Homemade School Supplies | Reader's Digest

Homemade School Supplies

Go back to school the smart way with our clever collection of frugal tips and time-saving solutions.

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Dreading the end-of-summer shopping sprees that signal school’s back in session? Relax — our cheat sheet’s ready to help everyone make the grade this year!

Don’t lose it — label it!

You don’t need to buy labels or a fancy machine that makes them. Use inexpensive masking tape instead to conveniently mark kids’ schoolbooks and supplies.

See more uses for Masking Tape.

Instant index cards

It’s inevitable — at the eleventh hour your child will say, “I need index cards for school tomorrow.” If you don’t have any, use paper plates and a ruler. Measure out a 3 x 5 or 4 x 6 (A7 or A6) card on the plate and cut. Use the first card as a template for the rest.

See more uses for Paper Plates.

Safeguard supplies

It’s one of the universal truths of parenthood: Kids’ pencil cases, folders, markers, and other school supplies are forever disappearing. You may be able to lessen the losses, however, by affixing address labels with a piece of transparent tape to the contents of your child’s desk and backpack.

See more uses for Return Address Labels.

Keep supplies organized

Do the kids have trouble keeping track of their school pencils, pens, and rulers? Puncture three holes along the bottom edge of a sealable freezer bag so it will fit in a three-ring binder. Now the young scholars can zip their supplies in and out of the bag.

See more uses for Plastic Bags.

Make an artist’s palette

Tear off a length of heavy-duty aluminum foil, crimp up the edges, and you’ve got a ready-to-use palette for mixing paints. If you want to get a little fancier, cut a piece of cardboard into the shape of a palette, complete with thumb hole, and cover it with foil. Or if you already have a wooden palette, cover it with foil before each use and then just strip off the foil instead of cleaning the palette.

See more uses for Aluminum Foil.

Organize kids’ sporting goods

Keep a decorated empty wine or liquor carton with partitions, and with the top cut off, in your child’s room and use it for easy storage of tennis rackets, baseball bats, fishing poles, and such.

See more uses for Cardboard Boxes.