DIY Back-to-School Supplies & Fashions: Part II
Although the start of school brings many exciting new beginnings, it also means saying goodbye to summer and to a stage in a child’s life. The end of summer, the beginning of a new school year: it’s an adventure, and we can all use a little comfort to help us along as we explore new territory. That’s what I had in mind when my kids and I got to work on a few back-to-school craft projects. For fun and easy solutions to the challenges of leaving a lovey behind, outgrowing clothes, and saying bittersweet goodbyes to summer, read on. Then take a look at my roundup of more adorable DIY school supplies and fashions.
My kids made a Build-a-Bear over the summer, and my son loved it so much, he wanted to make a t-shirt to honor the bear. That gave me an idea: When children start preschool or kindergarten, their favorite loveys often must be left behind. Let your child bring along a favorite stuffed animal or toy to school anyway – on a t-shirt, that is.
Supplies you’ll need:
A plain white cotton t-shirt in your child’s size. (If you don’t already have one, the craft stores often run specials on their plain t-shirts. We got ours for less than $3 at Children’s Place, during a sale and with a 25% off coupon I printed from the internet. I have also seen plain t-shirts at the dollar store.)
Fabric crayons or markers. We used Crayola fabric crayons. I would not recommend using fabric paints, especially if your child will be doing the artwork.
A few pieces of white paper.
An iron and ironing board.
What you do:
1. Draw a picture of the lovey on the paper. Remember that the picture will be reversed when it gets ironed on, so if you include any writing, you’ll need to do it backwards. Be sure to apply some pressure while coloring the picture in, and be very generous with the color. Darker colors come out best.
2. Iron the image on to the shirt. (Follow the directions on the fabric crayon package - they vary.)
3. Wash the shirt in cold water.
You’re done! Now Junior will have his lovey with him at school.
Got a bunch of adorable knee-high socks with holes in the toes or that are just too small for your daughter? Here’s what you do: With fabric scissors, cut the foot part of the sock off and set it aside. For the arm warmers, you can leave them as they are, with the heel intact. My daughter likes to do this – she wears the heel part on her elbow. I prefer to cut that part off and wear the warmers lower, on my forearm (80’s style!). To make a matching hair band, just cut a strip from the foot part of the sock. Viola! That was easy, wasn’t it?
Summer Memories School Supply Box
If your child is having trouble leaving summer behind, this box is a nice way to bring a little summer fun into the school year.
A box with a lid. (We used a clear plastic box from IKEA because we already had it.)
Small mementos from summer: shells, ticket stubs, findings from nature walks, trinkets from trips, photos from camp, etc.
What you do:
Arrange the mementos on the box. Using a good, strong adhesive (we used hot glue), glue everything on to the box. If you’re gluing photos or paper, you may want to seal them with Mod Podge. After letting it dry for several hours, you’re ready to fill it with school supplies. Your child can enjoy summer memories all school year long, even while doing homework.
Duct Tape Library Card Holder and Pencil Case
I have included a photo of these just for the general ideas. I can’t tell you how to make them, because I don’t know! I watched my kids whip these things up, and they might as well have been sewing (I’m the world’s worst seamstress), because I just couldn’t follow. Instead, here are some tips for buying duct tape locally: As you may have noticed, duct tape crafting is a big trend, and as a result, the cost and variety of duct tape has multiplied. Here’s the low-down on duct tape acquisition:
- Target: Often has very cute selection, but is among the most expensive.
- Home Depot: Typically a little less expensive, but the prices seem to correlate with the growing variety.
- Walmart: Among the best prices we’ve found, but the stock is often decimated. You may also need to check more than one place in the store for the duct tape selections.
- Michaels: Not cheap, but you might be able to use a single-item 40% off coupon from the weekly ad. And the duct-tape sheets are sometimes marked down for clearance. We like the sheets because they have a grid for cutting straight lines on the back.
- Ben Franklin (Belmont): Expensive, but they have a selection of duct tape we haven’t seen elsewhere.
- Ocean State Job Lots: We found a huge roll of white duct tape (which is very versatile) for around $3.
- Arsenal Mall (Watertown): There is a dollar store in the mall, and they often have duct tape. The rolls are smaller than they are elsewhere, but at a dollar (plus tax), it's still a bargain, especially if you don't need a whole lot.
You supply the duct tape, and your kids will likely figure out how to make all kinds of cool things with it, like the library card holders and pencil case my kids made. If your kids need inspiration or tutorials, take a look at Ducktivities on the Duck brand's website.
Originally published August 29, 2012