Rollercoaster Mum: Teachers Presents - Decoupage Magazine Files and Notebooks


Friday, 18 July 2014

Teachers Presents - Decoupage Magazine Files and Notebooks

Teacher's presents - decoupage files and notebooks
I'm hoping the teachers will like our efforts! 
OK so I realise that this is a little late but if you don't break up 'til next week (like us) and you are fresh out of ideas this is still possible! If you are anything like me I feel there is a certain obligation in Primary School to do some sort of teacher's present, especially at the end of the year, not so much from the teachers but from the kids. They don't want to be the only ones not giving anything. The problem is how to give something they might actually want or use without spending a fortune or going down the predictable wine or choccies route. And of course something which doesn't take forever to do.

Last year we did yarn wrapped pen pots and I was wondering how I might top that when I saw a post on Red Ted Art about decoupage notebooks. The ideas flowed - what could we decoupage? Inspiration came from a trip to Ikea where they had decorated plain wooden magazine files which I thought would be perfect. I wasn't entirely sure how to decoupage or whether we needed fancy glue but after a bit of googling I reckoned we didn't and it looked easy enough for the kids to do to. 

Project Decoupage - Teacher's presents

You will need:
Ikea Knuff plywood magazine files (£6.75 for two)
Big pot of PVA glue (we used Wilko's - £1.50 for 500mls)
Squares of decoupage or origami paper (or just cut up old magazines) - we used a pack of Tiger stores Origami paper (£1.00)
Pot for glue
Optional -
Clear, quick drying varnish
Washi tape (we used some from Wilko's which was £2 for a couple of rolls)

Decoupage craft, teacher's presents

It really is very easy. Make sure that you have covered the work surface with some sort of cloth (not paper as it might stick!) as it does get very sticky!

Prepare the paper squares or shapes that you want to use. We practised first with pictures and patterns cut from magazines but for the teacher's ones we used squares of origami paper.

Take your magazine file (or whatever it is you are decorating) and paint some glue on it, choose a piece of paper, stick it on and cover with glue. Keep doing this, making sure to overlap the paper as you go and try not to wrinkle the paper, putting it on as smoothly as possible. Keep going until you have covered the whole file. You may need to fold it slightly around corners or cut it a little to go over the curves. Once it is all covered you need to leave it to dry - we left ours overnight (balanced on a jam jar!)

If you want to add any finishing touches then you can washi tape the edges to make them smoother and paint with clear varnish to make them a bit more durable (and cover up a few imperfections!) You could even paint the inside of the files (we didn't bother with this - just too messy and fiddly).

We also decorated a couple of Wilko craft notebooks (£1.75 each) for the teaching assistants. Then the girls wrote a the teacher's names along with a little note for each teacher and I tied them on with some pretty ribbon.

That's it - teacher's present's done - pretty and useful whilst also being quick, easy and cheap (about £4 for the files and £2.50 for the notebooks.) Bigger Miss really enjoyed doing it as well, although Little Miss did get a little bored and I had to help her finish hers.

making teacher's presents, decoupage
The girls busy decoupaging (before Little Miss got bored!)


  1. I love those magazine files, it makes it so personal decorating them like your children have. What teacher doesn't need extra storage?

  2. Love these. And they are pretty quick to do, aside from the drying time.

  3. I think these are the best teacher gifts I've seen in a long time, really fabulous. You have inspired me to be more inventive next time. Mich x

  4. This is genius! I need some magazine files for home so will definitely be doing this (also locking this idea away for future teacher presents - couple of years to go until we need them... ) thanks!

  5. Great fun, and lovely the children could make it themselves (I too try & avoid the chocolate option!)

  6. These are lovely and such a beautiful gift to give.


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