I have a horrible habit of forgetting details until the last minute, or even worse, until they have already passed. I am especially bad with teacher gifts. I am known for giving a Christmas teacher gift in January, when school is back in session. Or, attempting to remember to get a teacher gift to a former teacher in September of the next school year.

It’s my daughter’s last year of school at her current school. Well it was her last year. It has since ended. Many tears were shed as we made that final lap around the school parking lot, moving to the exit from child pick up for the final time. My daughter is leaving a few friends she recently connected with, and I am fighting guilt that I am ripping her away. She will be going to a high quality, hard-to-get-in-to private school next year. And although she wanted this very much, and still says she wants it, it is hard to leave people behind. It is all we have known for 4 years, and private school, for a public school and state college graduate who also has retired public school teacher parents, is a scary unknown. Yet, our hearts feel this is a needed move. Still tears flowed for a few days after the last day of school.  (There may or may not be some tears writing this 😉 )

This DIY teacher gift couldn’t miss the mark.

But this time it is different. I had no September to procrastinate to. And admittedly, sorry to the teacher if she is reading this, it didn’t dawn on me until 9:30 the last day of school as I left the parking lot from child drop off.

Oh crap shoot! And I rushed to Michaels…

This NEEDED to be a meaningful gift

As a public school teacher kid, I know how much teachers get the trinket type of gifts. Save for Starbucks cards and other types of gift cards, there is a high chance of trinket gifts that teachers might not know what to do with. Now there are many trinket type gifts that are so cute and can easily find a home, but there are some that are harder to place. I wanted this gift to be more unique and special, and my pencil jar idea wasn’t going to cut it for me. I wanted this last gift to be something filled with love and a reminder to her teacher of how special, appreciated, and loved she is.

Decoupaged Stenciled Teacher Gift

Teacher Gift DIY CollageNow I apologize to said teacher that this teacher gift was only worked on for a little over 2 hours (includes drying time as well since decoupage isn’t exactly a swift thing). So, I think that the outcome would have been less blemished with more time.



1 bottle of Mod Podge- your choice in finish. I used glossy

square or rectangle board. I bought mine at Michael’s


Chalk or acrylic paint

Sponge brushes for applying glue and paint


I initially started out with a plain old board with a bit of a lip to it, so that it is raised from the wall, if hung. I was initially going to paint the sign a few layers of neutral color and then distress before stenciling on the words and embellishments, but I realized I had no sandpaper and just having gotten my toddler out of the van and inside the house, a trip to Home Depot didn’t sound so fun. It was then that the idea of decoupage sounded like a better option. At first, it was the most convenient option, but as I thought about it, I like it more and more. I didn’t have any paper that I felt was a good fit to decoupage onto the board, but I remembered when I decoupaged a bit of Jane Austen onto a Halloween styrofoam pumpkin as a take on my friend’s super-cute project on her blog over at At The Pickett Fence. I thought book pages.would be nice for this projec as well.

Pick Your board and paper of choice and glue away.

My daughter loves to read and write, so I looked for a book that we never read and has the right look in its pages. So sorry little book on life lessons learned from golf; you went to a good cause. I tore out some pages, selected the ones with a lot of text on them and no tell-tale signs about what book it was from. I cut them into rectangular shapes. I then went to work decoupaging it to the board with glossy Mod Podge (glue). I coated the board with a thin layer of glue and then laid the paper down, after which I followed up by putting a layer of glue over the paper; Kind of like a Mod Podge sandwich. You have to do this in sections. You can’t cover the board with paper all at once because after the first piece of paper is down, you lay the second or next one down, overlapping the previous one a bit. Always follow-up the paper with a thin coat of glue. I laid mine down in a squarish basket weave sort of pattern. Let dry completely.

I recommend that you let nature take its course, and not attempt to speed up drying time by using your heat gun used for heating up embossing powder (Although, now my craziness inside me is now tempted to see what embossed paint would do. Probably turn into a hot mess, lol.) There are always going to be air bubbles in even the most meticulously applied decoupage, and heating glue, which has water in it, is guaranteed to make some parts bubble up with steam. Not really worth the time saved, if you can afford the extra time.

Take time and care when stenciling your words.

After that, it is time to stencil your words. I like to choose a few font styles so the piece doesn’t look too boring. SPEND THE EXTRA TIME positioning the stencils. Sometimes, I like to stencil in the first and last letters of a word, so I can make sure it is centered. If not, it tends to off-center like the “are” in my picture 🙁 . 

I stenciled with chalk paint because it was all I had, but acrylic craft paint also works well. After it had dried, I sealed it all with a final layer of Mod Podge. Let it dry, and there you have it!

I really wanted to make sure my daughter’s teacher knew she was special and give her a unique teacher gift to remember us by. We will miss her as we embark on the new chapter into the unknown! 😉

As always, positive comments are welcome. Negative hurtful comments will be trashed before I can even finish reading them. I have many readers who are emotionally vulnerable, and I will not post comments that will further harm.

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1 Comment on Let Them Know They’re Loved: DIY Teacher Gift

  1. What a creative gift! My mom was a teacher and got sincere and adorable gifts , that she couldn’t always find a space for. I’ve been pondering what I should get my son’s teacher when he graduates 5th grade. This might work 🙂 I rarely do DIY craft gifts(The last time I did one was in college). So this will be a challenge for me. Thanks so much!

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