© 2012 photobookgirl

Custom Notebooks, Journals and Planners – Day 3 Can’t Miss Christmas Gift Ideas (Updated 2014)

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Day 3 of my Twelve Days of Custom Photo Gifts series is here! Today’s pick is custom notebooks, journals and planners. I’ve made custom notebooks for myself before and as gifts. I haven’t done a planner before, but the concept is similar. What’s great about this gift idea is that there’s quite a range price-wise depending on how customizable you want to go and in some cases how many pages you want to make. The only downside I see is that they’re so nice, you might be apprehensive about writing in them!

CUSTOM PHOTO NOTEBOOKS & JOURNALS

Tiny Prints 5 x 8 lined notebook.

I made a notebook from Tiny Prints for myself with photos of my little guy.  It contains about 100 lined-pages (200 if you count the sides). The paper feels like the notebook paper you used in school and is wire bound (like the spiral notebooks you used in school). 🙂 The Tiny Prints version sports a cover that appears to be a textured plastic laminate that won’t show fingerprints.

There are several designs to choose from. It’s not a fancy notebook, but a place where you could jot down things you don’t want to forget or a to do list.  You can find this type of notebook at Snapfish, Shutterfly, or Tiny Prints with various design options priced from $9.99 to $14.99.  I think they would make a good and fairly inexpensive stocking stuffer.

Snapfish Notebook – choose wide ruled or blank interior pages.

Shutterfly Notebook

Snapily, a company that specializes in 3D printing and animated effects has its own twist on the notebook.

It allows you to select two photos that appear to morph from one to the other. The type of photos you select can therefore create some interesting effects. Think of taking one photo where your subject is making a serious face and then in the second photo is making a funny face. You can imagine how that would look right? I just thought of a couple photos I have where this type of effect would be perfectly suited. We have a series of photos that a tour guide took of my husband and me on our honeymoon. We had gone to the New Zealand movie set of the home of the Hobbits – the Shire from The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (now this was just one stop on our honeymoon, not the entire honeymoon mind you!) For those of you familiar with the story, the ring causes its wearer to become invisible. See what I mean below. Hmmm…maybe I have to make one of these now!

Now you see him, now you don’t!

This type of 3D action may be of special appeal to kids (and to adults too). They’ve got lots of colorful backgrounds to choose from. You could also do a 3D effect (requires only one photo). Snapily does not appear to offer this product anymore.

I’ve also made a custom notebook for my mom from Blurb. This notebook is different from the rest because you can customize the entire interior of the book versus just the cover. Because of the level of customization and quality of the book (you can get this softbound or hardbound) it costs more. It would make a nice gift for someone who likes to sketch or for someone who likes to journal. Just as with photo books, there’s no limit to your creativity. There are pre-made templates, but you can also create your own. If you want more details, check out my Blurb custom notebook review.

CUSTOM PHOTO PLANNERS

I haven’t made a planner before, but the concept is similar to making a notebook. TinyPrints offers monthly and weekly versions complete with fun stickers. They’re at a higher price point than the notebooks. For a fully customizable version, similar to Blurb’s custom notebooks, you can make a custom planner with complete control over the interior pages. There is no difference in pricing between Blurb’s notebooks and planners.

Below is a quick chart of some companies that offer custom journals, notebooks and planners.

Custom Notebook and Planner Comparison Chart (Updated Pricing 11/2014)

