12 DIY gifts to make for Teacher Appreciation Week
They're better than an apple.
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Teachers work hard to provide the best classroom and experience for their students all year long (yes, even during summer vacation!). They deserve recognition and thanks regularly, but especially during Teacher Appreciation Week. Sure, you could give them an apple, but you could also make your own DIY gift with a bit more personality and creative flair.
There are DIY projects for all ages and all amounts of effort. The teachers in your life will cherish the homemade items and the memories with the students who gift them. We've rounded up some of the best DIY endeavors to make your teacher smile.
1. Cards you can design and print yourself
If you’re already thinking about DIY-ing gifts (especially in addition to any teacher thank-yous), you’d probably love having a Cricut. The machine can help you make your designs come to life in so many different formats: paper crafts, vinyl artwork, embroidery, and more. If you already have a Cricut machine, then it’ll be super easy to make cards for the teachers in your (or your child’s) life. You can layer stencils and stickers or go with a polished foil look; either way, a unique card is always appreciated.
2. A tote for practically everything
Teachers spend a lot of their time and money making sure classrooms are stocked with supplies and inspiration. This customizable tote from Minted is the perfect gift to give to the teacher who always has things on hand. They can use the (massive) tote to store classroom toys or supplies or keep it for personal use when they’re taking student work home to grade at night. The tote comes in plenty of colorful and classic patterns, so you’re sure to find one your teacher will love.
3. This macramé for plant-lovers
My roommate is a fifth-grade teacher, and when I asked what she liked to get from students she answered plants and painted-on pots. However, plants can be hard to transfer to school due to bus rides, jostling backpacks, and clumsy kiddos! Instead of ending up with cracked terracotta and split soil, try making a DIY plant hanger instead. The DIY macramé kit is affordable and easy and has a 4.4-star rating on Amazon. The kit comes with a macramé cord, a metal ring, four wooden beads, and instructions so anyone can follow along.
4. A kit to knit from scratch
Knitting is a popular pastime, and anyone can enjoy the craft, even kids! Making something by hand while also learning a new skill can be fun and just as rewarding for the gift giver as the gift receiver. This sock knitting kit has a 5-star rating on Etsy and has everything needed for a knitting novice: needles, yarn, a pattern to follow, and instructions. I’m sure any teacher would love the end product, especially all the care that goes into making the socks.
5. A kit of rhinestones and bedazzling tools
One of my shiniest childhood memories is that of bedazzling things around the house. I loved to add rhinestones to frames, hats, refrigerator magnets, binders, and several pieces of furniture that were better off without rhinestones. I think DIY-ing a bedazzled tote bag, picture frame, or planter would be a fun and creative way to say thank you to a teacher who makes you feel like you shine. This 4.6-star rated kit from Amazon has more than 3,000 glowing reviews and comes with everything you need to get started: rhinestones, applicator tips, wire brushes, and more.
6. Plant a thank you in this DIY Terrarium
Work in some sensory crafting with a DIY kit from The Sill. The glass terrarium comes along with six assorted succulents, bags of cacti mix, lava rocks, and sand that you can combine however you like to make a desert-inspired plant-scape. The succulents are easy to care for since they don’t need to be watered too often, and the terrarium could even become part of the classroom!
7. A bowl of delicious homemade granola
A quick and easy gift to give is homemade granola. I found the idea by watching Jules Acree’s low-waste sustainable gifts video during the holidays last year. In the video, she explains how simple granola is to make—only a few steps and about 20 minutes in the oven. You can customize the flavors as you like, so you can make a batch of cinnamon and nutmeg and another that you later mix with dried fruit or nuts. You can package the granola in a leftover jar or mason jar and tie it with a ribbon for a heartwarming gift.
- Get the Quaker Oats, Old Fashioned Oatmeal from Walmart for $3.88
- Get the Planters Deluxe Lightly Salted Mixed Nuts from Walmart for $8.69
8. This kit for making friendship bracelets
My friend makes the most adorable and happy jewelry, and I think there’s a lot to love about homemade jewelry. You can make things that include your favorite colors, that spell your name, or that feature your favorite animals or icons. Gifting jewelry is thoughtful because you made it yourself and someone gets to wear it and think of you. You can also use a bead kit like this one, which has a 4.7-star rating on Amazon, to make door tassels, backpack charms, and lanyard jewelry.
9. A candle to make the classroom smell great
Instead of gifting just any candle, make one of your own. This DIY kit from Urban Outfitters includes wax, crystal-lidded tins, and herbs and fragrance oils that you can combine to create unique scents. The 4.5-star rated kit from Urban Outfitters makes two candles, so you can gift both or keep one for yourself. In addition to the items in the kit, you can search your home for good-smelling things like coffee beans, essential oils, or flower petals to add a personal touch.
10. A book to remember you by
Some years are extra memorable. If you’re one who has a lot of photos from the past year then a photo book is a great way to share the memories. Teachers don’t often get copies of the photos parents and friends take during recitals, science fairs, class activities, and field trips. A mini photo book like this 4.3-star rated one from Artifact Uprising is a wonderful way to bring the class together and share the students’ memories with the teacher in a long-lasting way. The photo book will be even better if you reach out to other students and parents for their images too!
11. A kit to punch needle your favorite scene
If you aren’t ready to learn crochet or knitting, punch needling is a great craft for you! It’s a beginner-friendly craft that makes colorful fiber art. You can select from 24 patterns—including owls, unicorns, leaves, landscapes, and flowers—and then work at your own pace. The 5-star rated kit from Etsy includes all the materials you’ll need to make your artwork, along with step-by-step instructions and a stitch guide. The total time to finish the piece will vary depending on your skill level, but it can certainly be completed in a few days if you’re in a pinch.
12. Create whimsical designs with Perler beads
Some of my favorite crafts as a kid were made with Perler beads. The beads fuse together when baked in the oven or ironed, so you can create any shape or design. I remember making a red bird that we later glued a magnet on and used on the fridge for at least a decade before it began to lose its wing. Perler beads are such a fun way to make a design that speaks to you, and can then turn your creation into a magnet, sun-catcher, or 3D sign to gift. I recommend making a prototype before your final design to get a feel for how the beads change shape as they’re heated.
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