Back-to-School Crafts

In-jean-ious 3 Ring Binder
Decorate your locker, keep photos of your friends, and fill your backpack with these stylin' school supplies.

Magnetic Messages

Forget tape! These colorful magnets will keep your class schedule and friends' photos locked to your locker door. They're also perfect for displaying those "A" papers on the fridge.

How to Make Them

-- Base-coat 1-1/2-inch-diameter wooden disks (available at craft supply stores in the woodworking section) in the desired colors. Let dry; add a second coat if necessary.

-- Stamp a letter in the center of each disk, using the permanent ink pad. (If you like, leave some disks unstamped. Paint them with simple designs, like stars or circles.)

-- Glue a magnet to the center back of each finished disk. Spray each top side with a coat of varnish.

Glow-in-the-Dark Journals

These glow-in-the-dark journals are a fun way to light up the night as you write about your day.

How to Make It

-- Buy a pack of glow-in-the-dark planets & stars stickers. The adhesive will usually come with it.

-- Arrange as desired.

Tip: Glow-in-the-dark stickers come in a variety of shapes and can embellish a variety of surfaces, including 3-ring binders and paper-sack book covers.

Out-of-This-World Picture Frames

Here's nuts-and-bolts crafting at its best -- keep a picture of all your best friends at your bedside or attach magnets to the back to hang these frames in your locker.

How to Make It

-- Buy plain wooden frames and paint them with bright colors.

-- Attach washers and other silver hardware to the painted frames.

-- To create the circle pattern like we did with our green frame, apply circular adhesive stickers after you paint the first coat. Paint a new color over the whole frame. Let dry, then remove the adhesive circles to expose the original color in circles.

Bulletin Board Message Center

Keep track of important papers and messages with this cork bulletin board.

How to Make It

-- Paint the stops of 20 coasters in assorted colors. Paint a second or third coat, as needed, to fully cover the cork.

-- Glue a plain coaster to the back of each painted coaster. (This adds thickness to the bulletin board, so you can push tacks into it.) Lay books on top of the glued coasters to prevent the cork from curling. Allow to dry overnight.

-- Paint the edges of the coasters; let dry.

-- Referring to the photo, adhere the coasters to the wall with removable wall-mounting stickers. Mix and match the color placement in a pleasing pattern.

Beaded Bookmarks

You'll never want to put that book down when it carries your favorite colorful bookmark.

How to Make the Beaded Bookmark

-- Tie a knot 1 inch from the end of the ribbon. Slide beads from the opposite end of the ribbon up to the knot. Tie a knot on the other side of the beads to hold in place.

-- Measure 10 inches from the inside knot and tie another knot. Put on the remaining bead(s) and slide up to the knot. Tie another knot against the last bead. Trim the ribbon ends.

How to Make the Fringed Bookmark

-- Tie a knot on one end of the ribbon and trim the end close to the knot. Thread the beading needle and go through the ribbon knot to secure the end of the thread in the knot. String on 19 multicolored rocaille beads, then 4 silver seed beads. Take the needle back through the rocaille beads. The seed beads will form a loop at the end. Go back through the ribbon knot, pulling the thread so the fringe hangs below the knot. Repeat with another string of fringe. Make 5 strings. Secure the end of the thread in the knot.

-- Slide on a silver bead from the other end of the ribbon and pull over the ribbon knot holding the fringe. Tie a knot against the bead to hold it in place.

-- Measure 10 inches from the last knot made in Step 2 and tie another knot. Slide on a silver bead and tie a knot on the other side of the bead to secure. Trim the end of the ribbon.

In-Jean-ious 3-Ring Binder

Cut the best parts from an old pair of blue jeans and put them to new use on this hard-working 3-ring binder.

How to Make It

-- Use a seam ripper to remove the pockets and waistband (with loops) from the denim jeans. (Ask an adult for help cutting the denim jeans.) Cut the waistband strip 2 inches longer than the side of the binder. If necessary, use a needle and thread to secure the loops to the waistband. Cut the inseam on both legs to create a piece of flat fabric. From this fabric, cut two shapes that measure 3 inches wider and 3 inches longer than the front of the binder.

-- Starting at one edge, spread glue evenly over one-third of the binder front. Center one fabric shape over the binder and smooth it over the glue. Continue spreading glue and smoothing the fabric until the front is covered.

-- Apply glue to the side of the binder. Smooth the fabric over the edges.

-- Apply a line of glue to the wrong side of the fabric that extends beyond the binder front. Fold the fabric under 1/2-inch along all three edges for a hem. Spread glue along the inside edge of the binder. Turn under the 1-inch hemmed margins and smooth in place. Use the points of scissors to push the hemmed margin under the metal strip that holds the paper. Secure the fabric to the binder with clothespins; leave in place until the glue dries.

-- Repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 for the binder back.

-- Spread glue on the spine of the binder. Smooth the waistband strip in place, allowing a 1-inch overlap at the top and bottom. Fold the excess fabric inside the binder and secure with glue.

-- On the wrong side of each pocket, apply a line of glue along the sides and bottom. Place the pockets side-by-side on the binder front.

-- Glue butterfly appliques to the binder front so green ribbon. Adhere the ribbons to the front so they "grow" out of the other pocket. Add flower appliques and leaves to the ribbon stems.

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