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3 DIY Gifts for Teachers

By Carly Price, December 8, 2012  |  Meet the Blogger  |  More Posts by Carly Price

Most teachers have already amassed a sizeable collection of holiday coffee mugs. This year, express your gratitude with something better — a gift that’s homemade, heartfelt and healthier than candy.

Check out these DIY gift ideas from Whole Kids Foundation® that are fun for kids to make (with the appropriate level of adult supervision, of course), easy on the budget and gentle on the planet.

Read on to find out how you could win a craft-project kit from Kiwi Crate.

Personalized Painted Pot


• ceramic flower pot or planter

• acrylic paints or paint pens

• Gorilla Glue (it works well on ceramics)

• decorations (stamps, stencils, mosaic tiles, stick-on gems, etc.)

• plant, seed packets or bulbs


Decorate the outside of the pot or planter using acrylic paints or paint pens, paint stamps, stencils or sponges to add texture, stick-on gems, mosaic tiles or whatever other creative bits and pieces you’ve got. Paint patterns, pictures, stripes or rainbows, write a name or inspiring word or quote. Just make sure whatever you use is water resistant so it won’t get ruined when the growing plant gets thirsty. Place a plant, seed packets or bulbs inside the pot. (Choose varieties that grow well in containers.)

Here's how the crafty blogger at Giggles Galore created her cute "Thanks for Helping Me Grow" pot (pictured above).

Recycled Sock or Sweater Coffee Cozy


• sock or sweater (skinny sleeves work best)

• scissors

• thread

• needle

• buttons, felt or appliqués (optional)


Select a colorful sock or sweater. Measure about 4-5” from the cuff end of the sweater sleeve or the sock, then cut that end off. You should have a cylindrical piece of material that can be stretched around a standard-sized paper coffee cup. If the cut edge of the material is beginning to unravel or looks messy, fold it down (about ½”) toward the inside of the cozy. Use a needle and thread to stitch the fold down. If you wish, decorate the outside of the cozy by hot gluing or sewing on buttons, felt shapes or letters, store-bought appliqués or scraps of other decorative fabric.

Spiced Nuts “Topped” with Fabric Scraps


spiced nuts

• clean jars (old or new) with tight-fitting lids

• scissors or pinking shears

• fabric scraps

• string or ribbon


Whip up an easy batch of spiced nuts, let them cool, then funnel nuts into clean, dry, label-free jars. Find some leftover fabric and ribbon scraps or get an inexpensive piece of remnant material at the fabric store. Lay each jar lid flat on top of the fabric, and cut out a circle of fabric that extends 2-3” past the edge of the lid all the way around. Put the lids on the jars and tighten securely. Center the circle of fabric on top of the lid; let it hang down and use string or ribbon to tie the excess fabric around the neck of the jar.

Looking for more inspiration?

Whole Kids Foundation is sharing lots more fun DIY gift ideas on Pinterest! You can also keep up with Whole Kids Foundation on Facebook and Twitter.

If all this has got you feeling especially crafty, we want to encourage that by giving away a Kiwi Crate craft project to 5 lucky winners. Delivering creativity to your doorstep, Kiwi Crate sends your little one all the materials needed for multiple fun and engaging arts, crafts and science activities. Chock full of projects perfect for kids ages 3-7, these crates are designed to encourage creativity, exploration and discovery. They're really cool!

Just tell us about the best homemade gift you've ever received. Share your comment below by Sunday, December 16 and you'll be entered to win a "Gifts Made By Me" Kiwi Crate.

So, what's the best homemade gift you've ever received?

The fine print: No purchase necessary. Promotion ends December 16, 2012, 11:59 PM CDT. Must be a legal resident of the US or Canada (except in Quebec, where it is void) age 18 or older to participate. Taxes on prize, if applicable, are the responsibility of the winner. Employees of Whole Foods Market, Inc., are not eligible. Void where prohibited.





