DIY Personalized Teacher Tote

Teachers gifts are usually something you see parents handing out at the end of the year and we happily send a gift as a thank you to the amazing teachers our children have been at school with each year, but I always like to send something small at the beginning of the year, too. The first weeks of school are busy and challenging for teachers with many new names to learn and routines to create. So something simple to show you are supporting them as a parent goes a long way.

This year I created a simple notebook tote bag personalized with the teacher’s name. It’s practical and just the right amount of personal. Plus, as a bonus, it was easy to make and didn’t cost much money.

Teacher Tote Bag


You will need:

That is it!

You could make the lines for the paper by painting or drawing them on, but I thought it would add a nice texture to stitch them on. Don’t be scared! I’m pretty much the worst seamstress ever, but even I could handle this project.

First, draw straight lines with a pencil and ruler every two inches across the  bag horizontally, leaving a bigger space for the margin at the top just like on a real piece of lined paper.  If you feel confident in stitching a straight line with out help you can skip this step.

Then draw one vertical line down the bag. I just eyeballed the spacing but it was about 2.5 inches from the left edge of the bag.

Next simply follow the horizontal lines with the blue thread in a simple straight running stitch and the vertical line with the red thread.

To add the name I used the Silhouette and Silhouette brand heat transfer paper. I used the font “Learning Curve”, and I love the look – but would recommend (after a lot of trial and error!) a thicker, bolder font. The texture of the canvas bag made the thin lines a challenge to keep neat and legible.  (I think I maybe pressed to hard with the iron and it shifted slightly too.)

* a few tips on using this paper- remember to turn your words in reverse so that when they get ironed on they will go the right direction. It should look like this:

Teacher Tote Bag


Also, the paper doesn’t need the sticky mat when run through the machine – it goes through on it’s own.

Next you iron the name on. Place the name where you want it on the bag, then place a piece of fabric over it and run the iron on top of  it for 30 seconds with the iron set to the cotton setting. (We highly recommend doing a practice transfer first to get the feel of the paper!)

And there you have it, a lovely personalized teachers gift, for not a lot of money.

Teacher Tote Bag

 You could fill it with snacks, a new book for the classroom, something homemade or nothing at all since it’s a great gift on it’s own!

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