8 DIY Ideas for Back to School

Summer is an ideal time to dive into DIY projects. If you haven’t gotten your fill of crafting yet, there’s still time to start painting, snipping, and sewing before the school year begins. These back to school DIY ideas will get you excited for the first day of school. 

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Paint motivational pencils

Painted pencils
Hello Glow

Be inspired every time you pick up a pencil with this simple DIY. Use craft paint to cover each pencil in a single color. Next, use a Sharpie to write a short, motivational line that speaks to you – dream big or make it happen, for example – on each pencil.  The positive affirmations will keep you energized during stressful times. You’ll never limit yourself to plain yellow #2s again. 

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Embroidered backpack patches

Trim the Patch
Trim the Patch. © Mollie Johanson, Licensed to About.com

Funky embroidered backpack patches are a great way to add personality to your school wardrobe. There are thousands of embroidery guides and patch patterns available online, so you can choose the design that best reflects your personal style. Patches can be ironed, sewn, or even safety-pinned onto your backpack. To make a fun statement on the first day of school, create a collection of themed patches and share them with your friends. 

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Make bottle cap magnets

Bottle cap magnets

Magnets are locker essentials. They can display photos, class schedules, to-do lists, and more. As you begin organizing and decorating your new locker, create custom-made magnets out of bottle caps and nail polish. Glue a round magnet to the inside of a bottle cap and use nail polish to paint it a solid color. After it dries, use multicolored polish to cover each bottle cap in your favorite bright patterns.

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Add flair to page dividers

washi dividers
Ms. Houser

Of all the school supplies, page dividers are some of the most forgettable. Once we attach them to our binders, we ignore them for the rest of the year. With colorful washi tape, however, you can brighten up those dull dividers in minutes. Slip the white tab out of the divider’s plastic sleeve, wrap the tab in patterned washi tape, and write a label using a colored Sharpie. When you feel like refreshing your binder’s look, just cover the tab in a new pattern!

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Personalize your notebook

personalized notebook

Traditional marble-covered composition books are so common that it’s easy to mix up your notes with someone else’s. This year, stand out from the crowd by creating your own personalized notebook. Glue patterned paper to the front and back of a composition book, trimming the edges to keep it neat. Then, add a handy pocket by cutting colored paper at an angle and attaching it to the front cover of the notebook. Use alphabet stickers (or a friend with pretty handwriting) to spell out your name and the class title on the front cover.

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Upgrade your push pins

pom pom push pins
All Put Together

Turn your bulletin board into a chic display by dressing up plain metal thumb tacks with pom poms. Apply a tiny dot of hot glue to each mini pom pom, then press them onto the tacks to dry.  If pom poms aren’t your style, whip out that glue gun and let your imagination run wild. Buttons, plastic gemstones, silk flowers – the options are endless!

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Design a rainbow watercolor backpack

rainbow backpack

Turn a plain white backpack into a work of art using fabric markers and water.  Cover the backpack with colorful scribbles, then spritz it with water to make the colors bleed together. Once all the colors mix and the bag dries, you’ll be able to display your watercolor masterpiece on your back every day.  

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Make an upcycled pencil pouch

pencil pouch

No one will believe what you used to create this pencil case. With felt, cardboard, glue, and a zipper, transform a pair of toilet paper rolls into a one-of-a-kind pouch. If you carry a lot of writing instruments, make more than one case and use them to organize pens, pencils, and markers separately. There’s no better way to recycle. 

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Your Citation
Valdes, Olivia. "8 DIY Ideas for Back to School." ThoughtCo, Oct. 29, 2020, thoughtco.com/back-to-school-diy-4147721. Valdes, Olivia. (2020, October 29). 8 DIY Ideas for Back to School. Retrieved from https://www.thoughtco.com/back-to-school-diy-4147721 Valdes, Olivia. "8 DIY Ideas for Back to School." ThoughtCo. https://www.thoughtco.com/back-to-school-diy-4147721 (accessed March 31, 2023).