Company
Product Cost # of Pages & Size Special Features
Blurb
Notebooks & Planners Depends on page count and options. Starts at $17.59 softcover; $32.59 hardcover imagewrap; Addtl pgs $0.12 100 pg default notebooks; 134 pg default planners (up to 440 pages)
6 x 9
5 x 8
Every page and cover is completely customizable. Two sizes for planners. 6 x 9 for notebooks.
Snapfish Notebooks $14.99 200 blank or lined pages; 6.75 x 9 Customizable cover; Also see Hardcover journal from Paper Coterie 80 pgs)
Snapily Notebook $13.99 & $16.99 75 or 100 pages
5.5 x 8.5
8.5 x 11
Animated or 3D effects; Comes in two sizes
Shutterfly Notebooks $9.99 & $14.99 150 lined pages; 8 x 5 & 8.5 x 11 Coil bound, personalize cover
Tiny Prints Notebooks
& Planners
$14.99 ($54.00 for monthly planner; $60 for weekly planner) 8 x 5 (notebooks) 80 pages; 7 x 9 (planners) Wire-bound; Planners come in monthly and weekly versions; Personalize cover
Photobook America Notebooks $14.99 8 x 5; 150 lined or plain pages Wire-bound; Personalize front and back cover plus inner covers.

HOW DO I GET A DEAL ON NOTEBOOKS, JOURNALS & PLANNERS?

Check my Coupons and Deals Page

Since many of the photo book companies also offer these types of custom gifts in their product line-ups, I also post these deals along with other photo gift deals on my photo deals page. Additionally many companies will have 40%, 50% and sometimes 60% off site-wide which would also apply to notebooks etc.

Check my Groupon Tracker

Don’t forget about those crazy Groupons and daily deals – you can typically get upwards of 60% off using a Groupon. I keep track of all the photo related Groupons and Living Social deals on my Groupon Tracker page across the U.S., Canada and many international cities, so you don’t have to sign up under every city to find out where the deals are. Remember you don’t have to live in that city to take advantage of an offer. Since these companies operate online, you can buy a deal from Cleveland if you live in NYC. I would recommend that folks stick to their deals within their own country however and be sure to read the fine print as each deal can have different details.

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DAY 4 COMING SOON!

Be sure not to miss any of my gift ideas! I’ll be archiving all of them on the main Photo Book Girl gift page as we go through all 12 days so be sure to check back! I’d love to hear if you’re planning on making any of my picks for someone on your list! Comment below.

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6 Comments

  1. Lesley
    Posted October 25, 2012 at 1:38 pm | #

    I have made so ma ny photo gifts over the years and am alsways looking to top the year before with something clever. Can’t wait to check out snapily – that looks great!

    • photobookgirl
      Posted October 25, 2012 at 10:51 pm | #

      Great to hear Lesley – that was one of my goals with the series – to hopefully introduce at least one new cool thing to everyone!

  2. carretive
    Posted November 5, 2014 at 10:50 am | #

    I’m looking for a spiral bound weekly planner that I could input my own photos for each page (photos on the left or right side and the weekly calendar on the opposite side). I only see options where you can place a photo on the cover or back and that’s it. The blurb one seems to be the only one that you can customize the interior but, it’s bound in such a way that’s hard to layout on a desk open (the spiral bound is best for this). Do you know if anyone is doing this, yet??

    • photobookgirl
      Posted November 6, 2014 at 4:50 pm | #

      Hi, the only place I’ve seen that allows for pics inside is Blurb and like you said, they don’t have any options that lay flat. If you can create your own week pages, then you may be able to print elsewhere that does have lay flat options (although spiral may be hard to find), but that will require some work on your part unless you can find a weekly planner template for sale at a third party. Sorry, haven’t seen one, but if I do, I’ll come back to post another reply. 🙂

  3. Marilee Lites
    Posted December 7, 2015 at 8:14 am | #

    I am needing a daily planner with tabs and I would like to personalize the cover with a collage of photos and my daughters initials , what is the price? can you do this for me? Besides sending the photos what else doi need to send?

    • photobookgirl
      Posted December 7, 2015 at 9:44 am | #

      Hi Marilee,

      I don’t actually make the planners, I review them and let folks know where they can go to get these products. Looks like TinyPrints should have what you’re looking for. You’ll see them in the chart above. Clicking on the link will take you to their site. With these companies, you upload the photos and they have online software for you to drag and drop your photos. So it’s DIY and they make it as simple as possible to get a nice product. Regards, PBG

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