Dollar Store Crafts for Back to School

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Whew! The first week of school is over, and I’m still alive. Well, my oldest kid, who’s in a dual-enrollment high school-community college program, started in the middle of August, but she doesn’t require much work from me, and definitely doesn’t need me to get up before dawn. My younger two, on the other hand… My middle just started high school, and I’m homeschooling my youngest. This has meant adjusting to early mornings, and a lot more work for me. It’s been so exhausting that my immune system has suffered, and I’m battling a cold.

If you have kids going back to school, or if you yourself are going back to school, you’re probably going through something similar. To make back-to-school time easier, cheaper, and more fun, I decided to show you a couple back-to-school crafts you can do using materials from the dollar store.

Dollar Store Supplies

As you might know, there are dollar stores and there are “dollar stores.” Confused? What I mean is that there are stores like Dollar Tree, where every item is actually one dollar. There are also stores like Dollar General and Family Dollar, where items are inexpensive, but not necessarily just one dollar. And then, of course, there are what people call “dollar bins” or “dollar sections” of regular retail stores, where again, items might be more than a dollar. So, I gave myself a rule to stick to: I would shop in all these types of places, but I would only buy items priced at one or two dollars.

Earbud Holder

Our first project is a super-simple earbud holder made from a pill bottle. Okay, I cheated a little- I didn’t buy the pill bottle at the dollar store. But pill bottles are so easy to get your hands on. I’m sure you have one or can get one from a friend. This cute little container will keep your (or your kid’s) earbuds in easy reach, instead of tangled up and at the bottom of your bag.

This project uses washi tape. Washi tape is basically a decorative masking tape. You can find it at craft stores, discount department stores, drug stores, and dollar stores. I got mine at Michael’s, where they were 3 for a dollar in the dollar bins near the registers. Most of these discounted rolls were leftover Christmas patterns, but with a little digging, I found some non-holiday rolls I liked.

Start by carefully wrapping strips of washi around the bottle, starting at the bottom and working your way up to the top.

Once you’re done, cover the lid with short strips of washi. Because of the round shape of the lid, it will look messy. You want to firmly press down any bits that are sticking up, and carefully trim the excess with a pair of scissors.

Now it’s time to decorate the lid. I found these stick-on jewels at Dollar General, and the colors work perfectly. If bling is not your thing, you can use a sticker instead.

Farmhouse Mason Jar Pencil Holder

I absolutely love the farmhouse aesthetic I’ve been seeing everywhere! This is a super-cute way to store your pencils and pens so your desk stays tidy(ish). I got my Mason jar at Michael’s, but I have also seen them at Dollar Tree. We’re also going to use some wide burlap ribbon, narrow grosgrain ribbon, and glue. I used Tacky Glue, which I found at Dollar General. You can also use a hot glue gun if you have one (you can buy the refill sticks at the dollar store).

First, cut off a length of burlap that will fit around the Mason jar. Using tiny dots of glue along the edges of the burlap, glue the burlap onto the jar.

Let the glue dry for about five minutes. Then cut a lenth of the grosgrain ribbon that will fit around the jar over the burlap. Using tiny dots, glue the ribbon onto the burlap.

Let that dry, and you have your adorable farmhouse-style pencil jar. If your jar has an old-fashioned two-piece lid, you can screw the outer ring onto the jar if you’d like.

Farmhouse Desk Organizer
This is a matching piece that I made with a small wooden box from the Michael’s dollar bin. You could make something similar with just about any box, bowl, or dish you can find. Even a cardboard box could work. Be creative!

First, measure a length of burlap that will fit on one side of the box. Since this box is wider at the top than at the bottom, you’ll have to carefully cut the edges at the correct angle. Using your first piece as a template, cut three more lengths of burlap for the other three sides.

Using tiny dots of tacky glue (or hot glue), glue the burlap onto the sides of the box. Do one side at a time, and let it dry before moving on to the next side.

Once all sides are dry, cut lengths of grosgrain ribbon to fit along the top edge of each side of the box. Using tiny dots of glue, glue the ribbon onto the burlap. Again, let each side dry before moving on to the next. Trim any sloppy edges with a sharp pair of scissors.

You can use this box to hold tape, paper clips, sticky notes, thumb drives, or anything else. I love the look so much, I think I’m going to decorate another dish or maybe a paper tray with the burlap and grosgrain ribbon. Maybe even my bulletin board. It’ll be such a pretty refresh for my desk!

I hope these crafts make the stressful back-to-school adjustment a little more bearable for you!

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