Personalized School Supplies

July 27, 2010 9:58:10 AM PDT
Your children probably do not want to hear this, but it will soon be time to shop for school supplies. It can be expensive. The average family with children kids in kindergarten through 12th grade spent about $550 last year getting ready for the new school year, according to the National Retail Federation. But there are ways to stretch the budget. Jo Pearson from Michaels, the arts and crafts specialty retailer, has several ideas to refresh old supplies and personalize new ones.

You can get your children started on these projects if they have time on their hands as summer winds down. You can find the materials you need for these projects at Michaels stores throughout the Chicago area and Northwest Indiana, including the newest store at 3131 N. Clark St. in Chicago. For locations, visit www.michaels.com.

Shrinky Dink Zipper Pulls

This is an easy and fun project for kids to revamp last year's backpack or add a personalized touch to a new lunch box or sports bag. Kids can make large designs of school mascots, favorite sport or symbol and watch them shrink down to a zipper pull size.

Approximate cost per key chain is less than $2.

Need:
Shrinky Dinks Frosted Ruff N 'Ready shrink plastic
Colored pencils
1/4 inch hole punch
Pattern of design
Key chain
Scissors
Toaster oven

Steps:
1. Select a pattern and place it under the Shrinky Dink plastic (rough side of plastic up)
2. Use colored pencils to outline your pattern, personalizing as desired
3. Cut out image, use punch to punch hole at top (The hole will be for the key chain later on.)
4. Bake image in the toaster oven following directions on the Shrinky Dink package.
5. Let cool
6. Attach key chain

Chalkboard T-shirt:
Kids always try to revamp their existing wardrobe or get new items to help build confidence and start off the new school year with style. The chalkboard t-shirt is a unique project that kids can play with and wear. This is also a fun way to reuse an old t-shirt.

Approximate cost is $6.

Duck Tape School Binders and Pencil Box:
Duck Tape is making a comeback this year and has deviated from its traditional silver, now available in colors like hot pink, neon green and yellow. Zebra, camouflage and leopard patterned Duck Tape also adorn shelves. This project not only adds some style to classic school supplies but helps make them more durable for the school year.

Approximate cost for the materials and binder/pencil box is $8.

Personalized Clipboards:
A personalized clipboard makes doing homework on the go an easy task for kids that have multiple extra curricular activities. It also helps organize multiple homework papers and keep them in one place. They can be personalized with sports, color and design preferences.

Approximate cost is $8.

Back To School Frame:
This frame is a colorful and playful project to help cherish first day of school memories with a picture. You can also fill it with corkboard to make it a bulletin board that shows off good grades on homework assignments, tests and report cards.

Approximate cost is $10.

For more ideas, visit www.michaels.com


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