Looking for something unique for your favorite teachers? Here are 10 thoughtful — and useful! — teacher appreciation gifts to say thank you to a special teacher.

Teachers display an enduring commitment to your children’s education, and their hard work should be recognized. Showing your appreciation with a sincere thank you and a thoughtful gift can mean a lot to a teacher. Whether it’s Teacher Appreciation Day, back to school, end of school, or another special time of year, you can find a small yet meaningful way to say thanks to each of your child’s teachers.

Gifts like fruit baskets or bouquets of flowers, or a simple gift card, are all things any teacher would be happy to receive. Another type of gift to consider are personalized items that they could use in or out of the classroom.

Tip: Get your child involved in selecting and personalizing the teacher gifts and adding their own special touch. If you’re purchasing a gift, have your child write a note or create a drawing for the teacher. If you’re going the DIY route, let kids help create the gift for their teachers. Being involved will make the project more fun and the gift more genuine — and it might even help your kids appreciate their teachers a little more.

10 unique teacher appreciation gifts

These custom teacher gifts are fun to personalize with a teacher’s name, subject, grade or school details, and more. For the DIYers out there, we included do-it-yourself tips and links to resources on how to recreate these personalized teacher gifts yourself!

Here are the 10 best teacher gifts that can be customized for each recipient.

teacher appreciation gifts Mini Metal Bucket

1. Mini Bucket Pencil Holder

These colorful metal mini buckets are a great, inexpensive gift option for any teacher. The personalized bucket becomes a mini gift basket that can be filled with the teacher’s favorite snacks, homemade treats, chocolates, candies, or school supplies. The teacher can then use the bucket as a pen and pencil holder or for storing paper clips, rubber bands, erasers, or anything they wish. The bucket can even hold a small plant, such as a cactus or succulent, or be used as a candy jar.

DIY tips

You can find plain mini metal buckets at most craft stores (they are often sold in bulk). Use stencils and spray paint to write your own message or create a printed design that you can glue right on to the bucket. Another option is to paint the bucket in chalk paint and then use chalk markers to write your message. That way, the teacher can easily repurpose the bucket. Or you can have your child decorate the bucket with letter stickers to create a special message for their teacher.

teacher appreciation gifts Canvas Tote Bags

2. Teacher Tote Bag

What teacher can say no to a sturdy, handy canvas tote bag that has been personalized just for them? This one features colorful hand prints and the quote “A teacher touches a life forever.” Customize this tote with any two lines of text to include the teacher’s name, school, grade, or a special message. This tote bag comes in two sizes, and the design is available on coffee mugs, notepads, mouse pads, and other items.

DIY tips

Create a similar tote bag by purchasing a blank canvas tote and a set of acrylic paints or fabric paints from your local craft store. Apply the different colored paints to your child’s hand to make three handprints. Then, once the paint is dry, paint or stencil on the red hearts inside each hand print. Add lettering using stencils or printable iron-on letters to add a custom message to your tote.

Photo Clip Holder Teacher Gift

3. Photo Clip Holder Block

This fun photo clip holder is a clever take on a picture frame that can be quite functional. Teachers can use it to hold notes and reminders, postcards and invitations, pictures, envelopes, and more. The wooden block base is personalized with a special message for the teacher below the quote “It takes a big heart to shape little minds.” It’s a small gift that can become a useful desk accessory or pretty decoration on any teacher’s desk or shelf.

DIY tips

You can buy blank wood photo blocks from a craft store, and then decorate and customize them with a stencil and craft paint, or create the block base yourself using clothespins as photo clips. All you need is a strong glue, wooden clothespins, and 2-inch square wooden blocks. This DIY tutorial walks you through the steps to creating your own wooden block photo holders.

Teacher Candy Jar

4. Teacher Candy Jar

A glass candy jar with a special message for the teacher is a good option for a simple, cost-effective gift that any teacher will like — especially if you happen to know the teacher’s favorite sweet cravings! This design can be personalized with any two lines of text below the quote “Teaching is a work of heart!” Simply fill it with some sweets or snacks, and your teacher appreciation gift is complete.

DIY tips

The easiest way to create your own personalized candy jar is to make a colorful tag with your message and simply attach it to a mason jar with a ribbon or twine, or cut out a circle and glue it to the top of the lid. You can also glue an object to the lid of the jar, such as a bow, faux flower, or small toy. Another option is to print out your design on a sticker you can then apply to the side of the jar. If you want to go all out, paint the jar with acrylic paint or apply a printed image to a jar with decoupage.

teacher appreciation gifts Oval Wood Sign

5. A Classroom Sign

A personalized wall sign that teachers can use to decorate their classrooms is another popular gift idea that’s simple and unique. This design can feature the teacher’s name in colorful letters along with a personalized message, such as the grade they teach or a short inspirational quote. Any educator who receives this sign would be proud to display it in or on the door outside the classroom.

