Ask Design Mom: Teacher Gift

Ask Design Mom Question:
Hello Design Mom. I’m looking for inexpensive but useful teacher gift ideas. Got anything up your sleeve? Thanks in advance. Courtney C.

Design Mom Answer:
Great question, Courtney. And you’re in luck. Just yesterday, Jill Means sent me a terrific idea for a teacher gift. It’s something every school teacher uses in their classroom. She sent photos, a full tutorial, and a free pdf template. Take a look at what Jill created.

“This upcoming week is the last week of school for my kids. We usually do a little appreciation gift for each of their teachers. This year they wanted to give something to ALL their teachers, not just their homeroom teacher. And my daughter Sydney is now in middle school with 7 teachers. That’s 15 teacher gifts! I saw this idea of putting a personal message inside a soap bottle at my mother-in-law’s house and decided to see if it would work. (I’m not sure where the original idea came from.) Teachers do lots of hand washing in their classrooms, so at least it’s useful.

-I bought the soap at Target… on sale for $1 per bottle.
-We removed the labels with “Goo Gone”.
-I created the new label template using my kids’ personal silhouettes, but you could also have each child draw a little picture with pencil in that space and trace it with black marker.
-Take your print to a copy shop and have them print it on transparency. Mine was $1 per sheet that included 8 labels.
-Next, cut the squares — cut INSIDE the black guide lines of each label so you don’t see the edges of the transparency in the soap.
pen the soap, slightly roll the square and put it in. Use the tube of the spout to guide it into place.
-Screw the top back on and it’s done.”

Click here to download the free label template — just add the name and a simple illustration. Also. If you want a custom silhouette, Jill can create one for you for a small design fee — you’ll find lot’s of uses for them. Contact Jill here.

What about you, Clever Readers? What are you doing for the teachers in your life this spring?

57 thoughts on “Ask Design Mom: Teacher Gift”

  1. We have a lot of teachers in our family. As much as they love little gifts from the kids, it’s the useful ones that they appreciate the most. I’ve given colored sharpies nad dry erase marker sets to my daughter’s teachers. The markers are things that the teachers love and use, but never splurge on for themselves.

  2. married to a teacher: no gifts are necessary or expected, really. but if you are inclined to make a kind gesture, go with non-sweets. Each year (and at christmas) my husband comes home with a laundry basket full of giant candy bars, soda pop, popcorn, mystery sweets. The soap, school supplies, book labels are great ideas. The favorite gifts though, are simply sincere notes from students and/or parents.

  3. We usually give gift cards to the book store or a place to go out to eat. This year, my daughter’s preschool teachers were exceptional, so I am giving them collapsible baskets, with note cards (Target clearance) and a potted flower. I’m splitting the cost with another mom so it’s not too much. My mom used to teach preschool and always had frames, candles, etc that were very pretty but not exactly her taste. I figured that the teacher could use these totes to carry things to school, go on a picnic, etc.

  4. These are great!

    My friend made two awesome show and share bags for the preschool. They were using black bags from a promotional products outlet, so now they have two hand made cotton totes. The kids can fill the cute bags with their loved items and bring them back for show and share with the class!

  5. I hope you don’t mind me telling you about a new product I just created but I was using it the other day at a coffee shop and a teacher was there and told me how much she loved it and how great it would be for teachers because they all drink so much coffee and tea to get through their exhausting days. It’s a reusable coffee sleeve called a snuggmugg. Lots of different designs and you can even personalize it.
    Love the soap idea though!!!!

  6. Thank you so much for sharing this great idea and free template! I love Jill’s work–thanks to your recommendation last year I hired her to create our Christmas cards and have never received so many compliments on them. Wish I’d seen this idea a few days ago–would have made for much cuter, and usable teacher gifts. Next year!

  7. Thank you for sharing this! I was about to buy a plant for my girls’ teachers, when I saw this post. I immediately set to work. Grabbed the camera, snapped some profile pics of the girls, cut out and colored the silhouettes in Photoshop, printed out a page of tags, headed to Staples and made 1 copy on transparency film, swung by Target to buy soap, then back home. I already had Goo Gone in the house, so cleaning the sticker residue from the bottles was a breeze. I tied some pretty ribbon we already had around the bottles with some handmade gift tags, and dropped each one into a brown paper bag the girls decorated with stickers.

    This was SO FAST AND EASY and creative and fun, and AFFORDABLE! They were a big hit with the teachers today.

  8. Hi this is awesome by the way. I have a printer that would print on transparency but were do I get the transparency sheets? And do they have adhesive on the back? Thanks so much! I just saw your blog today via modern kiddo. Thanks!

  9. I made stationery for teachers since that’s second nature for me, but I love this idea.

    Feeling like a dingbat, but I have to ask: how does the transparency stick into place? Static cling effect or with help from the soap? And is it hard to get it into perfect position/centered nicely?

    Has anyone tried it with hand sanitizer? That would be practical, too…especially for classrooms with no sinks.

    Thanks for sharing…Linsey

  10. I love this template!! It is beautiful! I am wondering if it’s possible to get it where I can change the wording. My daughter is in a spanish immersion class, and I would love to have the words be in spanish. I’m not sure how to do this?
    Thanks for the wonderful idea!

