We are not the parents who are going to put together a list of back to school crafts that require 6 kinds of sandpaper and a drawer full of spare x-rays to turn into DIY stencils. (Seriously. We’ve seen this.) Like most of you, we’re looking for the kinds of crafts we can actually do with our kids, that only require some basic supplies. Or okay, maybe a very few not-so-basic supplies if you count Modge Podge. We think all of these cool DIY projects and back to school craft ideas give you the opportunity to spend a fun hour or afternoon with your family, to help get kids of all ages excited about back to school.

So happy making!

[click here for our 2016 back to school guide]

All items have been chosen by our editorial team; there has been no compensation in exchange for any picks. CMP is an rstyle and Amazon affiliate.

Related: 15 of the coolest back to school printables

– Don’t miss a big chance to enter our back to school giveaway!
We’re giving away TWO $250 Target Gift cards to one lucky CMP reader —
one for you and one for your teacher. Catch all the details below. – 

 

Back to school crafts: DIY family necklace helps make the first days of school easier for preschoolers
DIY family necklace craft

We love this back to school craft from Moomah which is so easy, and can definitely make nervous preschoolers and little kids feel more at home on the first day, with everyone they love around them. Including pets and stuffed friends.

 

Back to school crafts: DIY Rainbow Crayon Organizer via Sugar Bee Designs

DIY Rainbow crayon holder

There are of course tons of tutorials out there for decorating pencil holders with everything from paint to washi tape, but I love the idea of at least starting the school year organized with crayons matching the cans. Key word being starting because this would look this perfect in my home for about 16 seconds after completing it. Still, the full tutorial is at Sugar Bee Crafts and if it works for your kids I bow down to you.

 

back to school crafts: DIY pencil cup made from wood bangles | Tutorial at Make and Tell

DIY bangle pencil holder

For something a little more sophisticated I love this idea from Make and Tell! It doesn’t have to be as complex as you it seems (though follow her instructions if you want yours to come out like this one). In fact, it’s mostly a matter of gluing together a few wooden bangles from the craft store and letting kids go to town with paint.

Back to school crafts: Free printable LEGO backpack tags + tutorial from Simply Kelly

Free printable LEGO backpack tags

There are lots of templates for free printable backpack tags so you can make your own, but we know quite a few kids who would point right to these, from Simply Kelly Designs and say emphatically, THOSE, Mom! We want those! So we just skipped the others and gave you these.

 

 

Back to school crafts: DIY kids craft apron tutorial via Mer Mag

DIY kids art apron

If you’ve got crafty kids, maybe you should rewind and start with this adorable craft apron tutorial from Mer Mag that’s perfect for preschoolers and young kids whose “schoolwork” has more to do with painting and molding clay than with workbooks and drill sheets.

 

Coolest crafts for Back to School 2014: Personalized pencil case at Madigan Made

Personalized Washi Pencil Case craft
Let your kids pick out some fun washi tape in fun colors or cool patterns online or at the local office supply store. Then, follow the easy how-to at Madigan Made so your back to school craft project comes out as cool as hers did.

 

Back to school crafts: DIY duct tape binders via Aunt Peaches

DIY duct tape binders
Now that duct tape goes beyond mere Industrial Silver, it’s easy to transform an inexpensive (or even a hand-me-down) binder into something more personal and fun with this DIY from Aunt Peaches.

 

Back to school crafts: DIY washi tape journal tutorial at Design Love Fest: So easy and fun for kids.

DIY washi tape journals and composition books

As long as you’re going through washi tape by the carton, you can use it to decorate pencils, hole punches, staplers…you name it. But one of the easiest things is to let your kids go to town on their journals and composition books. At the beginning of each school year, our kids always have the teacher mandate to decorate their marbled composition books and this is a cool way to do it too. They may come out as perfectly as these from Design Love Fest or…hey, just get creative. Your kids will come up with something awesome all their own.

 

Back to school crafts: Free printable bookplate labels from How about Orange

Back to school crafts: Free printable bookplates from How about Orange. So cute!

Make your own personalized bookplate labels

We discovered these adorable designs at Orange You Lucky a few years ago, but find ourselves coming back to them for our own kids each September. The illustration style looks something out of a favorite modern children’s book, but even our older kids find them “adorable.”And for something a wee bit sophisticated, Helen also added the duo of French cat and dog free printable bookplates too. We might actually use them for our own books.

 

DIY children's artwork picture hanger: Make a rotating gallery! | tutorial at Make and Tell

DIY picture hanger for children’s artwork

Also at Make and Tell, I think this idea for a DIY picture hanger is so so clever. Make a few, and hang them on your child’s wall for a rotating display of art projects brought home from school throughout the year. It helps knock off that dreaded “what do I do with all that artwork” question parents face every year, and it has the added benefit of freeing up the refrigerator door. Frankly, you can have kids decorate it any way they’d like but the tutorial is a source of great inspiration.

Related: 21 cool ways to display photos + artwork besides just frames

 

Back to school craft: DIY kawaii toast keychain or backpack tag

DIY kawaii keychain craft

For slightly more advanced crafting skills — okay so we had to include just one for you sewing mavens with fine motor skills — we totally love this detailed tutorial from user Aiwa-9 on Deviant Art. The smiling felt toast makes a ridiculously cute backpack tag (which our kids are obsessed with) or keychain. (h/t/ pop sugar)

 

Back to school craft idea: Make your own

DIY homework door hangers

Because in the end, what’s school about if not actual schoolwork, we like the idea for privacy door hangers that give kids a little more incentive to shut the door. At Write Click Scrapbook, we like how these came out, but if you’re not a master of press type, there are lots of ways to decorate a basic blank door hanger available at a craft store.

 

EXTRA-COOL: WIN IT!

Cool Mom Picks $500 back to school giveaway for you and your school

Just because we love you — and we love teachers, too — we’re giving away TWO $250 Target gift cards to one lucky CMP reader, one for you and one we’ll send right to your classroom. To enter, just leave a comment here by midnight ET, Monday Sept 7 and tell us your favorite pick on this back to school guide post and why We’ll draw one winner at random from all our posts. There are lots of chances to win!

FOR EXTRA ENTRIES:

1. Leave one comment on the other specially marked back to school guide posts with giveaway info – there will be 5 in all. (That’s, one comment on the post, but many posts to comment on.)

2. Follow @coolmompicks on Twitter and tweet a link to this post with the hashtag #CMPBTS and say something clever like, “I’m entering the #CMPBTS giveaway because I love free stuff + I love teachers.” (But hey, what you say is up to you.)

3. Follow @coolmompicks on Instagram and share your favorite photo from this post with the hashtag #CMPBTS. (Psst…give some credit to the brand, too. It’s a nice thing to do.) OR alternately, share a photo of one of these crafts that you made. That would be awesome.

4. Like us on Facebook and share a link to this post on your own Facebook page. Then leave the link to your Facebook update in the comments below.

So basically, you can do any, some or all of these things on each of 5 Back to School gift guide posts giving you oh…like a ton of entries.See our official rules for general giveaway details, void where prohibited, US only please, 18+. Good luck!

Back to School Guide 2015 posts:

12 awesome DIY back to school crafts your kids can actually do
The coolest lunch boxes and bags for kids of all ages
The coolest backpacks for preschool and little kids
The coolest backpacks for big kids
The coolest lunchbox accessories 

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