Dry Erase Calendar Tutorial

How do you keep track of your family’s appointments, classes, places to be, etc?  I use a dry erase calendar and google calendar.  I haven’t been very successful in using planners to keep track of things.  Years ago I used a dry erase calendar from our local office supply store. It probably measured 20”x20”.  Over time it started falling apart. We had it for at least 10 years. Last year I started looking online to find a new one and realized I could just make one that was personalized and special to me.  I love horses and decided to use a horse picture as the background.  Here is how I made mine so you can make one for your family.  And I am assuming you have an understanding of how to use Photoshop or Photoshop Elements.

Dry Erase Calendar Tutorial Such a cute idea! I want to make one of these for my home!

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Digital background


Picture frame

Look for a digital picture or digital scrapbook paper as your background.  You want to look for something that isn’t going to affect your ability to see your writing.  I found my horse picture on Etsy.  You also want to make sure it’s large enough to print big and that it’s 300ppi.  My blue background in this tutorial was 12 inches by 12 inches.  If you are using a picture, I think something black and white would be best.  If you want it in color, I’ll show you how to make it low opacity so it’s kind of transparent.  It would be super cute to use a picture of your family or kids.  Keep in mind that you want to be able to see your writing.  You could also use a digital scrapbook that you like.  That’s what I’ll be using in this tutorial.  You could even coordinate it with your home decor.

Now let’s create the calendar!

Open Photoshop and create a new blank file.  

Set the size of it the same size of your picture frame.  For example, for a 16×20 inch frame, you are going to make the size 16 inches high, 20 inches wide, and 300ppi.  

Open your background image.  

Stretch your image to fit.  If it’s not the same dimensions, just stretch it until it covers the whole 16×20 area.  If it’s a picture, center it the way you like.  If it looks pixelated when it’s enlarged all the way, the file is too small.  

If you are going to use a family picture, lower your opacity so you will still be able to see your writing.  Here, I set it to 62%.  

You can also change the color to black and white.  I did this by clicking the image tab at the top, click on mode, and then on grayscale.  

Then lower the opacity to your liking.

Next we make the calendar.  Select the line tool, set the weight to 15px, set the color to black.  

Draw one line that is about 11 inches long.  Then copy that line layer so there are 8 different lines roughly spaced out.

Place the two outside lines ½ inch from the edge.  Select all 8 layers of the lines.  Click on the move tool.  At the top tool bar, click on align and then top edges.  This will make sure all the lines are at the same height.  Again, at the top, click on distribute and then horizontal centers.  All your lines will now be evenly spaced between those outer lines that are ½ inch from the edge.  Place the top of your lines about 2 ¼ inches from the top.  

Do the same thing with your horizontal lines.  You only need 6 lines though.  Set the top and bottom lines at the top and bottom of the vertical lines before you select all the horizontal line layers and then click on distribute and vertical centers.  

If you want a notes section, take the bottom horizontal line and copy it 5 times.  Drag them below the calendar and distribute them evenly using the same instructions above.  Pick your favorite font and write Notes on the top line.  

Now add the days of the week above each column.  Use a new layer for each day of the week so you can move each one individually.  Place each one centered with it’s column.  Select all the layers for the days of the week, click the move tool, alignvertical centers.  This will make them all level with each other.  

Now we are going to add the month box.  Use your rounded rectangle tool.  

Set your radius to 50 pixels and color to black.  Now draw your rectangle.  

Copy the rectangle layer, color it white, and make it a little bit smaller than the black one.  Center it on top of the black one.

Select both rectangle layers and merge them together.

Select the magic wand tool and click on the white rectangle.  The white rectangle will now have the marching ants around it.  

Click delete and the white rectangle will disappear, along with the part of the black rectangle that it was covering, leaving the black border, so you can see your picture behind it.  Add the word Month next to the rectangle.

Lastly, add your family name.

Now the hard part is done!  You did it! Great job!  Save it as a .psd file so you can make any adjustments later.  And save a .jpeg file also.  I used Costco to print mine.  Insert it into your picture frame, hang it, and admire your hard work.  

Mine is bigger than 16×20.  I found a frame at goodwill that measured 25×20 inches, but it had a metal frame that was gold.  We took out the glass and I had my husband make a wooden frame for it that we painted light blue (it’s hard to see in the picture).  I love it so much!  If you or your husband is handy, you could do the same thing. 

I like using wet erase markers but you could use dry erase markers too.  Wet erase markers are the ones your high school teacher used on the over head projector. They won’t accidentally wipe off if you brush against it while writing.  And they are more vibrant and easier to see.  I also use specific colors for each person of my family so that I know at a glance which item is for which person.  

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial!  If you have any questions, let me know below.



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