Recycled paper thumbtack rose teacher gift idea

As the school year finally wraps up here, I thought I would share what we created to give to teachers this year.  One of these years I will share this ahead of time for you… okay… with 4 kids that probably won’t happen, but here’s hoping.

I know that if you have kiddos, you have more than your fair share of papers coming into your house.  Homework goes out and it seems like then 3 papers come in.  A long time ago I set a rule on the things coming in.  If they were not 100% self generated kid creations, they went back out in the recyclables!  Of course there are some exceptions to that rule but its been a pretty good one to keep.

Now teacher gifts are sort of one of those touchy things.  As a therapist, I would often get tokens of thanks at holiday times and when I was saying good bye at discharge to someone.  In most places, I was actually not allowed to receive gifts so sometimes gift receiving actually put me in a really awkward position.  Over the years I have asked lots of teacher and therapist friends what they would like to receive if they had to pick.  Overwhelmingly, a simple hand made card is the winner. With that in mind, along with my own rule of handmade, I have tried to keep year end and holiday teacher gifts simple and usable.

Of course at this point, if you follow my blog, you know that I have a slight obsession with flowers.  Love em!  So this year, I thought we could make some pretty paper flowers to give to the teachers.  Who doesn’t love flowers?  Keeping them functional, we turned them into pretty push pins!

There are tons of ways to make paper flowers but I wanted to keep this kid friendly, warm weather and low energy friendly and well, easy.  Because most of the instructions online are for scrapbook paper or construction paper, I choose to add some *oompf* to these flowers with a coating of mod podge.  I also thought it would help to seal them and keep them looking pretty for much longer.

You will need:

  1. school kid paper with lots of writing or illustrations (we used the remaining pages of the at home math workbook)
  2. scissors
  3. ink pad (we used Tim Holtz distress inks in various colors)
  4. paint brush
  5. modpodge (or white kid glue would work too!)
  6. hot glue/gluegun (can omit if you simply want to hold flower in place with white school glue to get it to stick firmly.  Could use other fast acting glue- always with caution and good ventilation.)
  7. thumb tacks
  8. pencil, pen, chopstick or other round item (not necessary, but nice!)


Using the ink pad, add some color to the pages.It does not have to be exact or precise.  If not using distress ink, barely  and unevenly scrape the surface of the paper to leave spotty color.  Can use more than once color if desired.  Repeat on back of paper if needed, being careful not to saturate.  Allow to dry.


Cover front of paper with modpodge or white glue using brush (or fingers) to spread a thin layer evenly over surface.  Do not need glue to get precisely to the edges. Allow to dry and repeat on the back.  (Repeat color/glue steps for all flowers to be created to help with activity wait time!)

Once both surfaces are dried completely, (about 30 minutes per side- depending on heat and humidity) cut out a large circle from colored/glued area.  Keep circle within glued area to ensure flower paper is sealed nicely. It does not have to be precise!


Beginning on outside edge, cut the paper in a spiraling pattern around toward the center of the circle.  Keep the thickness of the cuts fairly consistent if possible.  You will end with a large round spot.

Beginning with the small edge, place the inside cut edge toward your round item and begin to wrap the paper around the pencil/pen/chopstick. Let it wrap loosely but keep bottom edge aligned as much as possible. Continue until you get to the large round part. At this point, align bottom edge and pull tighter if needed.  Carefully place some glue onto the round part center and then slide the flower off the pen/pencil/chopstick and adhere to glue. Hold if necessary to adhere.  Careful with hot glue!


Once glue is dry, apply small amount of glue to bottom and adhere tack.  Allow to dry and voila!  Beautiful flower pushpin!


Really a simple little gift and one that my kiddos did almost entirely by themselves.  The non-perfect nature of this craft gives each flower its own beauty I think.  We added a note and put these on some homemade letter corkboards and voila!  You could totally put magnets on the bottom too.  Such a versatile little upcycled project!


Here is a video tutorial of the basic idea- except I didn’t start with a perfect circle, didn’t add the fringe and let the wobbly cutting skills of my kiddos add the petal “variation.” 🙂


If you are looking for other recyclable paper ideas, check out this paper pad!  For other teacher gift ideas, pop over here!

Thanks for stopping by!

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