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Give Old School Supplies New Life With Summer DIY Projects

Used school supplies don't have to take the summer off.


School’s out! It’s summer, but now you’re faced with the aftermath of used school supplies from the previous academic year. The crayons are worn and broken, the notebooks partially used, the pencil case full of crayon fragments and pencil shavings. What to do with these remnants of the school year past?

Resist the urge to dump the whole lot into the trashcan. School supplies can be given new life as summer projects! Here are a few suggestions on how you can transition those leftovers from school-year necessities to fun summer vacation activities.


Obviously, whatever projects you don’t want to hang on the wall and keep for posterity can be tossed into the recycle bin (as long as they don’t contain paint, glitter or other adornments). But what about the unused portions of those composition books or spiral-bound notebooks? Writing and drawing projects are great summer activities, but kids are sure to balk at an old notebook with the word “Science” or “English” blazoned across the cover. Instead, take the pages from those used books, and make them into fun, new notepads, perfect for a vacation diary, doodling, or summer scrapbooking. Here’s a step-by-step guide to giving those half-used, boring school notebooks a fun new life. You could even turn that old composition book high tech, repurposing it into a cover for your iPad.


Crayons can be used for a number of projects outside of just coloring. Once a crayon is broken or worn down, it still hasn’t lost its usefulness. Crayons can be melted down into new shapes using candy molds or ice-cube trays, and made into candles or sun catchers. Using just the old crayons and some waxed paper, you can make hearts or other shapes to hang in the window for a colorful decoration. Instructions can be found here.

Pencil Cases

Aside from the crayon-and-pencil shavings lingering at the bottom, pencil cases are still perfectly usable. Just because you might be buying a new one in the fall doesn’t mean you have to throw the old one away. These handy pouches can store anything from actual writing supplies to sewing and craft supplies. And, they can make great, simple first aid kits that can be stored in your home or even in your car’s glove box. The re-uses are endless: Create on-the-go craft kits with a small notepad, some crayons and other writing utensils. Or use these handy cases to hold toiletries or jewelry when traveling.

Even though school is over, using a little creativity, you can give used school supplies new life instead of sending them to the landfill.

Get even more inspired with these extra reuse ideas from non-profit organization Teacher 4 Teachers.

If craft activities aren't your thing, then consider donating your used supplies to a nearby school or other local organization that can put them to good use.


How have you repurposed used school supplies? Share your ideas in the comments!

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  • Lynne H. 1 year ago
    Please do NOT throw away your mascara wands. Instead, clean JUST THE WAND with dawn soap, place them in a ziploc bag and mail them to a Wildlife Refuge accepting donations. These little wands are able to be upcycled to clean away oil, larvae, fly eggs, mites, infections, mud and other contaminants from wildlife. Works great for medical care and wound treatment

    Pick your refuge to mail to:

    Appalachian Wild
    P.O. Box 1211
    Skyland NC 28776


    Wildlife Wands
    P.O. Box 1586
    Southwick, MA 01077.
  • Chris G. 2 years ago
    We used to make artwork with small broken crayons. We put them between wax paper and melted them with an iron (with a towel over the wax paper) and then framed it and hung it on the wall.
  • Marilu K. 2 years ago
    I took this list over to my former school so teachers can challenge their students to implement these ideas and come up with additional great uses
  • C G. 2 years ago
    We homeschool and hardly waste a thing. I've seen tons thrown away at public schools and even took some stuff home that would have been thrown away. Now we use that stuff for homeschool. I teach "waste not, want not."
  • lisa k. 2 years ago
    As long as they aren't too dirty, pencil cases make perfect sized makeup brush holders also , Ladies!