How to make your own photo calendar for 2016

A landscape calendar for 2016One of the main stays of the Christmas season for your local printer is the personalised calendar. Giving a personalised calendar to family members is a great way to stay connected throughout the year. But it’s not just as a family gift that the personalised calendar can be used – they are also great for schools and charities to promote themselves throughout the year. By selling them to your customers they can even be used to generate income – who will ever forget the famous Women’s Institute Calendar Girls charity calendar that became the subject of a popular feature film. So how can you go about creating your own personalised calendar for 2016?

Choosing Your 2016 Calendar Photos

First off we need to choose a theme. Maybe the most obvious choice for a family gift is family photos from the previous year. It can be nice to feature a seasonal photo from each of the previous year’s months and add them in as a main picture for each of the pages. Other theme choices for family gifts could be historic photos from your family archives (this might involve scanning those treasured black and white prints) or maybe you might like to set up a fun photo shoot depicting a monthly scene? The limit here is your imagination, but our advice is for simplicity and maximum impact to choose one photo for each month.

Of course those of you who are producing calendars for your society, charity school or organisation might want to choose a more broad ranging theme. A popular choice in pop up calendar shops is of course celebrity pictures. With any photos or images you find online you will have to be careful to observe copyright issues. Making sure you have the correct permissions for images you find online can be a tricky subject, so the rule of thumb here is if you are unsure about your legal standpoint for a particular image then don’t use it. Properly licensed images can be obtained from Stock photo websites such as or  However you are unlikely to find licensed images of celebrities there, so stick to good quality seasonal photos, or your own photos that fit with your chosen theme. If you are a local company the best way to make an impact may well be to use photos of your own services – even the most boring companies make good use of their own images, some making a name for themselves for having the most tedious calendar of the year.

Portrait Calendar for 2016 Wire BoundAdding your month blocks and creating your Calendar

Once you’ve selected your 12 best photographs – one for each month it’s time to set up the calendar. What you are going to need here is some desktop publishing software such as Microsoft Publisher or Adobe Indesign. Publisher users will be able to use the built in templates to create the necessary pages – check out this Wikihow link for more information on this: Make A Monthly Calendar With Microsoft Publisher. Adobe InDesign users may get some milage from this script: InDesign Calendar Wizard. Another popular way to make a calendar is with dedicated photo software such as Apple’s Photos, or Adobe’s Photoshop Elements. Each of these setups will create a basic calendar for you, ready to drop your photos into. From there you can of course personalise the calendars further with your own important dates, bank holidays and birthdays. Once you have completed this all you have to do is set yourself a front cover and you are good to go.

Printing and binding your calendar

If you are making just one or two calendars you might choose to print your calendar yourself using your own desktop printer. Remember to leave yourself a larger margin at the top of your design to accommodate your binding wires. The simplest way to print your own calendar will probably be at A4 with each month on it’s own page. If you are producing a larger amount of calendars, or don’t want to handle the printing yourself then have a chat with your local printer about how they can help out with the printing. Most printers these days will of course prefer a finished PDF file. You can make these relatively simply with most modern applications but do get in touch with your printer for assistance here. Once each page is successfully printed, then it is time to bind your calendar.

Unless you have your own home binding machine it’s now time to visit your local printer. Any good printer will have a wire binding machine in store, which will join all your pages together with the familiar wired loop method. Make sure you remind your printer to add a hook or drill a hole in your paper so that you can hang your calendar up. Because of this more advanced binding method your printer may have an extra charge above their usual document binding charges. If you are producing large amounts of calendars it might be worth investigating other binding methods – a magazine format saddle stitch might be more suitable for example. You can check out our binding methods page for more information on your options here.

Download Our Free 2016 Calendar Template

If you are looking to save yourself some time and are handy with graphic design software, then you might appreciate this free 2016 A4 Portrait Calendar Template It includes UK bank holidays for 2016. Just download and personalise away to your heart’s content. If you make good use of it we’d certainly appreciate a share on your social media.


Joseph Hewes

Contributor to and Web designer, printer and marketer based in Colchester UK.

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