5 Simple and Affordable DIY Teacher Gift Ideas

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Teaching is far from a simple task. It may be one of the most difficult professions on the planet. At certain times throughout the year, rewarding those who do this noble work is paramount in showing them just how much we appreciate their time and effort with students. No matter what grade a child is in, their teacher works hard to give them the best education possible. When trying to sort through the best teacher gift ideas, don’t just settle on knick-knacks or something your teacher won’t find very useful. Opt for DIY projects that are both practical and meaningful.

In our experience, the best teacher gift ideas are the ones that show that you’re willing to go the extra mile to show your appreciation. Below, we’ve rounded up the best teacher gift ideas for your family. Whether you want to give something special for back-to-school or show appreciation around the holidays, these gifts make the perfect solution if you’re looking for something that will really wow the educator in your life. Each of these DIY projects is intended for those without a full range of experience with crafting. Anyone can accomplish these projects with ease. No special skills or crazy materials are required.

Top 5 DIY Best Teacher Gift Ideas

1. DIY Pencil Vase

Throughout the school year, teachers often run low on number two pencils. Rather than simply giving the teacher in your life a box of pencils, this gift plays double duty. A DIY pencil vase is equal parts practical and thoughtful. This is a simple DIY gift idea that your child’s teacher will love. Without any messy hot glue guns, the little ones can also lend a hand in creating something special for the teacher in their lives. As a bonus, any leftover pencils or materials can be put to good use on other at-home craft projects.

Here’s what you need to get started:


To create this epic teacher gift idea, start by cleaning and drying your glass bottles. Then carefully apply double-sided tape to both ends of the glass jar or bottle. Start by laying one pencil onto the bottle. The eraser should be pointing towards the top. Press the pencil against the tape until it sticks securely. Continue adding pencils around the bottle. At about the halfway point, put a rubber band around the middle to keep the pencils in place. Keep adding pencils until the bottle is covered.

Choose a washi tape color that you enjoy and tape one end of the pencil vase. Then add a band of tape to the opposite end. Remove the rubber band from the middle and voila! You’ve got a one of a kind vase that any teacher would proudly place upon their desk. Add either fake or fresh flowers, and you’re all set. You can give the vase on its own or choose to add on a gift card to their favorite coffee chain or even an office supply shop.

2. Terracotta Apple Candy Dish

There’s no question that teachers go through it all in a day. Why not reward the teacher in your child’s life with a little something sweet? Rather than just giving a simple bag of chocolates, whip up this terracotta apple candy dish. It is a simple homemade gift that shows just how much you care. As one of the best teacher gift ideas, this is one you can repeat year after year.

Here’s what you’ll need to get started:


Start by wiping down your pot and letting it dry thoroughly. With a medium-sized craft paintbrush, go ahead and paint both your pot and saucer red. You may need two coats for a beautiful glossy finish. While your pot dries, cut the eraser end off of one of your pencils with a knife or a very sharp pair of scissors. Now cut your green felt into a small leaf shape with your scissors. This will form the stem of the apple on the saucer. With your hot glue gun, add a small dot of glue at the center of each leaf and pinch to make the leaf seem more dimensional. Use glue to attach the pencil and leaves to the saucer. Fill it up with candy, and you’re ready to go!

What makes this DIY practical is that your teacher can reuse the dish and fill it with their favorite candies year after year. Whenever they pull it out for a new school year, they’ll immediately think of your child and how much they’re appreciated. Additionally, this little vessel can serve double duty. If a teacher isn’t fond of the sweet stuff, they can also choose to fill the apple pot with school supplies, rubber bands, or anything else they may need easy access to throughout the day.

3. Scrabble Name Plate

Want to give your teacher one of the best gift ideas that keep on giving year after year? This is a DIY that will find a spot on your teacher’s desk long after your child has gone on to a new grade. This simple DIY gift idea is easy; all you need is a few necessary supplies and a hot glue gun. Your child will also have fun helping you craft this great gift.

