With each new school year comes a fresh start. Kids head back to class in the fall to a new grade level with new teachers—and with new supplies in tow. This year, make school supplies a little more special without spending a fortune.
Here's how to transform affordable school supplies into fun, colorful, and customized pieces. These ideas are suitable for any grade level and also work well in a home office.
Spruce up plain composition notebooks with cute custom covers. Find a design you love, like the ones shown here from A Joyful Riot, print out, and adhere to the front of your notebook with glue or decoupage medium. If your kids want to create their own custom designs, let them use pretty craft paper, magazine clippings, stickers, and other embellishments to make their notebooks one-of-a-kind.
This chic binder from Home Made by Carmona is perfect for the way-too-busy mom or student. It's a one-stop shop for calendars and supplies. Simply take a basic binder and add divider tabs. Kids can use it to label each of their classes, or you can set aside tabs for family, friends, finances, and more. Binder-ready pencil cases hold extra writing utensils, paper clips, sticky notes, and other necessities. Style the binder with scrapbook paper and stick-on letters.
Personalized Computer Case
Protect your kid's computer with a DIY laptop sleeve. This simple how-to from Crazy Little Projects takes only 10 minutes. Pick some felt in your favorite color, cut it to size, sew the sleeve, and attach with hook-and-loop tape. It's so simple! While the supplies for this project cost only a few bucks, the finished product helps to protect your expensive investment.
Colorful Writing Utensils
OK, seriously. How have we never thought of this before? Wrapping pencils in washi tape is the easiest way to add instant style to your child's school bag. Plus, a unique design helps kids keep track of their own supplies. Happiness is Homemade shows us how to do it. Start by cutting a length of tape the same size as your pencil. Then carefully wrap the washi tape around the utensil, smoothing out any lumps as you go. Depending on the width of your tape, you may need two strips to completely cover the pencil.
DIY Pencil Case
Sure, you could buy the plastic pencil cases that are on sale for 50 cents before the school year starts. Or you can create your own with a few scraps of leftover fabric. This how-to from Gathered Threads walks us through the entire process. Start by lining up two pieces of contrasting fabric, attaching a zipper, then sewing up the edges. The end result is pretty, personal, and guaranteed to last longer than any store-bought case.
Too-Cute Textbook Covers
Book covers not only look pretty, but also serve very practical services. They help protect your child's textbooks from everyday wear and tea, and will help separate his or her book from the rest of the class—especially if it's a bold design. Bite Sized Biggie shows you how to make one with fabric and a few common crafting supplies.
Stylish Backpack Update
If your little one is into the unicorn trend, they'll love this DIY rainbow backpack from Momtastic. Get the look by sketching different hues of rainbow fabric markers onto a plain white backpack, then spraying with water until the colors bleed together. This is a great way to update last year's backpack without having to buy a new one.