My top 5 handmade teachers gifts

I have surprised myself this year with how organised I have been putting together gifts for my children's teachers. I left it to the last minute last year and it resulted in a disastrous cookie fiasco (untried recipe= inedible and burnt 'treats'). This year, I decided to go with handmade gift ideas that I had tried and tested before. I always prefer to make gifts if I have the time as I feel they are more personal and unique. The gifts I choose to make (with the help of my children) are quite quick to do individually and fairly cheap to put together. 
From the left top corner, clockwise;
1) Personalised covered notebook: I simply covered a £1 notebook in pretty decorative paper that I already had from Hobbycraft. See below for the how-to. By adding a handwritten label with the teachers name/message it becomes a very personal and useful gift. If you don't have any decorative paper or gift wrap you can also use brown parcel wrap which your child can decorate.
  
2) Lavender sachets: Such a cute gift. I made the sachets shown above in the shape of an apple by making an apple shape template. See my previous post on lavender sachets for a how-to. The only differences with these ones were that I didn't use ribbon for hanging them and I added a stalk. I made the stalk from a small rectangle of brown felt that I rolled, sewed up and inserted inside the top (into a small opening that had been left unsewn in order for it to be turned the right way out) before closing up. A name or initials can also be embroidered onto the front.

3) Hand painted mug: Another gift you can personalise with a message to the teacher. These hand painting mug kits can be purchased online through Amazon and EBay. Wilkinson stores often have them stocked to. Always follow the instructions that come with the mug on how to set the paint (it is usually done in the oven or microwave). You could put a pack of biscuits in the mug for an extra treat!

4) Personalised keyring: The keyrings in the photo were bought in a pack of ten from Hobbycraft and I have used them a lot in the past for children's party bags etc. All you have to do is insert a rectangle of paper which you have decorated into the front piece of the plastic keyring then seal it with the back piece. Children can put in a little drawing or message for their teacher. I love them! If your child is too young to write you can write the name and message yourself.

5) Gift wrapped chocolate: O.k, I know chocolate is predictable but seriously who doesn't like chocolate? I have a family member who works in a school and her cupboards are always full with boxes of chocolate that she has been given at work. I am always very jealous when I see her stash. Instead of buying a box of one of the usual brands though why not make your own box of chocolates. All you need is chocolate and a mould. I used a silicone ice tray that makes apple shapes, purchased from EBay. You just need to melt the chocolate, fill the moulds with the melted chocolate then wait for it to set (put in the fridge for quick setting). Wrap them in a box or even some baking paper tied with twine, easy!

How-to cover a notebook
All you need is; a notebook, decorative paper, scissors, glue, a pen and a label (or piece of paper).

1) Use your notebook as a template and add an extra cenitimetre or so for folding over the edge. (Note that when the notebook is closed more paper is stretched so measure with the book nearly closed to get an accurate size). Cut the corners on the decorative paper template that you have cut out. 
2) I cut the paper at the binding part into a small rectangle tab. 
3) Insert the tab (glued) into the hollow part of the binding. If you notebook doesn't have this type of binding it might be easier to just cut the paper along the edge of where the paper is bound.
4) Fold over and glue down edges of the decorative paper. 
5) Add your label to the front cover.
6) Optional: if your paper is quite thin you could apply sticky back plastic (the stuff you use to cover school exercise books) to prevent the possibility of the paper ripping. Just apply it on top of the paper cover leaving an extra margin to fold over the edge. 

Easy peasy version
If you don't have much time try this instead. It is basically a book sleeve for your notebook. Use your notebook again as a template. This time though leave no extra paper at the top and bottom to overlap, instead make the paper an equal height to the notebook. Then make the sides much wider so that when folded over the sides of the cover the edges almost meet the center where the pages are bound. Finally glue the side edges down.  

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