DIY Back-to-School Fashions and Supplies: Functional and Fabulous
Whether you’re looking for activities to get your family into the school spirit, constructive ways for your children to express themselves, solutions for upcycling old stuff, or ideas for budget-friendly fashion, do-it-yourself (DIY) back-to-school projects are the way to go. I've pored over the Pinterest boards and craft blogger sites for functional and fabulous fashion, supplies, and organizational tools you can make yourself. Read on for my favorite finds that are simple (even for non-crafters) and use things you might already have around the house.
I’m usually skeptical when some crafty blogger claims that their project is easy to make, but the Color Block Sneakers craft from Wicked Cheap in Boston actually seems quite simple. The one drawback is that you’re not likely to just have the plain white shoes and paints lying around, but I think it’s worth the extra step of acquiring the supplies. I’ve also seen similar projects using old boots and high tops (so maybe you do have the shoes already!)
We have a couple of plain bulletin boards at home, and I have been looking for ways to add a little pizzazz to them. I am going to try making this Mail Holder Bulletin Board from The DIY mommy. If adding the mail holder proves too complicated for me, I’ll still have a lovely fabric-covered bulletin board.
The Lunch Money Locket from Family Fun magazine, made using a mint tin, has it all: It’s cute, practical, and relatively easy to make. It’s great for boys and girls alike. Plus, those tins are curiously strong.
i am momma hear me ROAR has a back to school backpack tutorial that serves as an excellent springboard for ideas to jazz up your child’s backpack. I agree with some of the comments, however, to leave your child’s name off. Initials would be fine, but one of the benefits of personalizing the pack yourself is that it will be unique and recognizable, even without a name.
A Lined Paper Tee by Maybe Matilda is clever, cute, and would make a perfect first day of school shirt for kids who aren’t into frills. You or your child could even write something on the lines with fabric markers.
Trendy (in a good way) and very cute, the Owl Hair Clip from Less-Than-Perfect Life of Bliss might inspire you and your kids to create other felt animal hair clips. The felt animals could also be easily made into bookmarks and backpack danglers. Or a wearable pin to give to a teacher.
Three-ring binders are often on the required school supplies lists, and I find them to be pretty pricey, especially if you get anything with a design. With the Dress Up a Binder craft from Better Homes & Gardens, you can buy a plain binder for cheap during a back-to-school sale. Then have your child give it a makeover, elevating it from drab to fab.
As the world’s worst seamstress, I usually shy away from sewing-heavy crafts, but the Monster Tissue Pouch tutorial from Makerland makes it look easy and so gosh-darned adorable, I had to include it in my picks. Maybe with these tissue holders in their packs, my kids will stop wiping their noses on their clothes. A mom can dream, right?
If you liked these projects (or even if you didn't) check out my DIY back-to-school post, part two, which features fun fashions and function created by my family! And be sure to check out our Back to School Guide for other tips and advice to help make the transition a little bit smoother.
Originally published August 13, 2012; updated August 12, 2013