Creative Back to School Gifts

September 6, 2011    |    By +
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Back to School shopping is all about stocking up on the basics: supplies, fall apparel and accessories, but why not think outside of the “lunch box” this season? Make some Back to School memories of your own with homemade gifts you can create from what you have at home.

Make a Shadowbox Frame

Make your own DIY keepsake with a Back to School themed shadowbox frame.

Fill it with their favorite photos, books, small toys, and other scrapbooking materials to make a first day of school keepsake they can get excited about.

You can also stuff other containers like empty jars for a similar effect. It’s the perfect solution for those “first day of school” jitters.

DIY Coloring Books

Kids love to color. Make an easy custom coloring book using your own snapshots and basic photo editing. All you need is non-photo printer paper, crayons, colored pencils, etc and a basic photo editing software.

In Photoshop, open up your photo and go to the “Filters” tab, then select “Sketch” then “Photocopy”. Make sure you’re using Black and White as the contrasting colors. You can play around with how detailed you want it to be, and the contrast.

Then simply print it out for instant coloring pages. It’s a great way to display first day of school portraits.


Start a New Tradition: Back to School Cone

In Germany, kids receive a cone filled with school supplies and treats called a “Schultüte”. You can make your own version at home, using some sturdy construction paper, and some stickers and glitter to personalize it with your child’s name.

Fill it with school staples like crayons and cute erasers along with some candy or homemade treats.

Printables &  Stickers

Seasonal printables are a good way to kick-start any craft project. It’s easy to find free downloads you can print and stick to cards, notepads and lunch boxes.

Keep track of your child’s Back to School gear with DIY labels and stickers. All you need is some printer ready label paper and you can either design your own using clip art, or buy blank labels and decorate them with stamps and pens. It makes organization fun and easy.


Photo courtesy of: Martha Stewart Living

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Meet the Gurus

Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.