Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo
...simplifying life
Chica and Jo

Back-to-school organizer for keepsakes

by: Jo

Back-to-school organizer for keepsakes
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I can’t believe Little Jo is entering the third grade this year and Mini Me is right behind her! I want to preserve the school memories for my girls, so when Michaels offered me the chance to contribute a fun, crafty idea for their back-to-school campaign, I knew what I wanted to do immediately. The “how” took a bit longer to decide.

I knew I wanted to create an organizer that I could use to put special papers and awards in for each year for my girls. The goal was to record a few memories without it being an overwhelming task. I also wanted to restrict the size so that it wouldn’t be a bear to store and the girls could take the organizers with them one day when they left the nest for good. We won’t think about that right now though — I don’t want to cry on my keyboard!

I went to Michaels to shop for my supplies. I loved this scrapbook file tote and knew it would work perfectly.

school work organizer

I headed over to the paper aisle to select some scrapbook papers to use as both my color palette and as embellishments for my box.

school work organizer

I wanted to add initials to the front of the box and I have always loved the scroll frames available at Michaels. I purchased one and painted it in Americana Tangerine to match my papers.

school work organizer 3

After my paint dried, I cut a piece of scrapbook paper to mount to the back.

school work organizer

For the initials, I made letters to match the colors in the scrapbook papers and of course, turned them into a convenient downloadable alphabet template to share with you!

school work organizer

I cut my initials out and then used some Dimensional Magic to make them stand out a little more.

school work organizer

I already had some adhesive cork liner lying around, so I thought it would be fun to make the front of the tote look like a bulletin board. I just glued it in place.

school work organizer

The top of the tote has a removable tray section. I wanted to make it look like a chalkboard without it actually being one. I primed my surface with Americana Multi-Purpose Sealer and then used regular acrylic paint to make it black.

school work organizer

Since the scrapbook paper pad I purchased only had two sheets of each design, I photocopied one of the pages so that I would have enough of the pencil border to edge out my chalkboard on top.

school work organizer

I painted “Class of 2026” on the chalkboard-look top with white acrylic paint and then sealed everything down with Americana Decoupage Matte.

school work organizer

With the box done, I next addressed the folders inside. I found these really cool labeling pockets in two different sizes at Michaels. I wanted to record things like their favorite things during that year, a school schedule, what they want to be when they grow up, and a sample signature to see how their handwriting changes each year. I made little colored boxes to slip into these self-adhesive pouches.
school work organizer

To help you do the same at home, I added those boxes to the same printable download with the letters and numbers. I affixed one of each label to each of the file folders. By the way, the tote comes with three folders, so you will need to purchase extras to have enough to make one for each year of school.
school work organizer

Here’s how it looks all put together!
school work organizer

school work organizer

As you see below, I used cork sticker tags from Little Yellow Bicycle to label the folders.

school work organizer
school work organizer

The beauty of this organizer is that lots of things will fit in the large folders, and you can add specialty folders later for a special activity or sport such as swim team, band, or academic team.

school work organizer

school work organizer

Michaels offers a 15 percent discount for teachers every day. And if you need a large quantity of one back to school item but don’t see enough on the shelves? Michaels offers a bulk ordering program where you can order as many supplies as you need and save up to 20 percent. Don’t forget to download the Michaels app so that you will always have the latest deals and coupons at your fingertips in case you need last minute school supplies. I am never in line without the app open on my phone!

Back-to-school organizer for keepsakes
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We are two best friends sharing our creative journey. You never know what we will be into each time you visit. We could be throwing a unique party, refinishing a flea market find, or whipping up a new cupcake recipe. We invite you to join us for the ride as we tackle life one project at a time!

Please visit Chica and Jo at http://www.chicaandjo.com for more DIY projects and clever ideas!