Planner Makeover Using a Sharpie and Washi Tape

I know some of you are seeing the title of this post and saying “Washi tape?  REALLY? Again?”  Believe me, I know… The blogging world is over saturated with washi tape projects, and I am adding to the mess, but here’s my story: Washi tape was my LAST resort!  That’s right folks… this is a story about a craft fail SAVED by washi tape. 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALucky for you I didn’t realize this was going to be a craft fail from the beginning, so I took lots of pictures. And when I DID realize it was a failure I kept taking pictures just to really rub it in, I guess?

The original plan was gold stripes on a black Moleskine planner.

Sharpie Marker striped agenda


The Sharpie paint marker bled through the painter’s tape and made for some REALLY terrible lines.  In my attempt to salvage this atrocity, I made it 10 times worse by thinking “Oh, what if I make the stripes purposely uneven?  That could work!”  

Oh my gosh, you guys… I was on a major craft fail roll here and kept going.  So what did I do next?

Well I painted the entire thing gold, of course!


You could so visibly see the lines where I had painted the original stripes with the painter’s tape.  It was a hot mess!!!  And this is so not something I could have just thrown away, I mean I paid like $26 for this bad boy!  I needed to salvage it.

Enter washi tape…

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is where I gave up taking pictures of the process because I was basically convinced i was just going to look terrible, anyway.

But then something kind of magical happened… the washi tape made it look better!  I started out with just two patterns, but then I decided I liked making it a little more fun and a little less serious.  I don’t know about you, but I dig the girlyness happening here with the pink and polka dots and the soft blue.  

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAs you can seek, it’s not perfect.  Duh… nothing ever is.  Surprisingly, I’m ok with that!

The best part?  If this hadn’t been a complete failure with the gold Sharpie, the washi tape wouldn’t have looked good. On the black, the tape would have looked too dark.  The gold actually makes it work!  WOAH!

Inside agenda - 2014 The Learner ObserverOn the inside, this agenda is perfection.  I can plan out my entire week without having to flip pages and there’s plenty of room for my schedule, my to-do lists and any other notes.  As a substitute teacher, having the ability to plan out my day from 8am to 8pm is perfect since I’m sometimes at two different schools in one day.  This gives me space to write in all the details I need to know.  The bit at the bottom is fantastic to use as a blogging planner as well.  Oh and there are little strips you can tear off for shopping lists on the back. So good!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMoleskine was always my number 1 choice for layout (this is my third time using one), but not so much for looks since they are all plain black in the Professional series.  The Kate Spade planners are beautiful (and what blogger on this earth doesn’t have/want one?!?!) and I was oh-so tempted to get one… but after seeing their size, I knew it wouldn’t work for me.  I need something I can carry in my purse and Moleskine does the trick.  So layout and size win over beauty.  Sorry Kate Spade… maybe next year?

So there you have it… my first HUGE craft fail that I just couldn’t give up on.

In case you’re interested, Chapters/Indigo sells these and they have been on sale since pretty much the day after I bought mine full price.  Of course.  Here’s what they look like without gold all over them:

How to give your black planner new life with a Sharpie and wash tape - by The Learner ObserverThere are a lot of sizes and layouts to choose from with Moleskine, so if you’re looking for something specific, I’d give them a try.  You won’t be disappointed.

Just a side note, Moleskine doesn’t even know I’m writing this post.  I just really love and believe in their product AND I wanted to show you how my awesome idea turned out terribly then finally was salvaged by some pretty tape!

So how did I do, dear reader?  Is my fail still fail, or did I save it?



  1. Haha was that washi disclaimer because of me?? I really like how your book worked out and the washi tape works great here!!

    • haha I had typed it before I saw your tweet, but I did chuckle at it thinking of you! Thanks, Casey! Who would have thought washi tape would save my butt! I normally only use it on gifts and cards.

  2. You definitely saved it! It looks really nice, and as if you had completely planned it :) xx

    D Is For…

  3. I woulda never noticed u failed! It looks something u could buy at a store! Great job T!

  4. Great save!! It looks so pretty now. I think it’s actually better than your original plan. YAY for craft fails…and washi tape! :)

    • Thanks, lady!! And I love that you think it’s better than the original plan because I feel that way too! I think the gold and black would have been a bit much! I have to say this is my most successful craft fail to date!

  5. Oooooo! This is so so so purdy! And I love that if it hadn’t been for the “fail,” the washi would have never been the huge success that it was…is! (Also, I love that we can count on you to keep it real and be oh so honest about every step of the process. It makes me feel like I’m not so alone in my many project “fails.”)

    Fab-tastic planner, Thalita! (I’m an hour by hour planner, too. In fact, I *may* be sharing my DIY planner on the blog at some point…though I’m not organized enough yet to tell you exactly when. Lol. Work in progress.)

    • Why, thank you!!! This was a blessing in disguise.. it failed for a reason and that reason is that this planner was meant for more than just black and gold! I swear in every project I attack, there is a fail in it somewhere. I’ve just learned to live with it!

      K, now you HAVE to share your planner because I just know it’s going to be life-altering and amazing!!!

  6. Your right the gold really pops with the washi!! I’m glad you didn’t give up it looks great!

  7. This is definitely a case of snatching victory from the jaws of defeat. Well played!

  8. This is so cute and creative… washi tape to the rescue! Great DIY project, easy, inexpensive and cute!

    • Thanks, Brittany! Creativity blooms in failure, doesn’t it? Well, maybe just for me! It’s like I never would have thought to use washi tape unless I totally messed this project up first! haha

  9. I say kudos for sticking with it – I likely would’ve thrown it at something by fail #2!:)

    • Aww thanks!!! I did at one point throw it on the floor… but quickly picked it up when my dog came running in as if I had just thrown a toy down! At that point, I wouldn’t have been too sad if he chewed it up a bit so I’d have a real excuse to give up on it :)

  10. This is SO darling, I love how the pastel prints brighten up your planner. I just wrote about an art related mishap turned glory moment,

  11. You had me at “washi tape”! Fail, schmail! I LOVE how this turned out!!

  12. It looks great!

    • Thanks so much, Marie! I’ll have to look back the lovely comments like yours next time I totally mess something up to remind myself I can (probably) still fix it :)

  13. Great save! Love it :)

  14. This is adorable! I would love it if you linked up to The Makers!

    ~Katie @ Upcycled Treasures


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