Teacher Appreciation Gift: Painted Photo Tote

craftskids crafts

Hey, friends!  I'm Amy, aka One Artsy Mama, and I'm thrilled to be here at Mom It Forward today to share a special project idea with you. We all know that Mother's Day is right around the corner {holla!}, but did you know that Teacher Appreciation Week is May 8-12?! Talk about two groups of people who deserve a whole lot more thanks, recognition, and cool presents than they get on a daily basis...mommas and teachers!

My "Little Crafter" doesn't start Kindergarten until this coming fall, but he does have a special teacher in his life. Every Saturday, he goes to a "Little Dragons" Karate class where the instructor, Ms. Michele, teaches her students not just kicks and punches, but respect, self-discipline, and character. We wanted to create a special little gift to let her know that we appreciate her and her dedication! Recently, I polled the peanut gallery {aka the One Artsy Mama Facebook Community} and asked all the teachers out there what gifts they love to receive. A huge majority of them said the same things: they love gift cards and anything handmade by their students. So, that's exactly what we decided to do!

A Perfect Teacher Appreciation Gift



  • Small tote bag {ours were 3/$1 at Walmart}
  • Fabric paints
  • Photo, printer, and photo transfer paper
  • Fabric glue
  • Stamps and/or a cute little finger

First, I found a sweet photo of Ms. Michele awarding LC his self-discipline medal at a recent belt test.


Then, I printed it on photo transfer paper. This is the point where I wanted to be able to say "follow the transfer instructions and iron it on."  Except that when I did that, it melted one of the tote bags. Completely. We're talking "hol-ey tote bag, Batman!" So, on to plan #2. I turned the iron waaaaay back to a much cooler setting, which didn't really set the transfer. What finally worked was gluing the transfer on using fabric glue, putting a heavy book on top, and then going around it with fabric paint to seal the edges after the glue dried. If I were you, I'd go that route first, especially if you don't have extra tote bags to burn...literally.


Once the photo part was done {and dry}, it was time for the fun part! Little Crafter couldn't wait to get his hands on the bag and decorate it! First, he did a few rubber stamps dipped in fabric paint to add a few flowers and hearts.


Then, in true little-boy style, he decided it was much more fun just to use his fingers.


Once he decided it was perfect and declared he was all done, we let it dry completely, then filled it with the goodies: a Starbucks gift card, and something every teacher needs--hand sanitizer. Ta da! I think it turned out super-adorable, and I know she's going to melt when he gives it to her.


Thanks so much for letting me share our fun project with you. If you enjoyed it, we have plenty more where that came from! I would absolutely love for you to stop by One Artsy Mama sometime and check out some of the other tutorials for kids' crafts, as well as some for home decor, jewelry making, crochet, and all kinds of "big kid" crafts too. You can even enter the five round craft competition I'm hosting, One Crafty Contest and/or vote for your favorite projects. I really hope to see you there!

Hugs & Glitter,



Amy Latta is the author of One Artsy Mama, where she shares a variety of project types including home decor, kids' crafts, sewing, jewelry, and more.  Recently, she published her first e-book, Crochet 101, to help beginners learn basic crochet stitches and techniques.  She is happiest when creating something and enjoys making all kinds of projects with her 4 year old "Little Crafter." In her spare time, Amy is a professional ballroom, latin, and swing dancer.  When not on the dance floor or crafting, you can probably find her at Starbucks.


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