Here’s what you need to get started:


With your letter tiles, line up your teacher’s name on the letter tile holders. Place a decorative wooden button in the design of your choice in the space where the punctuation mark would go in the teacher’s name. For example, if your teacher’s name were Mrs. Holden, you would place the button right after the “S” in “Mrs.” Feel free to stack letters or glue two tile holders together if your teacher has a very long name. Once you have everything laid out, put a dot of hot glue on the bottom and center of each tile/decorative button. Let dry and make sure each is firmly in place. Once each letter is secured to the holder, you’re all set! Now you can give a great teacher gift that can be reused year after year.

One thing we love about this DIY is that it is also a great practice in spelling for younger elementary students. As you assemble the gift, please have your child attempt to line up the letters to spell their teacher’s name. If they get bored during the project, they can also use leftover letters to spell their name or the names of their classmates. This would also make a great gift for little friends or even family members.

4. Teacher Survival Kit

Now more than ever, teachers could use a helping in hand in surviving the school year. Putting together a thoughtful DIY teacher survival kit won’t just earn you high grades. It will bring your teacher some much-needed peace of mind. As a bonus, any items you don’t use for your kit will come into use in your own home, backpack, or car. The best teacher gift ideas should be thoughtful yet practical. You always want to create and give gifts that show just how much you appreciate the hard work your teacher puts in day in and day out.

Here’s what you need to get started:


The best part about this DIY is that it involves very little in the way of actual crafting. If you’re short on time or don’t want to mess with paint or glue, this is the teacher gift idea for you. To get started, take your metal bucket and tie a nice piece of craft ribbon around the top in a bow. Choose any color you’d like or one that you think would best suit the teacher’s personality. From there, stuff a piece of tissue paper into the bottom of the bucket.

Place your tissues, sanitizing items, and lip balm into the bucket. On your computer, type up a gift tag that says “Teacher Survival Kit” and a brief thank you. Make sure what you write will fit onto a large gift tag. Print your message out on your cardstock color of choice, cut, and attach to your bucket with leftover ribbon. Just like that, you’ve got a meaningful DIY teacher gift that goes the extra mile. Odds are, your teacher will reach for the supplies in this bucket day after day. Once empty, they can choose to refill it themselves and have a little station at their desk with all of the sanitary essentials. We think this is one of the best teacher gift ideas for that very reason. Now more than ever, having a handle on personal care is paramount.

5. Tea Tumbler DIY

Teaching throughout the day can cause any educator’s throat to go a bit dry. That’s why many will reach for some hot tea or water to help keep things from going a bit scratchy. An easy DIY that doesn’t require any special tools or gluing is a tea-riffic teacher gift using a simple reusable plastic coffee tumbler, some tea, and a little bit of thought. We think this is one of the best teacher gift ideas because it is practical, affordable, and reusable.

Here’s what you need to get started:


This DIY is all about the assembly. It is pretty much as straightforward and simple as teacher gift ideas come. Start by thoroughly washing and drying your coffee tumbler. Add some crinkle paper into the cup part of the vessel until it reaches about two-thirds of the way up. Once your crinkle paper is in place, add an assortment of tea bags into the cup.

If your teacher is a known coffee drinker, you can also add some instant coffee packets. Once you’ve placed your teabags, screw the lid back on the cup. Cut a piece of satin ribbon and tie a neat bow around the straw right at the base of the lid. Take a piece of card stock and cut it out in the shape of a teabag. Here’s where you can thank the teacher in your life for being so tea-riffic!

Should you want to go the extra mile in terms of gift add-ons, this makes a perfect vessel for a gift card to someplace like Starbucks or Dunkin Donuts. Of course, in our opinion, the cup and nice tea assortment are likely more than enough.

Final Thoughts

Teaching is one of the most challenging and noble professions. Letting your teacher know you care through a thoughtful DIY gift or a gift card is a simple extension of gratitude that goes a long way. You don’t have to spend a fortune or get a flash gift to make a mark. All you need to do is utilize a bit of creativity and plenty of DIY grit to create a gift that will make an impression year after year. Remember, skip useless or generic gifts like candles or knick-knacks. Opt for teacher gifts that not so subtly say, “Thank you for a job well done!”

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