12 Unique Ways to Use School Supplies


I love finding dual purposes for everyday items. It's a sneaky way of getting more bang for my buck. And — chances are — if anyone in your family is in school, you have quite a collection of school and office supplies handy. (See also: 18 Awesome, Practically Free Upcycled Craft Projects)

Break out your pencil boxes and your craft paper and let's get started!

1. Pencil Eraser Designs

For a custom stamped shirt, use your eraser. Cut out a simple shape or design using freezer paper, place it on a clean cotton shirt, and then dip an unused pencil eraser in fabric paint and get creative.

2. Large Eraser Stamps

For those bigger erasers, carve out a design and make a smart stamp for personalizing stationery or just plain fun. Don't forget: If you're going to use lettering, you'll need to write it backwards to make sense once stamped.

3. Pencil Beads

For a cute back-to-school accessory, look no farther than your pencil box. Colored pencils make wonderful, vibrant beads that can be drilled for use in necklaces, bracelets, brooches, and more.

4. Mega-Crayons

Turn those old crayon bits into a great gift or party favor. Simply take off any leftover paper, place remnant into a silicone mold, and bake at around 200 degrees for just five minutes (baking time will vary depending on your oven). Let cool before packaging.

5. Paper Clip Ornaments

For a super frugal way to decorate your tree this year, try these paper clip ornaments. All you need are butterfly flips, a bit of ribbon, and pearl beads. Once you get the hang, you can make dozens an hour for stocking stuffers!

6. Post-It Planner

I'm a big fan of Post-It notes, and I love this idea to use those little squares in a big way. Turn yours into a wall planning system by arranging each square like a box on a calendar.

7. Three Ring Genius

Use a three ring binder to organize more than just class notes. You can use a variety of plastic inserts and baggies to hold your memory cards, jump drives, etc. I use a similar method to organize my coupons, store punch cards, gift cards, and more.

8. Upcycled Hooks

Or you can use that old binder's insides for a quick hook system. Once you get the metal out of the plastic cover, use screws to fasten the hooks to a wall or fence for instant hanging.

9. Rubber Band Remedy

Need to dry your makeup brushes? Try tethering them to a towel rod using rubber bands. No towel rod? Easy — just use a hanger for the same purpose.

10. Clipboard Decor

Arrange various sizes and styles of clipboards into a gorgeous wall of art with these free printables. You could also clip photos, your child's artwork, and even use this trick to organize an office the chic way with important documents and to-do lists.

11. Clip Cord Holder

If you've ever tried charging your devices at your desk, only to have all those cords fall straight to the floor — this trick is for you. Loop the end of your computer or phone charger cords through binder clips and clamp onto your table or desk to hold steady.

12. Sharpie China

To upgrade basic dinnerware into something beautiful, try drawing geometric designs with Sharpie markers. To set, just bake the dish for 30 minutes at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. This projects lets you freshen your kitchen for less or give great gifts on the cheap.

How do you upcycle school and office supplies into cool tools and decor? Please share in comments!

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