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Crafting Things for the Classroom

Photo by Andie712b (flickr.com)

Sometimes it is cheaper and easier to make things for your classroom than buying them pre-made. That is especially true of all the “extras” that you would love to have. Today, we have gathered some of the best patterns and tutorials on the Web for things that you can make for your classroom. If you decide to make any of them, take a picture and send it to us! We would love to see how you have been inspired.

Book Nook

There is nothing like a cozy classroom library to make students want to curl up with a new book. This fall, decorate your book nook with some cozy pillows, comfortable throw rugs, and a pair of clever bookends.

Square Tufted Floor Pillows – These floor cushions are comfortable and just beckon children to come and read.  Free pattern with excellent measurements and directions!

Crocheted Washable Floor Rug – Need a quick floor covering that is easy to wash?  Well, break out that crochet hook and get started on this durable, machine washable, throw rug that can be done in any color variation to coordinate with your classroom.   Not sure how to get started crocheting?  Check out this tutorial that we posted in May to learn how.

Dinosaur Bookends – What fun these dinosaur bookends would be in a classroom!  Give your woodworking husband, brother or father something to do this week and ask him to cut out the patterns for this simple craft.  If there are no woodworkers in your family, ask the store where you buy the wood to cut it in appropriate size lengths and just draw the dinosaur on instead of cutting him out.

Conquering Clutter

Photo by Horia Varlan (flickr.com)

When you are not sure how you will ever find a pencil, because your desk is buried in papers, books and what-nots, it is time to tame the chaos and get your desk under control.  Thankfully, we found some perfect crafts to help you get a handle on the mess that is also known as your desk.

Desk Organizer – Yes, this craft is geared toward children, but take a look at it.  It is easy to do and will help you keep your pens, markers, and scissors together and easily accessible.  Grab some tubes and you will be done in under an hour!

Supply Carousel – If your supplies are a bit more substantial and the desk organizer just will not work, try this giant supply carousel that it sure to hold everything you need.

Paper Tray Holder – Turn an old serving tray into a paper holder on your desk.  Check out this clever and simple craft to create a new spot for homework collection, papers that need to be graded or items that need to go home.

And finally, a supply that is great to use in the classroom, especially for arts and crafts, is a rubber stamp.  Unfortunately, they can be so cost prohibitive that few teachers actually use them.  This year, stock up on erasers during the back-to-school sales and make your own.  This musical YouTube video will show you how!

Eraser Stamps – This video shows you how to make your own rubber stamp using a white eraser.

What do you make for your classroom?

Is there a pattern or tutorial that you would like to share?

Let us know!  We’d love to have you as a guest author to share your ideas!


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31 comments
Cindy Long
Cindy Long

I make chair pockets for my classroom about every 4 years. I created a pocket pattern specific to the dimensions of my classroom chairs. I then enlist the help of willing parents. We also make a quilt of each class - the children draw their portrait using fabric pens on a square of white cloth. They sign their name and then I sew them together to form a classroom banner.

Shannon
Shannon

Thanks for the floor pillows pattern link! Have thought about buying a pattern but now there's no need. These will work great in my library reading center! Thanks a bunch!

Cheryl Ener
Cheryl Ener

What great ideas! Thank you!!! I would love to give some of them a try and I think my own children might even want to help! :)

Jen
Jen

I find that I make most of my decorations for my classroom. I have made my job chart (fish for the jobs/bubbles for the kids), my birthday bulletin board (12 fish bowls and each kid gets a fish), bulletin board accents (make an overhead transparency of clip art, shine it on bulletin board paper and trace, then color). I haven't made any desk or paper organizers, but I really like the ideas. My favorite from this post was the rubber stamps. They are so costly. I may try to make some ABC stamps from erasers this year.

Jennifer Gorrell
Jennifer Gorrell

the desk organizer is something that i am really going to try to do...what a great idea!

DeShawn Scott
DeShawn Scott

Thanks for sharing these ideas. It's great to be able to use on-hand supplies. As you well know, teacher's need to save wherever they can!

rebecca
rebecca

I love the idea of the rug--my third graders are so happy to have fun areas to sit throughout the room. I have a bunch of extra yarn in my basement, so maybe I'll use it up! Also I like to have the kids help make bulletin boards. If we need a header that says "Folktales Around The World," for example, I will give each child a square of interesting paper and assign each child a letter to cut out of the paper. Then it's a big collective effort to get the letters arranged on the bulletin board the right way, but it (usually!) turns out super cute and the kids get more invested in the display.

Jeannette Erickson
Jeannette Erickson

Sometimes it's a trade-off between the time spent on a crafty project and the money required to buy what I need ready made. One project that has really paid off is my "college-style" book case--you know, the one with the boards and cinder blocks? I painted my boards a nice happy red, put them on the cinder blocks, and instant book case! It holds all my leveled book baskets in my classroom library, and was much cheaper than a purchased book case.

Dale Abraham
Dale Abraham

I let the students make a "pencil holder" to keep on their desk. They use either a cut off plastic water bottle or a short can. This is wrapped with yarn by gluing it onto the container. They love using the yarn that is mulicolored. It's a great Friday afernoon art project and I usually corrilate it with our lessons about recycling!

Megan
Megan

I love the dinosaur bookends! Even though I like to make many of my own things, I have to keep in mind, "Will spending a little extra money be worth saving my time?" I recently wanted colored clothespins, so I took some wood pins and painted them. It took fooooooorever! (And their still not done!) All of the extra steps involved that I didn't think about made it pretty much not worth it (sanding, one coat of paint, sanding, second coat of paint, sealing). Next time, I'll just buy new ones!

