Philadelphia, PA, USA

How To Make Your Own Passion Planner Stickers

I honestly once thought I needed to be super creative to design planner stickers, or that it was some advanced technique. It really isn’t, some information is out there, but not that much. You don’t need to pay for anything, you don’t even need a machine to cut them out for you. You just need to start, and this is how.

Contents:

What you need:

  • An idea of what you want
  • Measurements (of your planner or the sticker you want to make)
  • Cutting Source (we’ll talk about how you can cut out your stickers to use, the machines on the market, and what I used, what I liked and disliked about it, what I’m looking into next)
  • Program (we’ll talk about the different types of programs you can use as well as the pros and cons of each)
  • Paper

It all starts with an idea

If you’ve been keeping a planner for a while now, or if you’re new to planning but haven’t found your “planner peace” yet you may have considered buying stickers to make up for it. What I found though is, not only are planner stickers expensive, you really don’t get that much for what you pay for. On one hand, after my experience with sticker making I agree with their pricing because making stickers on your own is a lot of work and dedication, but on the other hand, when you don’t have that much money to spend it can be a huge eyesore. 

Over time, as a college student or a recent graduate, I always used stickers I had, scrapbook paper, my HP Sprocket, as well as washi tape to cover up things I didn’t necessarily agree with in my planner. Things that didn’t fit my needs, and that’s when my ideas started to form of what I needed in my planner. That’s not what was my driving force to create my own planner stickers, but it really all came down to the idea I had.

What made me put the pedal to the metal was I received an Academic Passion Planner from someone that was not only a Sunday-start (I’m a Monday-start type of a girl) but also when I started to use it, it was dated for the previous year. I ran the math, the numbers in my head, all I really needed to do was create new tabs for the weekly side and the monthly side Monday through Sunday. Also, within the Passion Planner monthly side you’ll see the tabs, “This Month’s Focus,” “People to See,” “Places to Go,” and “Things to Learn” or it could be the “Not-To-Do List.” None of these did anything for me, ever. I never used them, it was wasting space, and over a few years, I was able to figure out what I actually wanted in those spaces. 

passion planner monthly tabs my sticker idea design example

Example image of how I changed my monthly page. The changes are listed in the paragraph below. The sticky notes are also a sticker design of mine, as well as the travel stamp stickers.

That’s when I came up with, “Card of the Month” because I read tarot and oracle cards, so I always like to know the general theme of the month ahead of time. Also, “♫Tuned In♪,” which is where I write down songs I’m constantly playing or listening to for that month. I changed “This Month’s Focus” to a plain box, and I drew in a Japanese emoji called a “kaomoji.” The word “kao” means face or expression, and therefore, I draw these cute faces to go along with the month’s theme. It’s something cute to look at. Lastly, I changed the “Not-To-Do List” or the “Things to Learn” tabs to “Places I Wanna Go.” “Places I Wanna Go” was great for me to have prior to the pandemic, during the pandemic it’s kind of hard to do any of the things I originally wanted to. I’ve been getting more creative with it, but it’s still in the design thinking process.

You may be wondering to yours, “Isn’t that the same thing as ‘Places to Go?;” You’re right it sounds the same, it seems like it’s the same thing, but to me, it wasn’t. “Places to Go” sounds more to me like errands, things I have to do, places to be, I have shit going on and this is a demand. It takes the joy and fun out of things, while “Places I Wanna Go” is more open-minded and open-ended. So I made a list of places I would like to go, but it’s not that I have to do this. It really depends on the situation, can I go, is it available, will it fit in my schedule, is the weather good, etc. I may do a few of them, one of them, or none of them for the month, but I don’t feel guilty if I don’t and that’s what it all comes down to. I don’t want to feel guilt or shame for anything I didn’t complete. 

Planning should be flexible.

