (like tickets, special passes and paper items she picked up from around the resort). It turned out awesome!
|Step 4: Trim Excess Lamination & Round Each Corner|
After you’ve laminated your planner divider you’ll want to cut off excess lamination. Leave about 1/3″ of excess lamination to remain around your planner divider. You don’t want to break the visible laminating seal that exists about a 1/4 of an inch all the way around your printable planner cover.
I highly recommend that you round the corners of your planner tab divder unless you like being stabbed randomly every time you go to flip your planner divider over.
I use this inexpensive corner rounder that I found on Amazon. It works great, cuts flawlessly through lamination and the price is a pittance. I’ve found tons of uses for my corner rounder when it comes to my Happy Planner….I use it for DIY tabs, dividers, photos and any place I don’t want a sharp corner poking me or getting worn down.
|Step 5: Punch Your DIY Planner Tabs|
Using a planner hole punch you’ll punch out 4 holes on the provided white tab attached to the planner divider. 4 is the minimum number of holes I’d recommend…any less than that and you’ll probably see the divider shift/flop around too much to be all that useful.
|Step 6: Place Your DIY Planner Tab Divider in Your Planner|
See! It’s actually quite easy to make your own planner dividers! Even if you don’t use our DIY free printable planner dividers you can make a HUGE selection of dividers for every season and every reason with an inexpensive laminator.
If you’ve made it all the way down here and haven’t found anything you like you might want to check out all of the FREE printable DIY planner tabs we’ve made for our readers over the years.
I hope you love these super cute, free printable DIY planner tabs as much as I do! Please leave me a comment below and let me know what you think so I can tailor future content! Tell me what colors, images or quotes you’d like to see on a future planner tab template. There’s a good chance I’ll find a way to fit it in!
Don’t forget to check out our tutorial on How to Make Your Own DIY Planner Covers. If you’re interested in making your own planner covers you won’t want to miss this article that include FREE printable planner covers to experiment with!
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