Brittney
Brittney

Laura- I love the idea of rain gutters to display books. We aren't allowed to drill into our walls. Any mounting suggestions?

Sharon
Sharon

I like the supply tray. I might use it on my own desk so that I have things within reach. I also like the stencil idea. These are some great ideas that I will try. I just have to find time to do them. I have made a jeopardy game board with poster board and library card holders. I have also made a job chart the same way. First I made each of them. Second, I laminated them. Once laminated I used an exacto knife to cut open the library pockets. It works great. For the job chart, I use index cards with their names on one side and on the other side, I write the date and the job they have been. This way I keep track of all the jobs they have had through out the year. I try to have each child be each job once.

Cara F
Cara F

I use the wooden boxes clementines come in. They can be painted/stenciled/left natural/whatever you want (may need to be lightly sanded). I use them to hold papers, art/craft supplies for art center, hold small reading books, whatever you can think of.

Karla
Karla

When I finish the afghan for my granddaughter, I'm trying the pattern for the rug. Thanks for the ideas.

Bobbie
Bobbie

I love these ideas! The paper tray is my favorite I think I am going to make one!

Missy Shanahan
Missy Shanahan

I really like the ideas for making the reading area more comfortable. My problem? We're discouraged from using rugs and pillows because of head lice issues. It's not been a problem in my room and I'd like to keep it that way. Any suggestions for "softening" the reading area that don't require rugs and pillows?

Andrea C.
Andrea C.

What fun to do a project for one's classroom! Thanks for the tutorial on stamp making with erasers. Interesting!

Kelly
Kelly

I always make things if I think I can physically do it and it's cheaper than store bought. I actually have bean bags in my library area that over the past 5 years have busted a seam or two. I went to the fabric store and basically created a giant drawstring purse to put the bean bag inside of. That way they're easy to take off and wash and I don't have bean bag filler all over my floor! When it comes to recycling, I always use old egg cartons as sorting trays for crafts! They're perfect even for when we do graham cracker houses and you have to sort out all the candies and decorative treats for the kids to grab. And not that I don't love having things like the Sharpened/Unsharpened pencil cans and organizers, but I've also used recycled soup cans and just covered them with either wallpaper or a patterned sticky paper for all sorts of uses: pencils, scissors, rulers, highlighters, etc. I think the biggest thing is time...sometimes it's just worth paying the money to have it already made for you :)

Annie Davis
Annie Davis

I love these ideas. As a first year teacher, it's good to know that I can cut corners on unique items. I love to make stuff anyway, but this entry gave me even more useful ideas! Thank you so much!

Amy
Amy

My mom made chair pockets for my room, and they are awesome! The pre-made ones are great, but expensive, so I went this route. I have round tables instead of desks in my 5th grade classroom, so these really help with storage. She made them 4 years ago, and each summer she makes repairs to the ones that need it. She is GREAT!

Denise Boehm
Denise Boehm

Our school theme next year is conservation. I think I'll have the kids bring in tp/pt rolls to make the desk organizers. Super cute, very relevant way to show them how to re-use/conserve materials you might otherwise throw away :)

Kathy Griffin
Kathy Griffin

I love the carousel idea!! I may have to adapt that so each table has their own!!

Laura
Laura

I haven't yet done this in my classroom, but I really think it's a great idea and plan to if possible once I get into my room for the fall. http://www.trelease-on-reading.com/oliver_2.html Using rain gutters to display books in your reading corner. Then the kids can see all the covers and find a book quickly. I thought about combining it with the practicality of book bins by giving each shelf a label...certain series, author, topic, etc. Now I just need to start looking for a deal on rain gutter on craigslist!

Meaghan
Meaghan

Some of these look fun to make...others maybe not worth the effort! Thanks all the same!

Kristina
Kristina

These are all wonderful ideas! I went overboard last year being a first year teacher and broke the bank, so this year I'm keeping a budget in mind and trying to be resourceful!! In first grade we use the pocket charts for behavior. There are four cards under the students name they flip if they misbehave. I made one instead of buying one! I used a piece of poster board and glued library pockets onto it. I then just laminated it and the pieces of construction paper I used to make the cards! Overall I spent $5 instead of $30!!! :)

Beth Ring
Beth Ring

I absolutely love the paper tray idea! It is such an easy project, but I would have never thought of it myself. Thanks for the wonderful ideas!

jamie
jamie

What great ideas to save some cash!!

Lyssa
Lyssa

I am currently painting a bench for my classroom. It cost so much less to paint one yourself than to buy one already made. I am not super crafty, but am really enjoying painting this wooden bench. It is relaxing and I know my kids will love it!

Cheryl s
Cheryl s

I like to let the students use the leftovers from paper that I cut out and make what they want! They come up with great ideas! I also like to create stencils by laminating construction paper and then cutting shapes out in the elison machine! Cheap easy stencils and then you can punch holes in the object and string it for fine motor!!

Debi White-Tippery
Debi White-Tippery

I LOVE the idea for desk organizer! I have been looking for a low cost something to use on my students' tables! What a great idea for the first week too! As soon as I get off the computer this morning I will make a model! I have all the ingredients since according to my husband,I save "absolutely everything"! Thank you!

Tasha
Tasha

Awesome!! Thank you so much for these tutorials!!