I’ve said this countless times, planning is not to set things in stone, it's to have an idea of what I still have to do. Plans will change, life happens. It's inevitable, so when I plan, I plan in a way to not feel guilty or ashamed if things change. Realistically, they change quite often, but nonetheless, I still like to plan because it gives me an idea without feeling stressed or overwhelmed about it. When I start to feel overwhelmed, I do one of four things:

  • Either put away my planner
  • Change my own plans to lessen the load, 
    • cross off anything that doesn’t really have that much importance
  • Flip to my self-care reflection in the back of my planner to re-read what I wrote about feeling overwhelmed
  • Work on something creating in the front or back of my planner

Back to the rest of my sticker planner ideas. So only things I left alone and didn’t make stickers for, in the monthly section, are the “Personal Projects” tab, “Work Projects” tab, and the “This Month’s Game Changer” tab. Sometimes I hide these via the washi tape I use for the month, but lately, I’ve left them alone because personal projects to me are anything related to me studying how to play the ocarina, my planner, personal errands or crafts, etc. For work projects, I note anything I have to do for my website or future career goals that I have. So for example, a future career goal would be like researching a new study that came out about my field. I read through it, make notes, and save it because even though I'm not a graduate student yet, I know I will be and I want to remember what else is out there. I’m very passionate about my goals for myself and my career, that I start way in advance.

Passion Planner weekly section where i changed the tabs to to-do list and what's on tv

In the image above please draw your attention to the tabs “To-Do List” and “What’s On TV?” Other stickers of my creation are the days of the week and the tracker.

For the weekly side, I cover up Monday through Sunday with stickers, and I also changed personal and work to-do list for stickers that say, “To-Do List” and “What’s On TV?” I absolutely love keeping track of what new episodes are coming out each week, it really sets the tone for my week and helps me keep on going. 

But really after getting this far, I hope you are either pondering about your needs or already have an idea of what you want to make as stickers for your planner. Also, don’t work yourself up that your stickers come out wrong the first few times, or your needs change. Again planning should be flexible, I had so many ideas for planner stickers that never really stuck or were just too much. It was really overwhelming to create stickers that I may use, but may not use, so it really came down to the bare necessities of what I needed. 

images of my first few planner sticker batches coming out wrong, didn't look well, weren't the right size, etc.

These are images of the first few batches of the planner sticker designs I created weren't the right fit nor looked that great. It's a process you have to keep working at! Don't work yourself up if it doesn't turn out great the first few times.

Sticker making is an extremely taxing activity. I wanted to learn the process of it, I did, but I also needed it for my planner system at the time. Thankfully, I worked in batches, and I made enough to last me for the next few months of my new planner as well. I’ll get into what I’m going to do as I start to run out a little later.

Lastly, I’ve made travel stickers also, note stickers, stickers for the plain number box shown in Passion Planner, a sticker tab for the weeks where it would say for example “Week 32 AUG 3 - AUG 9,” and my last set of stickers I made were a little box for each day where I write down my self-maintenance of the day, best thing today, my mood, and today in one word. This idea came from the Passion Planner Daily that I tried to use but had no use for. To each their own, but I prefer the Academic Passion Planner to the dailies. I definitely found that there were some things in the daily that I liked and wanted to bring back over into my planner. 

Measurements

You can make stickers for any planner you wish to make stickers for. Personally, I’m going to put all the Passion Planner sticker dimensions I have measured out here for everyone to use. If you have a digital version of the Passion Planner, my dimension may or may not work for you. They’re only measured for the print versions of the planner. 

How I took my measurements

I took the measurements of each thing I wanted dimensions of by downloading the free PDFs of each size Passion Planner on their website. If you didn’t know, Passion Planner does offer a variety of their planners, trackers, and more up for free download! It’s one of the components that I find makes a Passion Planner who they are, but also they’re filling a market gap. You really won’t find many people who offer things like this for free, and unfortunately, there have been people who abused their freebies by recreating their look into a similar planner and slapping a new name on it. It happens, bad people see a way to make money off of someone else’s hard work. I always think of it as those people will never find the happiness or success that the original creator of the work had found. They’ll always feel depleted in some way shape or form because they’re chasing numbers. 

Anyways, I downloaded each of their planners, imported a few different pages into Adobe Photoshop (which is not a free program), and used the Marquee tool to measure each bit. Then I wrote down the measurements in my notepad. 

If you don’t have that option, I double-checked the measurements with my ruler (no lie) and a digital ruler app on my phone. It works. If you know each marking on a ruler, this may or may not help you. To me, it didn’t because the program I used to make my stickers, needed everything in decimal form. I’ve been out of school for so long, I was dividing the fractions to get the decimal but found using Photoshop was the best way. 

Nonetheless, I know there are people out there who make stickers for other planners and I can only assume they scan what they need into their computer and do something similar. Or in fact, measure everything by hand, like I’ve mentioned. 

Passion Planner Dimensions

I know not everyone has a Passion Planner, but for those who do, I wanted to share my dimensions with you all if you ever care to make your own stickers. These dimensions might not fit if you printed out the free PDF of Passion Planner or had another service print out the Passion Planner for you. These also will probably not fit the Passion Planner Digital but are a good idea of where to start. These dimensions are strictly for those who purchased a Passion Planner from their website.

Large

  • Days of the Week w/o date (Weekly Section)
    • 1.469" x 0.250"
  • Days of the Week (Monthly Section)
    • 1.938" x 0.250"
  • Monthly Tabs
    • 1.843" x 0.250"
  • Weekly & monthly labels for to-do list & projects
    • 3.625" x 0.250"

Medium

  • Days of the Week w/o date (Weekly Section)
    • 1.333" x 0.270"
  • Days of the Week (Monthly Section)
    • 1.613" x 0.250"
  • Monthly Tabs
    • 1.613" x 0.250
  • Weekly & monthly labels for to-do list & projects
    • 3.260" x 0.250"

Small

  • Days of the Week w/o date (Weekly Section)
    • 1.230" x 0.217"
  • Days of the Week (Monthly Section)
    • 0.250" x 0.200"
  • Monthly Tabs
    • 1.190" x 0.200
  • Weekly & monthly labels for to-do list & projects
    • 2.50" x 0.200"

Cutting Source

When anyone mentions “cutting source” or “cutting method” they mean something like a silhouette machine, a Cricut machine, and then there are some people who cut everything out by hand. Which, honestly, thinking about it, sounds like a nightmare and a half! I’d get too pissed off, I don’t have that kind of patience, but if you don’t have the money to get a machine, then you’d want to consider an Exacto knife or cutting by hand with scissors method. It’s not impossible, just tedious. 

In this section, I’m going to go a little into depth about each option of the cutting sources I mentioned.

Silhouette Machine

Cricut and Silhouette are pretty much the top machines anyone really goes for when it comes to making stickers. In fact, Silhouette has a lot of official dealers who are allowed to sell their products. When I was looking into buying a vinyl cutting machine as a gift, the silhouette is what came up for me first! So that’s why I’m talking about it first.

I bought, as I said, the Silhouette machine as a gift for someone, and I bought it from Swing Design. Swing Design has many different bundles one can choose from, so it’s definitely an ideal gift to give someone. That being said, even though I bought it as a gift, I did have the liberty to try it out and create my own stickers on it. So let’s dive into my experience with the Silhouette machine. Again, all opinions are my own, some people’s opinions may differ, but this is how I feel.

What I liked about it

Definitely, the first thing I liked about it was that I didn’t have to pay for an additional program, subscription, membership, etc. to get started. In fact, Silhouette has a design school that signs you up for free for a year or something like that. Even without it, through Swing Design I was getting a lot of tips and tricks on the Silhouette machine.

What I disliked about it 

It’s not as straightforward as I would have liked it to be. There wasn’t much for me to like. At one of my previous jobs, I was basically being paid to figure out how a program works and create a guide on it. A how-to, a tutorial, and believe me I was thrown some of the most complicated programs out there. Learning Silhouette wasn’t like any of those hard ones, but it wasn’t straightforward either some of the stuff was just stupid. Like there would be a better way to do it, but they programmed it in such a way that it was just downright stupid.

Also with the machine, the side toggle to slide the mat in it was just weird and it made no sense either. I was completely frustrated many times because it wasn’t working out for me a lot. The number of times my machine cut completely crooked when I knew I was doing everything the same way. It was so aggravating! 

an image showing the silhouette machine cut my stickers out crooked

If you look closely you can see that my Silhouette machine cut my stickers out crooked, and they were useless after it. Which was absolutely frustrating!

I was not fond of the Silhouette machine or program at all. Lastly, which isn’t too big of a deal for some people, but for me it was, the size of it. The majority of cutters are well too big for my room. I’m still living at home with my parents, and there would be nowhere else to set it up. My room is very small, it wouldn’t be if we didn’t live within the inner city of Philadelphia, but that’s another story. Therefore, I really require something compact. 

As a note, it’s terribly loud! I don’t know if it’s all of them or just Silhouette, but it’s god-awful! The sound makes me cringe!

