8 DIY School Supplies Projects To Celebrate A New Year

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Lauren Webber is a former HR manager and lover of psychology who now runs Dainty Mom, among her other pursuits. Her interests range from the corporate world to health and self-care to home improvement and parenting. Now, if only someone came up with a way to extend the day by about 20 more hours, she could dedicate herself to all of these equally and constantly.

For most of us, school is back in session. Families everywhere are trading late summer nights with popsicles for early mornings with sharpened pencils. 

Now that you’ve had a few weeks under your belt, you’ve probably made it past the struggle of an earlier bedtime—just in time for the thrill of the new year to begin to subside. 

So how do you keep the momentum and magic of a new school year? 

Here are 8 school supply DIYs to help everyone get a little more excited about the year. 

1. Teacher’s Day Cards

Mom and girls making cards for their teacher

Teacher’s Day falls on September 5th every year, aligning with the new school year in most areas. Help your kiddo start the year on the right note by creating handmade cards to wish them a Happy Teacher’s Day and say hello to the person they’ll be spending an entire year with.

While apples are always cute, you could also create a card that looks like a book, calculator, or pencil. For a bonus gift, consider adding a DIY bookmark to the card. 

2. Custom Bookmarks

Young girl holding up a book with animal bookmarks

There are many ways to create a custom bookmark, depending on your child’s style and skill level. Not only do bookmarks serve a very practical purpose for your student, but they are also great (and inexpensive) gifts for peers around holidays or as a thoughtful alternative to Valentine’s Day cards. 

One of the easiest ways to create a custom bookmark is to print a template on cardstock paper and color it. You can punch a hole and add ribbon, a tassel, or a DIY bookmark charm. 

One of our favorite bookmarks is a book tracker that celebrates all the books your reader has gone through. Once they finish a book, they get to write the title on one of the books and color it in. By the end of the year, that little piece of paper will mean so much 

You can also create origami page corners as an alternative to the traditional bookmark. These folded art pieces sit on the corner of the page, clearly marking where your child left off. These bookmarks are easy to fold and can be decorated in a number of ways— you can even make a monster face that looks like it’s eating the book! 

3. Notebook Cover Collages

Customizing a notebook cover is a simple way to bring a bland book to life and ensure it doesn’t end up with another student. For this art project, you can use printed photos, clippings from papers and magazines, stickers, scrapbook paper, washi tape, and photos. If you have young children, choose a variety of brightly colored options. If you have older kids, let them choose the style.

Depending on the type of notebook you’re covering, you’ll need glue or ModPodge. For binders with a plastic cover, create the collage on a separate piece of paper or cardstock and slide it into the front pocket.

Related: The 20 Best Sewing Machines [For All Crafting Levels]

4. Textbook Covers

There’s nothing quite as stressful as realizing your child has misplaced their textbook and will have to pay a replacement fee. Adding a textbook cover will help prevent any confusion about grabbing the wrong textbook or having it mixed in with a group. 

Of course, you can’t permanently alter the textbooks; that’s where paper covers come in. 

For this project, you’ll need kraft paper or gift wrap. Choose some brightly colored gift wrap that isn’t obviously associated with a holiday or event. If you opt for kraft paper, get some markers or stamps so your kids can personalize their cover. Once the paper is decorated, you’ll essentially wrap the cover like a gift and tape the edges on the inside cover. Your kids may need help with this part.

5. Contact Paper Covers

Macbook with marble contact paper on it

Another fun way to customize folders, notebooks, laptops and binders is with contact paper. Contact paper is like wallpaper for your arts and crafts and often comes in more sophisticated designs that appeal to older kids. For example, you can get contact paper that looks like faux marble or Renaissance art.

Words of Warning: Contact paper is exceptionally sticky and hard to remove once it’s applied to a porous surface (like a folder or notebook). So take your time lining up the paper and apply it carefully. This may not be a project for little hands. 

6. Washi Tape Laptop Cover

There’s been a huge shift toward digital learning in recent years, with many students bringing home a loaner laptop for the year. Whether your child has their own computer or borrows one from the school, you can add a temporary cover with washi tape.

Washi tape is easy to apply and easy to remove without residue or damage, making it ideal for decorating a laptop. However, it’s recommended that you do a test strip and leave it on for a few days before covering the whole thing.

7. Motivational Pencils 

Motivational quotes and positive affirmations are powerful for helping your child stay on course while at school. And while you can shell out some of your hard-earned cash for a package of premade pencils, you can also make a more thoughtful and personalized option from home! 

Choose a few short quotes or positive affirmations and copy them into a text document on your computer. Adjust the color and font to your child’s liking, and resize it to fit on the side of the pencil— a 10pt font usually works. Trim the quote and use ModPodge to stick it to the pencil. 

Protip: Paint the pencils white to make everything blend together.

8. Roll-Up Pencil Case

A roll-up pencil case is a fun, no-sew project that keeps pencils, pens, and markers organized and accessible. Rather than digging through a pencil case, your budding artist can unroll their collection like a scroll and find exactly what they need. 

For this project, you’ll need a long piece of felt, ribbon, a marker, a ruler, and scissors. 

  1. Lay the felt out flat and use the ruler to make evenly spaced marks along the felt. 
  2. Repeat the same process a few inches below, ensuring the marks are aligned with the ones above. 
  3. Then, use your scissors to snip the marks, creating holes for your markers or pencils to slide through.
  4. Snip two small holes at the end of the felt and loop a ribbon through to tie the roll shut.
  5. Slide the markers or pencils through the holes and roll up the felt, securing it with the ribbon.

If you do it right, this sweet momento will last long past the year. 

Creating DIY school supplies will help your child get excited for their return to school and might be the boost they need to help them stay organized. 

You might also be interested in: Sew Simple: DIY Face Mask Project for Elementary School Kids

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