Erica says ...
The best homemade gift that I ever got was a messenger bag made out of bike tubes!
12/08/2012 9:16:08 AM CST
Joya says ...
My great-grandmother loved to crochet and now my grandmother loves it too! They both gave me blankets they crocheted but the best was a shawl my grandmother gave me with crochet tassles along the edge. Its is perfect for using at work.
12/10/2012 12:51:45 PM CST
Sue says ...
The best homemade gift I received was a starburst art work made out of wood, black velvet, nails and colorful strings.
12/10/2012 1:57:01 PM CST
Laura Carroll says ...
A bouquet of paper flowers from my daughters.
12/10/2012 7:33:40 PM CST
les says ...
Now that I have grandchildren I am teaching them to crochet and sew just like I did for their parents!!
12/12/2012 3:53:52 AM CST
Dawne Galdi says ...
The best homemade present I ever received was a play stove that my dad made for me. It was made out of wood, had an oven, and was painted that yellow ochre color which was fashionable way back in the early seventies. The burners were swirled on with black spray paint, and the knobs were made of empty wooden spools. It was a total surprise, especially since I had had quite a few naughty moments that year. I guess the knowledge that I had been forgiven made the present even more special.
12/12/2012 4:00:18 PM CST
Lorelei says ...
The best homemade gift I ever received was on my birthday last year we went to supper at our favorite local Thai restaurant. They were out of our favorite mango cake, so my husband made his very first trip to Whole Foods (true story!) to purchase mangoes and surprised me with a delicious homemade mango cake the next day!
12/12/2012 4:33:19 PM CST
Liz says ...
With all the nut allergies these days, I'm not sure that spiced nuts is the best idea to bring into schools to give to the teachers.
12/12/2012 5:11:59 PM CST
Julie Baniewicz says ...
My brother harvested a flat oval rock and then hot-glue gunned grasses and flowers in a boquet formation on it! It was the best homemade birthday present i've ever received!
12/12/2012 5:50:16 PM CST
Julie Baniewicz says ...
My brother harvested a flat oval rock and then hot-glue gunned grasses and flowers in a boquet formation on it! It was the best homemade birthday present i've ever received!
12/12/2012 5:51:03 PM CST
Julie says ...
My housekeeper who worked for my family forever crocheted a blanket for me when I went to college. Such a sweet and thoughtful gesture. I still have (and cherish) it 20+ years later
12/12/2012 5:55:50 PM CST
Keri says ...
The best homemade gift I ever got was from my boyfriend (now husband). It was shells we collected together on a vacation that he kept and wired together in the shape of a heart. It's still hanging in my dining room and he gave it to me over 18 years ago!
12/12/2012 6:17:03 PM CST
Anne says ...
Dear Carly, I have never commented on a blog, not sure HOW but trust you will NOT post this. I do NOT mean to offend you! However, as a 26 year veteran of public education I have a degree of expertise in the field of teacher gifts. I believe I can safely speak on behalf of teachers throughout the nation, in saying that the perfect teacher gift is a . . . GIFT CARD TO WHOLE FOODS! A mug is also perfectly FINE. But no one wants a ceramic flower pot that has been hand painted in acrylic by a child. No one Carly, not even the child's mother! Sorry for the negative feedback, just telling it like it is. Thank you.
12/12/2012 6:35:12 PM CST
Cindy says ...
The best homemade gift I have received is the first heart drawn independently by my 4 yo son. It was orange and crooked and beautiful! He said "here mommy my heart is for you. I love you.". I melted
12/12/2012 7:22:27 PM CST
Chelsey says ...
The best homemade gift I received was a lingerie bag for my suitcase since I traveled so much for work.
12/12/2012 7:45:17 PM CST
Deborah Kramb says ...
I am a primary elementary teacher and one year in the 70's a student drew a full length portrait of me as a gift. He captured the essence of a young twenties teacher -- bell bottom slacks with a button up men's style vest, long hair and big glasses! I modge podged it to a nice board that looked like a frame and kept it forever to remind myself of how my students saw me.
12/12/2012 8:06:40 PM CST
Rachelle says ...
Crocheted blankets for my children from my grandmother.
12/12/2012 8:32:38 PM CST
Michelle M says ...
The best homemade gift I've ever received was a quilt from my grandmother.
12/12/2012 8:51:05 PM CST
Rochelle says ...
Well, mine isn't something given to me, but rather what we're giving to my son's teachers this year. I had him make a drawing/message in crayon ("Thanks for being my teacher!") and I had that put on note pads to give to each of them. They turned out really nice!
12/12/2012 9:01:29 PM CST
Natalie says ...
The best homemade I've received as a mom was a collage describing all my son's favorite things about me when he was in 3rd grade. Words such as 'love, laundry, food, cookies, snuggle, cook, driver and kind' all made me smile! It is hung up in my bathroom and helps me start every day with appreciation of dirty clothes and mouths to feed :)
12/12/2012 9:32:35 PM CST
shan says ...
I loved my very own petunia pickle inspired baby bag made especially for me when I had my first child. Those are usually so expensive and it warmed my heart to receive such a thoughtful gift
12/12/2012 11:04:56 PM CST
Amanda S. says ...
The best gift I received was a blanket my grandma made for me.
12/12/2012 11:29:47 PM CST
Rebecca says ...
Since having children, anything from them is precious!
12/12/2012 11:51:27 PM CST
Karen V says ...
A flower made out of his lego wheel from my lovely 5 year old son.
12/13/2012 12:27:21 AM CST
Ecotechie says ...
The best handmade gift I ever received as a science teacher from a student was a set of book marks made from recycled paper with herb seeds embedded in them. I planted these book marks in our classroom and watched our herb garden grow. It was such an inspiration to the other students ,they asked her to teach them how to make similar ones for mothers day. Now that is a great way to pay it forward in a eco- friendly way.
12/13/2012 3:15:18 AM CST