Hello! Elizabeth here, thrilled to be hosting my first regular week at Write.Click.Scrapbook. smack dab in the middle of back-to-school time. I have a long list of reasons why I love September; most of those reasons directly reflect my high nerdiness quotient (higher than average opportunities to wander around in the school supply section, excellent time to stock up on new Pilot pens, clean slates and brand-new notebooks...you get the picture). One of the most exciting parts of September, though, is that with all this back-to-a-new-routine business I also experience a surge of energy when it comes to making things—scrapbook pages, mini-albums, and miscellaneous projects to brighten up my world. Before I show you what I've been up to, you might want to print this and display in a prominent place:
If you click on the image, it will take you to the original source on Flickr; the designer made it with creative people in mind, so it's protected by a Creative Commons license which allows you to download it, print it, hang it up in your craft area—whatever, just don't sell it. Thought there might be a few people out there who would appreciate it!
Ready to make a few things? Good!
When I planned out my week here I originally wanted to include an inexpensive project or two that you could make with a sampling of school supplies + scrapbooking supplies you already have on hand. A few days later, I had four completed projects and ideas for even more... I think it's a good exercise in creativity to back away from the scrapbook table for a few days once in a while and look at your supplies with different eyes—though don't worry, we'll get back to the scrapbook table on Wednesday! Each of the following projects can be customized for the age/interests of people in your life, and can also be turned into very cool but inexpensive teacher gifts for the holidays (don't look now, but winter break is less than 100 days away).
School Supply Shadow Box
This quick little project is perfect for decorating a homework space, a homeschool classroom, or an elementary school classroom—and can be tailored to any age level depending on what you include. Total cost: approximately $15.
When I went looking for shadow boxes, I was immediately disappointed—I had just missed the sale the week before at Hobby Lobby, and black shadow boxes began at $24.99 for the smallest size. I didn't want to spend that much. But wait: what was that over there at the end of the aisle? The cheapie brown plastic variety of shadow box, relegated to the shadows of the fancy, expensive already-finished kind! For $12.99, I could spend 15 minutes with a paintbrush and some black acrylic paint I already had on hand. My 15 minutes is definitely worth $12 plus tax (or more). Special note: when you paint a cheapie brown plastic shadow box black, go ahead and run a little sand paper over it when it's dry—then no one will notice if the paint chips off a little, because it's distressed. Poor little cheapie brown plastic shadow box.
Next, collect some school supplies and rummage through your scrapbooking supplies to find a few school-themed items. I use Scenic Route lined notebook paper all the time so knew I wanted to use it as the foundation. I added some American Crafts rub-ons and a little piece of flair, and started to shuffle all the pieces around.
I used glue dots to adhere the lighter things and Scotch Heavy Duty Mounting Squares for the heavier items. The scissors fell off once, and I just added a little extra cut-up mounting squares.
Finished product. Makes you want to cut some paper and color it, doesn't it?
DIY Bulletin Board
Use up some of your ribbon—not that I'm accusing anyone of hoarding ribbon or anything—to create a custom bulletin board (or set of bulletin boards) that is cuter than what you might find at a big-box kids' decor company, and cheaper, too. Best for girls of all ages (and possibly baby boys. You probably won't be able to get away with this project for boys who can walk and/or talk. Total cost: approximately $2.00 and some snippets from your priceless ribbon collection.
When we moved this summer, my oldest daughter's large bulletin board no longer fit in her room—not enough wall space. After I callously took it away from her and gave it to daughter #2, I promised said daughter #1 that I would replace it with something just as fun. Behold:
OK, OK, so I'm the ribbon hoarder. But totally worth all those years of hoarding to achieve this, no?
I chose ribbon colors that coordinate with the colors in her sheets/quilt/rug. First, I put a strip of double-sided tape down on the edges of the cork tile, then I put the strips of ribbon randomly on top, cutting only a few pieces of ribbon at a time since I didn't know how many pieces I would need. Then it was time for another strip of double sided tape down (and yes, I was totally making up how I would do this as I went along):
Next I went back and looped the ribbon and stuck it down. When I was done, I decided the whole thing was a little too floppy, so I stuck a piece of 12 x 12 cardboard to sandwich the ribbon and make it a little sturdier. I rummaged through the toolbox in the garage for a picture hanger I could push into the cardboard (a sawtooth hanger works perfectly) and added a little chipboard girl figure I covered with a piece of scrap paper and a chipboard button. Ta-da! DIY bulletin board complete and ready for tacking up homework assignments, lists of library/P.E. days, and a few treasured photos of friends.
Customized Door Hanger
Here's another inexpensive project to usher in the new school year with style–and one you can easily make in less than a half an hour! Choose the message to reflect its owner: elementary, middle, high school, or college student, teacher, or even your best scrapbooking friend. Total cost: approximately $1.
I was wandering through Michael's recently with daughter #3 and found myself in the unfinished wood things section. I spotted a door hanger for $.89 and, still feeling a little guilty about the recent bulletin board appropriation, decided to make another little school-themed decoration for daughter #1. I really liked how it turned out:
I discovered that the door hangers are three inches wide, a perfect match for Cosmo Cricket Girl Friday Elements (though magically, paper cutters make any paper you choose a perfect match). With a little Making Memories and Imaginisce school-themed paper, this came together in about ten minutes, minus rub-on time. I know you're thinking: why would you put that much text in with rub-ons instead of printing it out on the computer? Answer: sometimes I just like doing things the long way. : )
Do you have an inexpensive project idea to organize or beautify the new school year? I'd love to see it in the Flickr gallery. Come back tomorrow for a few more of my projects, or wait until Wednesday when I share some fresh page ideas for documenting the back-to-school season. Either way, I'll be here! Thanks for reading on this last day of summer.