35 Money-Saving DIYs For Teachers On A Budget

Here are some resourceful DIYs that will turn cheap and everyday objects into something useful for the classroom.

1. Use free boxes from the post office as paper bins.

Cover them with pretty paper or fabric. You could also use cereal boxes.

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2. Turn them into mailboxes for your students.

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3. You could also use them as magazine or book holders.

They’re roomy enough that you can fit some school supplies in there, too.

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4. Make book dividers with paint stirrers and alphabet stickers.

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5. Use old water jugs as makeshift cubbies.

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6. Use a cookie pan, washi tape, and magnets to make a “Where Are We” board that easily keeps track of students.

“I used a $3 cookie pan from Dollarama, washi tape from Michaels and labels from Staples. I’m going to print out the students names on magnetic sheets and then they will be in charge of moving their name around.”

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7. Make pockets for your binders using zip-loc bags and duct tape.

Great for storing grading stickers!

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8. Cover six-pack holders with duct tape to use as supply holders.

They’re already compartmentalized!

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9. Use detergent caps and strips of velcro to keep pencils in place on desks.

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10. Mix 1 cup of salt, 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of water and food coloring in a condiment bottle to create cheap and easy paint.

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11. Keep cards, game, and puzzle pieces in baby wipe containers.

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12. Use old Crystal Light containers to keep markers and chalk pens on the board.

Attach them with magnets or velcro strips.

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13. Stuff old t-shirts with pillows to create a nook for a reading library.

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14. Keep glue-soaked sponges in plastic Cool Whip or yogurt containers as a non-messy way to distribute glue.

Put the lids back on when storing, and these little glue dabbers will last you a long time.

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15. Save tempera paints in takeout sauce containers.

Teresapea / Flickr
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16. Glue tin cans to a lazy susan for the arts and crafts table.


You could also just glue them together if you don’t have a lazy susan.

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17. Use placemats for the reading circle.

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18. Reuse large paint buckets as seats.

Find out how this teacher made these.

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19. If you need something lower to the ground, go for some DIY milk crate seats.

Find out how this teacher made these here.

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20. Cover water bottle boxes with fabric.


Hang tags off of key rings attached with pipe straps, which you can easily find for cheap at any hardware store.

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21. Cover old frosting containers to store small objects.

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22. Or cover them and use them to store crayons or markers.

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23. During quiet reading time, just have the kids flip their chairs around and give them pillows to lounge on.

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24. Instead of beads, use 1 cup of pasta, 2 tablespoons of rubbing alcohol, and 2-3 drops food coloring.

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25. Cut up cardboard boxes to create privacy screens when students are taking tests or doing work that requires a lot of concentration.

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26. Make a really fun pair of dice with a large sponge and color coding stickers.


Use a hot glue gun so the stickers adhere well to the sponge.

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27. Plastic plates can become individual whiteboards for students.

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28. Melt down broken crayons in a film canister or prescription bottle to make new, giant, awesome crayons.

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29. A sponge in a plastic bag works as an ice pack when someone accidentally falls down.

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30. Use paint chips to create a pretty classroom calendar.

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31. Cut up paint chips or scraps of colored paper to create student assessment cards.

“Important for students to begin to self-assess learning and needs—while roaming the room during these times, teachers can use these as quick and fast checks for understanding where he/she is most needed at that time”.

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32. Pom poms glued to the end of dry-erase markers make cheap and effective erasers.

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33. Stay organized by making your own paper organizer out of file folders.

Get the DIY here.

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34. Cover cereal boxes with wrapping paper to make homework in/out bins.


Attach them to the wall with sturdy 3M mounting stickers.

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35. Use a dish draining rack as a charging station.

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