  11. I LOVE this idea. One question though — the free downloadable template is a PDF…how am I supposed to customize it? Am I missing something? Thanks!

  12. Loooove this idea! I’ve been trying to add my daughter’s name plus a picture but I can’t :( this pdf file won’t let me…HELP!!!!!!!!!!

    1. I love this idea, however, the same thing happened to me. I created my own template and printed it on transparency film for ink jet printers and as soon as I placed it in the bottle the ink began to come off. I’m curious to know if using transparency film for a laser printer would make a difference. Any comments???

  13. Hey… I would love to do this for a friend og mine monogrammed with her initials for Christmas…. How could I design a template?

  14. you can’t modify a PDF. Once the template was saved as a PDF from its native program it is now a “picture” and not a document.

  15. This is really cute! I like the idea of the hand sanitizor too.
    As a teacher, my favorite gift of all time was a cookbook in a basket with the ingredients to make one of the soup recipes. The mom even included little bundles of the herbs needed! YUMMY

  16. As a teacher I think it is wonderful that all of you are giving gifts to your teachers. In elementary school, I would come home with ons of presents from the students. Now that I am in middle school, I might get one card.
    Suggestion: teachers are always spending money on school supplies for the classrrom. I put a crate together each year for my children’s teachers including paper towels, hand sanitizer, kleenex, copy paper, construction paper, pens, dry erase markers, colors, glue sticks, etc. Any one of those supplies would be a welcome gift from one of my students.

  17. Christine Rosas

    Just wanted to say thanks! Using the template to make Easter gifts for my daughter’s teachers! I scanned in her name in her writing and had her draw a picture which I scanned in as well. Great idea! Thanks so much for sharing!

  18. I love this idea so much. I went out and got everything to make it before realizing the template is a pdf file. Is there a way to get it in a different format?

  19. Great idea. I used to teach preschool and useful gifts were always appreciated, oh and editable ones too LOL.

  20. Love it! Can you post it as a picture and not a PDF? I’d love to be able to add my daughter’s name.

  21. LOVE this idea but can’t figure out how to personalize it with my boys names. Any suggestions?

  22. I’m wondering if you use an ink jet printer would it smear once you put it in the soap? Do you have to use a laser printer? What’s the importance of taking it to a print shop?

  23. This is the cutest! I so would love to do this, but I am not computer savy, and need help or directions on how to edit to add my childrens name.

    Thank You!

  24. It warms my heart to know there are people who actually think of their child’s teacher(s). When my children were younger, I always remembered their teachers with little gifts throughout the year, and personally wrote a letter at the end of the year. As a teacher myself though, it is rare that many of us where I work are thanked for the rewarding and tough job we do. To all of you mothers who make the time to thank your child’s teacher……bless you and keep spreading the love! What a BIG difference it makes in a teacher’s day!!!

  25. This idea is genius. I never would have thought to insert the design into the bottle. I kept trying things that you paint or stick on the outside. Thanks!

  26. Our school PTA really does a big deal for Teachers Appreciation Week (gifts all week long, events every day like potluck lunch, waffle bar, etc.). They also suggest that every kid bring a small gift each day, stuff that teachers need/want:

    Monday – Bring your teacher a needed school supply (Post-it Notes, Sharpie markers, pencils, etc.)
    Tuesday – Bring a note or card for your teacher saying what you appreciate about them
    Wednesday – Bring a sweet treat for your sweet teacher
    Thursday – Bring a ream of paper for your teacher
    Friday – Bring a $5.00 Target gift card for your teacher

  27. Fabulous idea!!!
    Here are some tips- I tried editing and could not do it either. A friend suggested using adobe photoshop. They have a free 30 day trial. I was able to do it all with photoshop, although it took a long time. The hardest part for me was changing Teacher to paraprofessional on some. Another way to do this would be cut and paste with real scissors….
    Only problem I have now is that it sank to the bottom of the bottle…

  28. Since I don’t have Photoshop to type in my child’s name, I opened up the pdf file and did a print screen of the PDF and pasted it into word. I formated the design and cropped all the parts I didn’t need. Then I inserted text boxes and wrote my child’s name in a font I liked. Rather than use my child’s profile I opted for and inserted a pretty image of an apple. I printed it off and brought it to my local print store and they copied it onto transparency. I put a ribbon to match the apple and voila – so pretty

  29. Since I don’t have Photoshop I opened up the pdf file and did a print screen of the PDF and pasted it into word. I formated the design and cropped all the parts I didn’t need. Then I inserted text boxes and wrote my child’s name in a font I liked. Rather than use my child’s profile I opted for and inserted a pretty image of an apple. I printed it off and brought it to my local print store and they copied it onto transparency. I put a ribbon to match the apple and voila – so pretty

  30. I tried getting the instructions on how to get the labels printed for the soap or sanitizer bottles but neither instructions or contact number are available. I would love to learn how to do this or get then done.

    1. I tried getting the instructions and free printable but was unsuccessful. Can someone send me the PDF file for the free printable or direct me to where I can access it? Thanks!

  31. This free template URL is expired … Or something like that. When I click it, it says it’s no longer available! I love this template. Please help!

  32. The link is inaccessible. I absolutely loved this idea but can’t print. Does anyone still have the original PDF to download?

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