What I’m looking into next

I was looking into buying a Cricut Joy because it’s not too big, it’s compact, and perfect for my room. The only thing is, I don’t think it’s capable of reading registration marks that would allow me to cut stickers out properly. 

If you’re someone who has never tried to make stickers before, basically registration marks are what tells the cutter where to cut. So before you send your design to print, you put registration marks on your design, it usually shows up in the upper corners of a page, it prints the registration marks and then you put it in the machine to read the marks to cut accordingly. 

Another big problem for me is, my printer is in my dad’s garage. We don’t have a good printer that I can keep in my room. So that printer that is good is one of those professional ones, so it’s huge, but it’s hooked up to a really slow and impossible laptop because of how outdated the drivers are. It wouldn’t even work with my laptop, it would only work on a really old laptop that’s still on Windows 7. Not to mention, I tried downloading a program to read PDF’s it crashed 10 times. The process of me creating my own stickers is legit like:

  1. Create designs on the computer
  2. Save design with registration marks as PDF
  3. Convert PDF to PNG
  4. Save PNG files to flash drive
  5. Walk down 3 flights of stairs to sit in the garage for over an hour printing designs ever so slowly on this printer
  6. Not to mention having to change page setup so it prints correctly so the registration marks are read correctly
  7. Go back upstairs
  8. Set up the machine on a footrest and bend over it trying to align the mat straight
  9. Jump over footrest and cutter to jump onto the computer to send the file into the cutting mode, to cut properly
  10. Check to see if it’s cutting properly
  11. Sigh a huge relief that it’s cutting properly
  12. Wait 2 minutes per page to cut for it to finish cutting
  13. Do steps from number 8 all over again

So believe me when I say, I really need a printer and a cutting machine that’s compact and can fit in my already small room. I’ve been doing research for a while now, but I don’t think anything like this is out on the market for me. 

Cricut Machine

Now I never had a personal experience with a Cricut machine, but I can only tell you what I’ve heard and that it’s the most straightforward and simple approach to cutting anything out. The program is also easy to learn, it’s not jarring, it doesn’t make you feel stupid for no reason. It really sounds like the ideal machine compared to the Silhouette. I don’t know if there’s a catch or if there are any negative reviews about it. I’ve only heard positive things.

Scissors

I do know some sellers on Etsy who cut everything out by hand with some mini scissors, and it just blows me away because I don’t have that kind of patience. It’s possible, but I bet ridiculously hard, not to mention hand cramps! Ow! 

hand cutting planner stickers i designed myself

It takes a really long time to cut stickers out by hand, and wouldn't recommend it unless it's for yourself. But as you can see, after some of the initial designs not fitting, it takes time to figure out what works and what doesn't. The journal stickers didn't work, but the tabs totally did!

I would only go this route if I was just making stuff for myself, and even then I wouldn’t go this route I would prefer the next one. 

Exacto Knife

The Exacto knife method is a trial and error method. Basically, you have to figure out how hard to press or not to press to only cut the sticker through the top layer and not the bottom. I think this would be easier than the scissors method, but I don’t know because I've never tried it. If and when I make stickers again in batches, I’ll let you know what I used. Until then, I can’t comment on something I have no experience in.

Programs

Procreate

One of the most favorite programs anyone loves to use to make stickers is Procreate. With that being said, with Procreate you need an iPad, a stylus similar to the Apple Pencil if not the Apple Pencil itself, and be somewhat artsy? Technically, you don’t have to be a genius in art to sell stickers, but most people who use Procreate to make their own stickers already have their own niche in how they draw and turn them into sticker sheets.

Pro

  • Easy to learn
  • Easy to use
  • Only $9.99

Con

  • Only on iPad
  • Need a stylus or Apple Pencil

Final Verdict

For a beginner, I wouldn’t recommend this route because there are other programs you can use to make stickers if you’re just starting out and want to see if this is something you want to do full or part-time.

Photoshop

Photoshop is another popular choice in creating stickers. Now I’m pretty sure everyone has heard of Photoshop, and it technically has more cons than pros because it’s not as accessible as Procreate or one of the other programs. But it’s very similar to Procreate, but Procreate is easier to learn and manage.

