"Make This Year Count" DIY Back To School Gift [Video Tutorial]

August 14, 2016

Back to school is just around the corner! As a Kindergarten teacher, I go crazy for this time of year. Although Grace isn't in school quite yet, I do have a cute little cousin who is getting ready to start Kindergarten! I needed a fun gift idea for her so I thought I'd whip together a gift basket to surprise her!

I love themed things (it must be the teacher in me) so when I started brainstorming for this project I knew I wanted it to be easy, creative, and useful to my cousin. Something that kids are constantly in need of during this time of year is clothing. While I love shopping for little girls clothing, my niece is at that independent age where picking out her own clothes. A gift card was the obvious choice. I got this one from GiftCardMall.com or you can pick one up at your local grocery store!

I went with JC Penney because their kids clothes selection is fabulous. I shop there for myself pretty often, and I'm always surprised at how far my dollar can go. This $25 gift card should get her a cute new dress, or maybe some shorts and a few tops? That's the nice thing - she can choose. I also included a few school supplies and some hair clips for keeping her bangs out of her face while she's trying to do all of that serious learning!

So here's how to put it together... There's text below, and if you are a visual learner, you can scroll down all the way to see the short video tutorial I filmed!

"Make It Count" Back To School themed gift basket
8-10 minutes

Basket or tub
Colored/Printed duct tape
Number stickers
School supplies
(scissors, crayons, markers, notepad, pencils, journal, etc.)
Mini Chalkboard

Step 1: Gather your materials
I got this basket at the Dollar Tree. I like that it's vibrant, and a blank slate to decorate! I also gathered up some school supplies like pencils, crayons, watercolor paints, and a note pad. My students always felt so grown up with their own school supplies.
Step 2: Decorate the basket.
Line the outside of your basket with the printed/colored duct tape on all four sides. I just did one strip, but you could also cover the whole thing with duct tape! After you line the basket, take your sheet of stickers and put the number stickers all over it. I used about 8-10 on each side. Now your basket is ready to be filled with goodies!
Step 3: Write your encouraging note!
Take your mini chalk board and chalk, and write "Make This Year Count' on it to match the theme. The nice thing about this is you can literally change this up for any cute theme or saying for Back to School! I just liked the numbers idea because as a Kindergartner she already recognizes the things on the basket, and that will make her feel good to point out the "1" that she spots.
Step 4: Gather the goodies, and find the perfect placement.
The JC Penney gift card is what I wanted front and center since it's the bulk of the gift. I toyed with the items for a few minutes to see the best way to arrange them. [Check out the video to see exactly how I do it]. So arrange your items the way you like, then put the gift card from GiftCardMall.com on top so your recipient will see it first, and then you're finished! I hope they love the gift you made them! DIY gifts are thoughtful.
Note: This can be modified for any grade or type of schooling! I'd love to do one of these for my little sister who will be starting college next Fall! I could do a cute little basket with a gift card to her favorite restaurant, or a favorite clothing store with all kinds of dorm room goodies... now I can't stop thinking about making all the gift baskets!
I hope you enjoyed this little tutorial. I'm no YouTube guru, but I'd love to make other little videos like this! Let me know what else you'd like to see on my channel in the comments below!

Join us for a Twitter Party with Gift Card Mall on August 16th at 12 PM EST. There will be $700 in prizes! Make sure to join in on the fun!

*Thanks to Gift Card Mall and JC Penney for sponsoring this post.

xo. L


  1. I was JUST thinking that I'd like to make something for my little girl's preschool teachers! This is adorable!
    xx Lexi, Glitter, Inc.

  2. Love your striped dress, & such a fun DIY idea!


  3. I can't believe it's already back to school time, it seems insanely fast that the summer flew by. Although I love fall, so I'm excited. This DIY gift looks awesome! xx Adaleta Avdic

  4. What a cute idea!!! love this!

    xo lipstickheelsandababy.net

    Jessica Fay

  5. This is such a cute idea!! I'm never good at remembering to give gifts for little things like this, but you've inspired me!

    Engineering In Style

  6. What a great idea! I'll definitely do this for my niece!


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