Back-to-School Crafts and Treats

Celebrate the beginning of the school year with this bevy of activities and ideas.

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Desk Organizer

Jeff Harris

Desk Organizer

Make sure your threaded needle can fit through the mesh. If not, use a smaller needle, and/or double the yarn to completely fill each hole.  

What You'll Need: Primer and spray paint (optional), metal mesh desk organizer, templates, yarn, tapestry needle, tacky glue

What To Do:

1. Prime and spraypaint the organizer if desired. Let dry.

2. Print and cut out templates. Arrange in a pattern and mark points on mesh.

3. Cut a 45-inch strand of yarn and thread the needle. Starting at the back left side of the diamond, insert the needle through to the front, leaving a 4-inch tail. Weave in and out of the mesh to match the diamond shape. Double-knot the ends in back. Trim close to the knot, and use tacky glue to secure the ends. Repeat with other yarn colors.

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Backpacks

Jeff Harris

Backpacks

If working on a dark backpack, you can use a white marking pencil. Or stitch directly over the paper pattern and carefully tear it away when finished.

What You'll Need: Templates, cardboard, pushpin, backpack. disappearing fabric pen, embroidery needle, embroidery floss, twill patches, Peel’n Stick Fabric Fuse

What To Do:

1. Print template and trim, leaving a ¼-inch border. 

2. Lay template on cardboard and use a pushpin to press through all the dots. 

3. Place the patterns as desired onto the backpack. Use a fabric pen to mark the dots through the pattern holes. 

4. Thread an embroidery needle with 3 strands of embroidery floss, about 40 inches long. Knot at the long end. Place the needle inside the backpack right behind the pattern’s center point. Push it through to the outside and bring it back down through a dot on the outer edge. Find the neighboring dot from behind, and stitch up and across to the center until all dots are filled. Tie a double knot in back. 

5. Use a colored twill patch with fabric fuse to protect the stitches inside the backpack.

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Luggage Tags

Jeff Harris

Luggage Tags

Get the kids ready to work a new angle (and to keep tabs on their belongings!) this school year.

What You'll Need: Templates, foam sheets, cardboard, pushpin, embroidery needle, embroidery floss, white cardstock, cellophane wrap, tacky glue, hole punch, braided mason line (available at building-supply stores), lighter (optional)

What To Do:

1. Print templates and cut out. Use template to trace and cut out both sides of the tag from foam sheets. Put the piece with the window aside. 

2. Place solid foam piece onto a piece of cardboard and mark the dots with a pushpin. 

3. Thread an embroidery needle with 3 strands of embroidery floss. Knot the long end, and start from the back corner of the tag piece from Step 2. Bring the needle up, then stitch lines at 45-degree angles as shown. To finish, tie a double knot on the back. 

4. Glue a piece of white cardstock on the back to protect the stitches. 

5. Glue a piece of cellophane over the window of the other piece. 

6. Punch a hole on the top center of both pieces. Glue the top and side seams together. Leave the bottom open. Let dry. 

7. Cut a 15-inch piece of braided mason line. Fold in half, push loop through the hole, and bring the ends through the loop. Trim as desired. Use lighter on ends to prevent fraying if desired. 

8. Cut a piece of cardstock to fit and insert it into the tag.

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Geometric Pencil Pouches

Jeff Harris

Geometric Pencil Pouches

Study up on shapes with these binder-ready pouches.

What You'll Need: Template, cardboard, pushpin, pencil pouch, disappearing fabric pen, painter’s tape (optional), embroidery needle, embroidery floss, tacky glue, twill patches (optional), Peel’n Stick Fabric Fuse (optional)

What To Do:

1. Print and cut out template. Lay the template on cardboard and use a pushpin to press through the dots.

2. Center template on the pouch and mark the dots with a fabric pen. (Use painter’s tape to hold in place if needed.)

3. Thread the embroidery needle with 3 strands of embroidery floss. Knot the long end. Starting on the back of one end of the pattern, bring the needle up to the front of the pouch and make a long stitch across to the middle. Repeat to fill all dots. Tie a double knot on the inside.

4. Repeat stitching, starting from the other side, with a contrasting color. Use additional colors as desired.

5. Trim ends and secure in place with tacky glue. Use a colored twill patch with fabric fuse to protect the stitches inside the pouch if desired.

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Jam-Filled Scones

Photograph by Carl Tremblay

Jam-Filled Scones

Let kids fill these scrumptious baked goodies with the flavor of summer berries.

Get the Recipe
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Back-To-School Tote

Photograph by Doug Merriam

Back-To-School Tote

In Germany, it's a tradition to give children a schultute, a giant paper cone filled with treats and supplies, to celebrate their first day of school.

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Back-to-School Backpack Pins

Photograph by Ed Judice, Idea by Nicole Blum

Back-to-School Backpack Pins

A cute craft for decorating a child's backpack or school bag.

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Make An Apple Cozy

Photo by Ed Judice, Idea By Tova Opatrny

Make An Apple Cozy

It can be a bruising ride to school in a kid's lunch box. Protect fruit from dirt and dings with a fleece pouch.

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School-of-Fish Snack

Ed Judice

School-of-Fish Snack

A cute after-school or classroom snack for kids.

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Reading Nook Canopy

Kate Sears

Reading Nook Canopy

Create an irresistible retreat with our no-sew canopy made from a bed sheet and a quilting hoop.