Two back-to-school teacher’s gifts (or maybe they’re for you!)

You can tell it’s back to school time at my house, with growing piles of supplies, paperwork, and a packed calendar. I’m always looking for ways to keep it all organized, like this Pencil Photo Cube and Memo Minder. Wrapped ‘round with bright yellow pencils, you can’t miss it – or the reminders it holds. Here’s a hint – these make great teacher’s gifts, too (you can buy packs of pencils at the dollar store). I’m sharing another idea for a teacher’s gift, too – a real cutie made with crayons.

easy back-to-school teacher's gifts

Pencil Photo Cube & Memo Minder by Kathleen George.

Check out the little legs made from erasers!

To make a Pencil Photo Cube & Memo Minder, you’ll need:

  • STYROFOAM™ Brand Foam: 5” cube*
  • 72 pencils with erasers
  • 4 pencil erasers
  • 8 large paper clips
  • Scrapbooking paper
  • Heavy-gauge, plastic coated wire, 12”
  • Yes! Paste or other paper paste
  • Low-temp glue gun
  • Tools needed: Coping saw with new blade OR small power saw, 1” putty knife, Exacto® knife or utility knife, masking tape, jewelry pliers

(*Note: In case you’re counting the number of pencils in the photo, I’ve changed a few measurements. Kathleen designed her Pencil Cube with a 4” cube of STYROFOAM Brand Foam, but because that size is hard to find, I’ve substituted a 5” cube. I also increased the number of pencils, so you can cover the larger size.)

To make a Pencil Photo Cube & Memo Holder:

1. Measuring from the eraser end, cut 68 pencils to 5” length with your coping saw or power saw. Do not try to cut the pencils with scissors or the utility knife. Cut four pencils to 6” length.

2. Cut out a 5-½” square of scrapbooking paper for the top of the cube. Score ¼” along each edge and clip the corners.

3. Spread a thin layer of Yes! Paste over the top of the cube using a 1” putty knife. Smooth the 5” square of paper over top and paste the extra ¼” down onto the sides of the cube.

4. Use a strong white glue to attach 16 – 17 pencils, eraser ends up, to each side of the cube. Wrap masking tape tightly around the cube to hold the pencils in place while glue dries. After the glue is dry, very gently remove the masking tape.

5. Sharpen the four, 6” pencils and glue one to each corner, point side up.

6. Glue a pencil eraser onto each bottom corner of the cube.

7. On the top of the cube, make a tiny slit through the paper diagonally across each corner using the Xacto knife. Push a large paper clip through the slit and into the cube; repeat for each corner slit. Insert a second paper clip back to back with the first. Photos and notes are displayed by inserting them between the clips.

8. Using jewelry pliers, curl the end of the 12” length of wire into a spiral circle. Insert the other end into the center of the cube.

Here’s another way to brighten a teacher’s desk – the Colorful Crayon Arrangement. You wrap the 5” foam cube with scrapbook papers and crayons, and add a bouquet of everlasting blooms. I’ve linked to the tutorial, so check it out.

back-to-school teacher's gift ideas to decorate her desk

Colorful Crayon Arrangement by Diane Flowers.

Thinking ahead (which I like to do), how great would it be to make these now for holiday teacher’s gifts? That’s one more gift you won’t have to buy right before the holidays, and a little less scrambling around. I’m all for that!

Be sure check out the Welcome-Back-to-School Wreath I shared yesterday, too.

So, please share – what are you making this weekend? Have a good one!

Happy crafting.


This entry was posted in Craft Tutorial, Fall Crafts, Flower Designs, Gift Ideas, Home Decor and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Two back-to-school teacher’s gifts (or maybe they’re for you!)

  1. Clauda Thompson says:

    As a vetern, retired high school teacher, I love the idea. However, I am concerned that the sharpen tip of the pencils would cause a problem for high school students; I feel sure the other grade level students would have a problem also While the shapened tip looks great, I think a blunt tip would be better..Love the idea of the erasers for feet!!

  2. Love this, Sharon. Will have to put it on my ‘I’m going to try do someday list’ as I keep finding too many things to try on this blog:)

  3. Katiria says:

    What a great idea! Thanks for the inspiration

  4. Lisa M says:

    What fun ideas. My 2nd gtader would love to make one. Great idea for holidays. 🙂
    Wish I was crafting this weekend but it’s volkeyballl season.

    • Sharon says:

      I know, Lisa. I have a short list of projects for the weekend, and we’ll see if I can squeeze them in. One is a Halloween project I really want to share here, so it’s moving up on the list. Enjoy your weekend.

  5. Andrea Parker says:

    Great idea! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

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