The following post is from Kristina of Toddler Approved:

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I have intense gift giving anxiety. If I want to thank someone I love or really appreciate, I think about what gift to give to them for weeks and weeks… and then when I can’t figure out something special or thoughtful enough, I resort to procrastinating. This typically leads me to the gift card aisle at the grocery store on the morning that I am supposed to be giving the gift. Does anyone else have that problem? (I love gift cards and loved receiving them as a teacher, but sometimes I want to do something that shows a little more effort).

I really admire people who have the ability to create thoughtful, sweet, and creative gifts. I love receiving them and wish I was better at giving them. My son and I have loved his preschool teacher this year, so we got started working on an end of the year gift a few weeks early. One of my favorite gifts that I received as a teacher was a set of felt flower pens that our classroom “room mom” had my students make for me. This week I decided to recreate that adorable gift and personalize it a bit with photos of my son saying “THANKS!” I have used the pens I received for years and every time I see them still I have great memories of the students who created them for me. I’m hoping my son’s teacher likes them just as much!

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This project wasn’t that hard but does require a few special things that you might not have lying around.

Materials Needed for Photo Flower Pens:

  • colored felt (we used 6 different colors)
  • fabric scissors
  • flower template (we used this one)
  • ball point pens
  • floral tape
  • hot glue gun/glue sticks
  • puffy paint/glitter glue pens
  • photos
  • colorful buttons
  • vase or flower pot
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Directions to make Photo Flower Pens:

1. Use your flower template to help you cut out several felt flowers. We used 12 flowers to spell “Thanks.”

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2. Decorate the felt flowers with puffy paint or glitter glue pens to add a personalized touch. We painted 6 flowers and left 6 flowers blank. I tried to encourage my four-year-old to not just put giant globs of paint every where. We enjoyed trying out different colors, designs, and motions to see how the paint would fall onto the felt.

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3. While you let the paint globs dry, snap some photos of your child for the backs of the flower pens. Here are a few examples of what we did. I just printed out the letters in the word “THANKS” on some card stock and then my son gave me all sorts of crazy expressions while I snapped pictures.

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4. Print out the photos on photo paper so that they are small enough to stick on your felt flowers. Ours were approximately 1 in x 2 in.

5. Use hot glue to attached one photo to each felt flower that hasn’t been painted.

6. Use the floral tape and wrap it around 6 pens to make them look like stems. Floral tape gets stickier as your wrap it, so wrap it several times up and down the pens, and it should attached to them.

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7. Once your puffy paint felt flowers are dry, sandwich the pens in between them and hot glue them together. Have a painted flower on the front and a photo flower on the back.

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8. Add any other glue gun embellishments you want. My son liked adding different colored buttons.

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9. Stick the pens in a cute vase or flower pot and give them to your favorite teacher or friend as a gift! I typically like to add a $10-15 gift card to a favorite treat shop inside the gift as well so that the teacher can go relax and celebrate at the end of the year.

source: Toddler Approved

These are a few other homemade gift ideas I’ve collected that would be fun to give as a teacher appreciation/end of the school year gift:

The nicest gift I think you can give a teacher is a thoughtful note expressing your gratitude and a year’s worth of support and help.

Do you like to make homemade gifts for teachers and friends or do you prefer store bought ones? What is the most thoughtful or creative gift you have received or given? If you are a teacher, what  has been the best gift you’ve been given? 

Kristina is a mom of 2 and a former Special Ed teacher for children with communication disabilities. She blogs at Toddler Approved as she looks for ways to make life a little more fun and creative with her kids while embedding learning into everything that she does. Kristina tweets as @ToddlerApproved and can be found on FB and Pinterest.