How to Create Your Own Planner Cover with Mod Podge

my very own passion planner cover with manga

When Passion Planner announced the new covers for the 2022 year, back in 2021, I already knew I wasn’t going to be interested in any of them. To date I’ve had the:

  • Weekly Undated in Cosmic Mint (Large; Monday start)
  • Weekly Undated in Rose Gold (Small; Monday start)
  • Weekly Academic in Elite Black (Medium; Sunday Start)
  • Weekly Academic in Goal Getter Gray (Medium; Monday Start)
That’s when I thought about creating my own planner cover.

I've thought about, "How would I do this?" "How would I go about this?" Quite often. Before I start any DIY, I really have to have a thought-out theory. I call it theory because it's not exactly a plan. It's an idea with options of how to make it work, and make it work well. Let's just say, not all of my theories are great xD. 

But my theory went like this... I would buy the Weekly 2022 Annual in Elite Black (Medium; Monday Start) as it’s slightly cheaper in price than the limited edition colors and covers. I would then either sticker bomb it or something else entirely. As you can see from the images. I would use either mod podge, double-sided glue, and/or sealant spray to make this work.

I had an idea of how to make this happen as I did something similar once back in 2016 using mod podge and lettered stickers. It’s fairly easy to use, and I’ve learned some things along the way when it comes to using mod podge.

my first ever bullet journal and custom planner cover made with mod podge and stickers

So let’s get further into it, shall we? 

Supplies Needed

  • A planner/journal
  • The size of your planner/journal
  • An idea
  • Mod podge (doesn’t matter which, I just used regular gloss mod podge)
  • A paintbrush
  • A tray of some sort
  • Stickers, manga, printed quotes, whatever your medium of choice is
  • Painters Tape
  • Sealant Spray (optional)
passion planner manga cover

First things first

By now you should already have an idea of what you’re doing. If you’re sticker bombing, then sticker bomb away. You don’t really need to read some of these steps at all, and you can skip to the second paragraph in, “You’re going to need some patience.” But if you’re like me, and wanted to do a manga scan type collage I feel like your best bet would be to collage it first and then apply it later.

Only because mod podge can make paper ripple. You only really have one shot at this because mod podge can get messy, and there’s no way you’re going to be able to bring it back up if you mess up! I’ve considered other ways of adhering it, but it wouldn’t be as durable as mod podge is. Stickers, on the other hand, are easier to work with. 

Also, I will say if your planner is a softcover like mine was, it will not be able to bend as easily after this process. In fact, besides basic opening and closing it, it won’t be able to do much more than that. Which doesn’t bug me, but if it bugs you to have a stiff planner cover this may not be for you. I also wouldn’t recommend ruining your actual manga books, but your money, not mine. Instead, I found manga scans online from some of the mangas I’ve read or been reading and collaged them together in Procreate. If you don’t have Procreate, you can use Canva. But what you really are going to need is the size of your planner/journal. Also give it about a centimeter of seam allowance, if you want to that is, and take it off the initial measurement. Go ahead and import those measurements into Canva, Procreate, or whatever you’re working with. 

the back of my passion planner with a custom manga cover

If you’re doing a front and back cover like I did, you’re going to want to print 2 versions of the back cover out that’s only if you have a planner band attached to your planner/journal. If you don’t you can skip this, but if you do we’re going to use the first one as a dud to measure out where the planner band is. 

This is where things start to get tricky.

If you have a planner band, go ahead and undo it. Take your dud copy of the planner cover and align it with your cover and how you want it. Take a pencil and mark out where the planner band is on both ends. And all you’re going to do now is, cut slits straight into where you marked the planner bands are and slide your cover through it. If you see it’s not fitting the way you want it to, cut some more out. Slowly, not entirely, until you have it nice and snug and everything fits the way you want it to. Once you have that, take those exact measurements and put them on the 2nd copy you printed out.

planner band allowance and stiff cover

You may be wondering, why not just use the first one? When I measured out the first one, things got kind of messed up. When I did it a second time around because I already had the measurements, things looked more put together and just not messed up anymore. That’s why I suggested 2 copies instead of messing up, and then running around needing to print a second copy. If you don’t need the second copy, repurpose the sheet of paper for something else. It’s not that big of a deal.

You’re going to need some patience.

Before you do anything, you’re going to want to cover the insides of your planner, your planner band, and wrap the pages up with painter's tape. It’ll protect them from getting destroyed or damaged. 

Then take your tray, and pour some mod podge onto it. Dip dry your paintbrush into it and paint a thin coat of mod podge just on the planner cover. Wait a few seconds and then slowly, adhere your collage to the cover. If you mess up, oh well, just roll with the punches. You can’t lift it back up because you’re going to ruin both the journal/planner and the sheet you’re working with. It’s not that big of a deal if things aren’t perfect, and trust me, you won’t notice it as much because you’ll be too in love with the finished product.

After you’ve adhered it, wait 15 minutes and apply another thin coat of mod podge on top. Follow the instructions on the bottle of your mod podge, and add two more coats after that one. 

Now mod podge can result in a tacky feeling, so if you find that’s something you have you may want to invest in an acrylic sealant spray. It’s only a few bucks from Home Depot. It also helps make your planner or journal or whatever weatherproof. It protects your new piece of art. Personally, I did this to both the front and back, but I didn’t like the feeling of the matte sealant spray so I went in on top of it with another coat of mod podge once everything was dry. I didn’t have that tacky feeling anymore, and it was way more smooth of a surface.

Overall, I was without a planner for 2-3 days just to make sure everything was dry and I had enough coats of everything on it. It definitely didn’t come out perfectly, but I don’t even notice. I am absolutely obsessed with my planner cover and wish I did it sooner! I definitely might do this again for 2023, or I might do something else. Who knows?

front and back cover of my passion planner with a custom manga collage

If you enjoyed this tutorial or if it helped you in any way let me know in the comments. 

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Till next time!

~Diana

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