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Best & Worst DIY Gift Ideas for Teachers, from Real Teachers

I looked through forums where real teachers shared the best and worst gifts they’ve received. I’m sharing my favorite answers to help you figure out what DIY gifts to make for your teacher or child’s teacher.

These small DIY presents are a great way to say thank you at the end of the school year, or as Christmas holiday gifts.

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diy gift ideas for teachers

Contents list:

  1. Handmade thank you card
  2. Canvas bag for taking home paperwork
  3. Zipper pouches / hampers full of stationery
  4. Homemade sweets
  5. Gifts to avoid

A personal thank you card

diy teacher cards made by children
Featured: Good to Know, The Mad House, Red Ted Art, and Hello Wonderful.

What teachers think about this gift:

“I’m a primary school teacher and a hand made card is always appreciated, particularly if it contains a message from both parent and child.” (source)

“I am a teacher in a primary school and one of the greatest gifts I received was a hand made thank you card that the child and parent had written in. The parent thanked me for working with her child and told me that she now enjoys maths. The child wrote about a particular part of the year that she had enjoyed. It made my day and I still have the card.” (source)

“…best of all would be a letter of thanks from you. I have kept all such letters I received over 30+ years of teaching.” (source)

Tutorials:

Here’s how Good To Know made the ladybird fingerprint cards:

The Mad House also has a tutorial on how to make fingerprint cards.

The 3D pop-up unicorn card is by Red Ted Art. She has a video tutorial showing you how to make it.

The flower stamp cards tutorial is by Hello Wonderful.


Canvas tote bag for taking home paperwork

4 large, colorful tote bags with gussets
Featured: Falcon, Nin Jaya, and In Color Order.

Teachers are always lugging piles of notebooks and papers to mark. An extra-large tote bag is ideal for this. I recommend choosing a design with a wide gusset, so they can fit more inside the bag.

What teachers think about this gift:

“As a parent and teacher the best [gifts] that I have given or received are… Canvas bag to carry marking home, personalised and decorated with fabric paint and pens… and [choose] one with a gusset.” (source)

Tutorials:

In Color Order, who made the colorful triangle bag in the picture, has a sewing pattern ($9) and step-by-step tutorial.

Here’s how to sew a large, unlined tote bag:


Pouches/hampers full of stationery

stationery in a hamper and zipper pouch gifts
Featured: Paperchase stationery, ZoeEdenWeddings, and PROSERPIN.

Teachers always seem to be running out of stationery. Buying some top-up supplies and putting it together in a hamper is a really practical gift.

You can also sew some simple zip pouches for them to store the stationery in. I recommend making the box types because they’re roomier.

What teachers think about this gift:

“As a parent and teacher the best [gifts] that I have given or received are…Pens, stickers, funky post-it notes.” (source)

“[my teacher husband] gets through a bazillion post-it notes, and gets excited by nice ones…” (source)

“…I send in a communal basket, last year I filled it with some snazzy pens [from] the £1 shop…, some memo pads in funky colours, then packs of biscuits and retro sweets, looked very colourful and good, had all the teachers thanking me as it was something slightly different.” (source)

Tutorials:


Homemade sweets

chocolate brownies and cupcakes
Featured: Sainsbury recipes.

What teachers think about this gift:

“When my sons were in primary school I used to make a big tin of homemade cakes and biscuits and put it in the staff room for the staff to share. I found that brownies went down really well…” (source)

“A big box of something for the staffroom well before the end of term so that they get scoffed without wastage is good.” (source)

“…last year [my sister] made cupcakes and my nephew decorated them to look like each teacher (he was 6) they made one for the teacher and one each for the teaching assistants, and it seems they were very well received.” (source)

cupcakes with peoples faces on them in icing
These face cupcakes are from blogger Domestic Goddess.

Tutorials:

Sainsbury has tutorials for the chocolate cupcakes and brownies pictured above.


Gifts to avoid

‘Best teacher’ items

“My hubby is a teacher. Every gift he gets is gratefully received however I have to say over the years we have received more “best teacher” items (eg cups, keyrings) than he knows what to do with so I would avoid them.” (source)

Bathroom lotions & gels

“Please avoid lotions, shower gels, etc as you cannot know what they like or might be allergic to. Same goes for scented candles.” (source)



Sources

diabetes.co.uk. ‘Teacher gift ideas?’. [online] Available at: https://www.diabetes.co.uk/forum/threads/teacher-gift-ideas.79447/ [published: 2015]

mumsnet.com. ‘calling all teachers what gifts do you love?’. [online] Available at: https://www.mumsnet.com/Talk/primary/1791187-calling-all-teachers-what-gifts-do-you-love [published: 2013]

forums.moneysavingexpert.com. ‘Teacher gifts x 10!! Ideas please’. [online] Available at: https://forums.moneysavingexpert.com/discussion/3355996/teacher-gifts-x-10-ideas-please [published: 2011]