arts and crafts supplies

7 DIY Back to School Projects to Help Save Money

Setting your kids up for success in school involves big decisions like finding the right school for them and juggling their after-school programs with classes and family time. But there are little needs along the way, too: like school supplies to make sure that your kid is ready to take on the school day.

Back to school shopping list can easily grow out of control–backpacks, shoes, clothes, crayons, pens, notebooks and more. Theses costs can add up. For some families, this means being on the lookout for back to school savings.

Doing more DIY projects instead of buying new supplies could potentially reduce the money you spend on back to school purchases and also instill good money habits in your kids. Projects like these can help kids see that many materials can be given new life with the right creative project.

Choosing a few DIY projects can seem like an obvious option on the list of back to school money saving tips, but it can also be a fun one. Here are a few projects that you can start with, in preparation for a new school year or as a way to add more items to your kid’s current school supplies. From notebooks to snack pouches, these projects can save you money and also entertain your kids as part of a family activity.

Reusing Materials

As a family unit, it can be important to find creative ways to save money. There are plenty of objects you can find around the house that can be used as school supplies or even fun accessories for kids to carry in their backpacks every day.

For example, HelloGiggles suggests taking an old, round lip balm container and repurposing it into an adorable cat eraser. For this DIY project, you’ll need materials like eraser clay, your lip balm container, a scraping tool, permanent oil-based markers, polymer clay, parchment paper, and permanent glue. Get the family together and have fun with decorating the outside of the erasers with adorable cat faces.

Find other items around the house that might make sense as a creative project when used together. For example, any watercolor or acrylic paint around the house can serve as a way to give a new look to simple school supplies. This watercolor notebook project from Alice & Lois is relatively easy to do and can encourage kids to experiment with their favorite colors. Consider creating planners from scratch instead of buying pre-made ones.

Plenty of blogs offer tutorials and even printable parts, so that you can put everything together using binders or folders you already have at home. Set up a table with stickers, markers, and other decorations and encourage kids to decorate the pages however they want.

Staying organized is important for both parents and kids. Find fun ways to keep things in one place. Consider using colorful felt and a sewing machine to create cute yet practical items like this snack pouch by A Beautiful Mess .

Simple Yet Fun Projects

Fabric markers can be used to create a unique design on blank canvases of different shapes and sizes. Take for example this fun DIY tote bag project featured on JOANN .

You can use fabric markers, a canvas tote, erasable marker, ruler, cardstock, and scissors to create a chic and eye-catching geometric tote bag. Kids can use this bag to store their books or pack snacks and clothing for sports and after-school activities.

And because parents naturally love to document the big moments in kids’ lives, this poster board frame DIY is fun and also fitting. Get kids excited about their first day by involving them in the designing and coloring process.

The materials you’ll need are 1 foam core board, designer letters, an X-ACTO Knife and blades (for adult use only, of course), 1 sheet of cardstock paper in your kid’s favorite color, 1 sheet of black cardstock paper, a large clear grid ruler, a pencil, paper, scissors, rubber cement, hot glue, and a glue gun (also for adult use). You can find the full instructions here .

A big part of the school day is when kids get together for lunch to chat about classes and snack on what they’ve packed. Another fun DIY project is finding a unique fabric that your kid really loves and using it as the basis for a handmade lunch bag.

This DIY lunch bag by Crazy Little Projects , for example, gives you a step-by-step guide on how to make a lunch bag using fabric, thermal interfacing, and a small strip of Velcro. The project proves that even a few supplies can go a long way. And your kid will now have a unique and fun lunch bag to show off to friends.

If your kid still takes naps at school, try making your own nap mat. This DIY nap mat by Pretty Prudent uses pre-washed fabric as its base. Again, you can have fun with choosing the fabric design and color. The mat also includes a shoulder strap, making it easy to transport from home to school and back again.

An Education in Money Habits

These projects are also a great memento for kids as well—each time they use the items they’ll remember the process of making it. According to PBS NewsHour , kids can understand basic money concepts as young as three years old. What’s more, kids start to develop their own money habits at around age seven.

Making these DIY projects can help instill a sense of creativity when it comes to everyday items; instead of going out to buy certain things, they might be inclined to take on a DIY project and potentially save money instead.
Consider sharing these back to school savings tips with other parents and even hosting a DIY making party to get the kids excited about the activity. Most of all—have fun with the projects and encourage your kids to get creative!

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