DIY tips

Create a similar wall sign at home using an MDF board, chalkboard spray paint or chalkboard contact paper, and chalkboard markers. If using the chalkboard spray paint, spray three even coats, letting each coat dry in between. If using the chalkboard contact paper, peel up the first 2 inches of the paper backing and line it up with the top of the MDF board. Carefully peel away the paper backing while smoothing out any bubbles or wrinkles as you move down. Once the contact paper is down, cut off any access at the edges. Write your favorite teacher quote or phrase and your teacher’s name using colorful chalkboard markers.

Teacher Stationery

6. Teacher Stationery

Note cards, notepads, sticky notes, and other stationery items are no-brainer gifts for any teacher, and personalized versions make a welcome addition to any teacher’s desk. Customize any design with the teacher’s name, initial, school name, classroom name, grade level, and other personal details. Choose from education-themed designs, such as fun yellow pencils and apples with heart-shaped cores, or more general stationery sets featuring an elegant touch that go beyond the classroom.

DIY tips

For personalized DIY paper note cubes, the easiest route is to purchase a non-personalized note cube and create your own design with markers, crayons, colored pencils, or stamps on each of the four sides. You can even recruit your kids to draw something for their teachers!

For personalized DIY notepads, start by printing out the notepad pages with the design you created, cutting them to size, clipping them together with binder clips, and running a layer of glue along the top of the notepad. (This step-by-step tutorial from the Pinning Mama is very helpful.)

For personalized DIY note cards, you can purchase blank cards with envelopes (plain white or color) and use a stamp to create your teacher’s initial or monogram. Or, print your design on cardstock, cut to size, and fold the note cards to fit your envelopes. (This tutorial from Centsational Style is helpful for the latter method.)

Teacher Flower Pot

7. Teacher Flower Pot

For a truly unique and personal teacher gift, customize a flower pot you can fill with easy-to-grow succulents or cacti. This custom engraved flower pot includes the teacher’s name and one of four designs with clever quotes like “Teachers plant seeds of knowledge that grow forever” or “Teachers that inspire will really make you bloom.” Your child’s teachers can keep the flower pots at school or take them home to have a daily reminder of how appreciated they are.

DIY tips

Create your own personalized flower pot by painting a terracotta pot you can find in most home improvement stores. Acrylic craft paints and spray paints are the best to use on clay pots. Before you start painting, make sure you clean the pots with water and a brush (so the paint sticks), and dry them thoroughly. You can also seal the pots with a clear multi-surface waterproof aerosol sealer before and after painting; this will ensure your paint lasts longer and your work is protected over time. For lettering, you can use a stencil or vinyl letter stickers, or simply paint them on with a brush for a more homemade look and feel.

teacher appreciation gifts custom name plate

8. Acrylic Name Plate

If you know your child’s teacher could use a new name plate, personalize one as a gift. This beautiful acrylic name plate offers a new, trendy font with a classic yellow pencil design that can be customized with a second line of text. Include the teacher’s classroom name, school name, grade level, subject, or room name, or simply leave it blank.

DIY tips

One way to create a name plate is to use a block of wood, chalkboard paint, and colorful pieces of paper. Another option uses scrabble letter tiles hot glued to spell out the teacher’s name on the scrabble letter holder, with a sharpened pencil below for a nice effect. This idea works best for names with 10 letters or fewer. (Find the tutorial on Modern Mom Life.)

Personalized Teacher Card

9. Teacher Card & Gift Card

A great teacher gift option is a gift card, which the recipient can use for books, arts and crafts supplies, games, puzzles, posters, and other classroom essentials. Make your gift card more special by presenting it with something your child made for the teacher. This can be a hand-written thank you letter from the child, a drawing, a painting, or one of our personalized teacher cards that can be customized with a teacher character, name, and special message.

DIY tips

To create your own DIY coloring card, draw a simple design by hand or print one out on heavy cardstock paper. You can download coloring pages with a teacher theme, such as this one that simply states “My teacher is the best.” Adjust it to fit on half the page so you can fold it into a card, or print out a full page and write your message for the teacher on the back.

teacher appreciation gifts teacher trophy

10. #1 Teacher Trophy

A truly exceptional teacher deserves a gift that lets them know just how much they’re appreciated — such as this wooden desktop trophy that proclaims them as the #1 teacher. Customize it with any title, name, and a message below, all custom engraved in the natural alder wood or one of four colors of stained wood.

DIY tips

Most craft supply stores offer a blank trophy or award — whether made of wood, ceramic, or plastic — that you can decorate and personalize for your child’s favorite teacher. Or, for a more authentic gift, design an actual custom trophy for a reasonable price. And, of course, you can also create your own trophy from recycled materials, such as a plastic bottle!


Kasia Lorenc is a writer and editor at Personalization Mall, covering gifting, home decorating and more.

1 Comment

  1. That Mini Bucket Pencil Holder is awesome. Surely gonna gift this to my teacher.

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