Pro

  • A lot more options, control, functions, etc.
  • No need for a stylus, can use a mouse
  • Works on many different platforms

Con

  • Ridiculously expensive
  • Heavy program no matter what, as in you need a lot of RAM to run it

Final Verdict

When I was just starting out I was using Photoshop to create my travel stickers, but that’s only because I had Adobe Photoshop through my school account and then through my employee account. When I left all that behind, I also lost my account to the Adobe suite. I have a gaming PC and it was even a beast to run on that! Right now, I would lean more towards Procreate. In fact, I never subscribed to Adobe further because Procreate is way better for me! 

Silhouette Studio (free)

So obviously, if you have a Silhouette machine you’re going to want the Silhouette studio and if you have a Cricut then the next tab is for you. The basic Silhouette Studio is free, but if you want to upgrade that costs money. That being said, you get a lot of features for free if you’re just doing it for yourself. I think if you’re considering starting a business and are going to run more than one machine, that’s when the upgrade comes in handy. 

silhouette studio screenshot of kisscut settings and cut lines
Here's an example of sticker designs in the Silhouette Studio, as well as Kiss Cut settings. For Kiss Cut settings for plain white basic sticker paper I'd recommend: Blade - 1 | Speed - 7 | Force 14 or 15 | Passes 2 or 3.

Pro

  • Anyone can download and use
  • It’s free
  • Can export to many different file formats
  • Available on PC and Mac

Con

  • It’s complicated to learn to use it
  • Makes you feel stupid at times
  • Jarring location of functions
  • Not available on iPad

Final Verdict

I guess not being available on an iPad isn’t such a big deal, but I just didn’t have the most amazing experience with it. At most, I would give it a 3 out of 5 stars. 

Cricut Design Space (free)

As mentioned in Silhouette Studio, if you are considering a Cricut machine or have one you will be using the Cricut Design Space. 

Pro

  • Available on iPad, PC, Mac, etc.
  • It’s free
  • Easy to learn and navigate

Con

  • I don’t know any yet

Final Verdict

I don’t have a Cricut machine nor have I never tried one, so I can’t give you a great review of the Cricut Design Space. I do have it on my iPad because I was curious about it, and so far so good. But again, it’s different from the machine than without it.

Other Options

I know some people who use Microsoft Word/Excel but I personally don’t so if you’re looking to use that this isn’t the tutorial for you. I’m sure you can find plenty of tutorials for this, particularly on YouTube though!

Type of Sticker Paper

I’m not really a pro at sticker paper. So this will be updated along my journey. For a great reference to different types of sticker paper check out this guide:

And of course, when it comes to sticker paper selection, you’re going to need a good printer. 

“Will you be selling stickers, Diana?”

I will be! But only digital files of some of the stickers I created, for now. I will update this post with my Etsy shop once everything is live! 

examples of stickers i created that i will be selling in my etsy shop

Some of my current sticker designs, but some are in the process of being remade for copyright reasons.

Currently, I don’t have a great printer or enough working space to be dealing with orders. As mentioned above, when I was making these stickers photographed here, I had to design on my computer, export as a PDF, then convert it to an image, transfer it onto an external flash drive so I could make my way down 3 flights of stairs to the basement where my dad holds our massive printer. The laptop was hooked up to crashed just about a million times. 

So like literally, the process of everything, quality checking, waiting to print, loading paper, it just took me too many hours to do alone. Then I had to put the big ass Silhouette printer in my room which left me with no walkway, and as you read it gave me a lot of angst and anxiety. The number of times it cut wrong, was unbelievable. It’s just a lot of work, and right now I don’t see physical orders being possible for me.

That being said, depending on how things progress, everything can change. Also, in the future I see myself creating my own planner so it all depends on that too. I might instead switch to physical planner stickers for the planner I create. 

For now, do check back on this post to see if it's launched yet, or you will see the announcement on my Instagram account. 

Wrapping it up!

Sticker making is hard! Worth it, but hard. If you do trek this please let me know. When I started out, there was nothing like this out there. I had to figure everything out myself from scratch. 

Here I am literally giving you everything on a platter, pretty much. So instead of a question of the day, it would mean the world to me that if you use this as your guide to sticker making, leave me a little thank you in the comment section below. It would really make my day!

Also, if you own a Passion Planner or want one, please do consider using my code DIANA10 at checkout for 10% off your order. It works sitewide!

make your own passion planner stickers pinterst pin

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