Add a personal touch to your Back-to-School gear with these DIY tips

By  | 

It’s August, which means school is upon us. For the people who started school in July, it’s never too late to DIY your school supplies. And for the people who start in September, make your way back to this article in a month. Enjoy your summer while it lasts!

School is something that most people dread, but these DIY’s are guaranteed to make school a little less horrible. Whether you’re in middle school, high school, college, or maybe you just need some unique supplies for your office at work, this article is for you!



Notebooks are a staple in almost everyone’s backpack, so why not make yours stand out above the rest?

What You’ll Need:

Notebooks (Target, $0.17)

Dry Erase or Chalk Tape (Office Depot, $5.99)

Optional: Washi tape

All you have to do for this DIY is take the tape of your choice and wrap the tape over the entire front cover (you can do this to the back cover too!) of the notebook. You can add some colorful washi tape for some extra flare and then you’re finished! Now you’re able to doodle (and ERASE!) all over your notebooks. Or you can use these notebooks as an organizational tool.

Write your homework or a to do list on the cover of the notebook, so you’ll never lose track of your assignments!

Tip: If you find any air bubbles after laying the tape down, use a credit card to smooth it out!



Products with gold foil imprints are extremely popular right now and they are so adorable!

What You’ll Need:

Notebooks (Target, $0.17)

Metallic gold paint, acrylic preferred (Walmart, $1.25) *spray paint works, but it’s a little messier

Foam brushes (Walmart, $3.95)

Stencils (I made mine from my printer at home)

Optional: Mod Podge, & scrapbook paper

(If you’re satisfied with the color of your notebook, you can skip the first step.) First, use scrapbook paper to decorate the cover. Cut the sheet down to the size of he notebook and glue it on to the cover. With a stencil of your choice (or you can free hand it!), use your foam brush to apply the gold paint. If you’re using spray paint, cover the rest of the notebook (in the areas you don’t want the gold) so that the paint doesn’t spray everywhere. Remove the stencil and wait for the paint to dry entirely.

Tip: Use a small brush when applying the gold paint so it stays inside the stencil!



The gradient doesn’t show up too well in the picture, but these end up looking so cute, trust me. You could also use this technique for notebooks if you wanted all your supplies to match!

What You’ll Need:

Folders, your choice of color (Walmart, $0.25)

Glitter, your choice of color (I used glitter from Martha Stewart’s 24 pack, $17)

Spray adhesive (Michaels, $7.99)

Mod Podge (Michaels, $7.99)

Foam brush (Walmart, $3.95)

First thing’s first, use your spray adhesive and apply it allover the folder (more at the bottom, less at the top). Start by sprinkling your glitter at the bottom. The bottom is going to need the thickest amount of glitter, and it’ll get lighter at the top to form a gradient. Continue sprinkling until you reach the top, adding less and less as you move up. You can use multiple colors for this (doing an ombre color effect would look so cool!) or just one, it’s up to you. Once you’re finished adding the glitter, let the adhesive dry completely. Then, take a foam brush and some Mod Podge (don’t worry, it dries clear!) and add a layer of the glue on top of the glitter. This will ensure that the glitter will stay in place, so you won’t have a bunch of glitter in the bottom of your backpack at the end of the day. Let the Mod Podge dry and you’re done!

Tip: Try not to use too much glue, or else the folder will start to curl up. If it does curl, put

something heavy on top of it to straighten it out!



This backpack is so fun because it’s entirely personalized by you! You’re free to make it fit your exact personality.

What You’ll Need:

A plain white/light colored backpack or bag (Walmart, $10)

Iron-on transfer paper (Walmart, $7.80)

Think of the general vibe you want your backpack to have. Do you want it to be tumblr-esque? Or maybe you want a vintage 90’s vibe? However you decide to do it, pick out images that fit within the theme you want to accomplish (I found that .png images worked the best).

Here are a couple ideas: If you want a vintage 90’s theme, use a solid colored backpack (or tie- dying a backack for this theme would be cool!) and use images like Lisa Frank, Rugrats, Troll Dolls, PowerPuff Girls, etc. For a tumblr backpack, try google searching “tumblr .png” and you’ll find many different images. Phrases, Nutella, pineapples, literally every classic tumblr image you could think of.

Once you find the images you want, add them to a word document. Print the document on iron-on paper and follow the instructions listed for your iron-on paper (every brand is different, so you’ll want to pay close attention to yours). Cut out the images and scatter them all over the backpack in the places you want. Still following the instructions, iron on the images. Wait for it too cool and you have your own personalized backpack! Tip: Try to find a very light colored backpack for the best results – the lighter, the better! Dark colors, especially black, will not work! I used a white and pink acid washed tote bag, so mypictures didn’t show up as vibrant. My pictures ended up having a distressed look, which I still loved!



You’ll definitely need something to hold all your pencils, pens, and highlighters!

What You’ll Need:

One pencil pouch or cosmetic bag (Target, $1)

Studs (Amazon, $1.65)

Optional: Fabric paints

For this DIY, all you’re going to do is stick studs in a triangle formation along the side of your pencil case. My studs had prongs on the back, but if yours don’t, use fabric glue to attach the studs. It’s so simple but ends up so cute!

Tip: If you want to give your pencil case some extra flare, splatter some fabric paints all over the surface of the bag before adding the studs!



This one is not only cute, but incredibly helpful for your organization and easy note taking.

What You’ll Need:

A plain binder (Target, $5)

Sticky notes (Target, $2.99)

Gorilla glue (Target, $4.99)

Anything to decorate (I used scrapbook paper from Michaels)

First, you’ll want to start out by decorating your binder any way you’d like. I cut out some stationary paper and placed it inside the clear part of the binder cover. You can add some photo collages of your favorite memories, write the name of your classes on the paper, or you can keep it simple and not add anything to the scrapbook paper. After decorating, you’re going to take your sticky notes (I used one pad, split into three) and glue them to the top of the binder. You can glue them on the inside or outside of the cover. I chose to glue them to the outside so that I wouldn’t even need to open up my binder to take notes. I used gorilla glue for this because I found it was the strongest when holding the sticky notes up. Oncethe glue dries, you’ll have a cute binder equipped with sticky notes for easy note taking and reminders without having to pull out an entire notebook to jot down your thoughts. Tip: Don’t glue the sticky notes to the very top of the binder – glue them to the edge of the clear plastic. This way, you’re able to replace your scrapbook paper without having to tear off the sticky notes!


Washi tape is probably my favorite thing. This last DIY isn’t really a DIY, but more of a suggestion. To add some flare to any of your school supplies, add some washi tape for

decoration. This works for staplers, tape dispensers, notebooks, binders folders, pencils, pens, and the list goes on. Washi tape is a beautiful creation!

My hope is that you’re able to go back to school (or work!) feeling good about your new supplies. Stay focused, stay organized, and rock this school year!


Gloria is a journalism major who happens to love puppies and french fries probably a little too much. Her hobbies include fashion, cooking, DIY, and binge watching Breaking Bad with her boyfriend. Coming from the heart of Tucson, Arizona, Gloria hopes to create content that will inspire others to voice their personal creativity throughout their own lifestyles.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply