Because life’s celebrations shouldn’t cost the Earth

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Teacher Appreciation Gifts ~ Tutorial

Upcycled Gift Box

Scroll down for step-by-step instructions....

The children and I got creative over the weekend and made some adorable school themed gift boxes.  They are the perfect size for holding small presents or perhaps a few yummy home baked goodies.  We also designed and printed various tags including 'Back to School', 'First Day of School' and 'Top Teacher' versions.

They were very easy to make, simply using the bases of two upcycled fizzy drink bottles.  The little polka dot fabric leaf was free motion embroidered onto a scrap of green felt.  To make it an even more family friendly project, you could draw a leaf shape onto card or paper for a young child to colour.

I am going to put one on the breakfast table for each of the children on the first day back to school in September, filling them with cute rubbers, loom bands and a new memory stick for holding homework. 


Two empty plastic bottles
Red tissue paper
Red ribbon
Gift tag
Small scrap of green felt
Small scrap of green material

Scissors or craft knife
Black thread
Sewing machine
Computer for tag (optional)

Step One
Carefully cut the bottom from two plastic bottles. They often have a line around them which can be followed but a height of anywhere between 4 and 8 centimetres is ideal.

Step Two
Cut or drill a hole in the base of one of the plastic pieces and insert a twig as the apple’s stalk.

Step Three
Cut a leaf shape from the scrap of green material and layer it onto the felt.  Using your sewing machine, stitch around the leaf, adding in veins.  Go over each line twice and aim for a ‘sketchy’ feel to create texture and interest.  Glue the leaf into place next to the stalk.

Step Four
Wrap a little gift in red tissue paper and pop inside the bottom apple piece.

Step Five
Create your apple by placing the two bottle halves together.  Depending on the thickness of the plastic you might be able to gently insert one piece just inside the other.  If your bottles are too rigid for this simply use clear sticky tape to hold the two halves together.  Glue or tie a length of red ribbon over the join.

Step Six
Create a gift tag with suitable wording, ‘Back to School’, ‘First Day at School’ or ‘An Apple for the Teacher’ all work well.  Tie to your gift box with twine or ribbon. 

What will you put in yours?


  1. Awww, this is so adorable. What a great way to recycle old bottles. Always wonder what to do with that bit as I sometimes use the tops to protect my seedlings from slugs, like a mini greenhouse.I bet your children think that you are the best Mum ever. xx

  2. What a brilliant idea! You're a creative genius! Jxo

  3. This is really cute, Josie! What a great recycle of plastic, and such a simple way. Sew easy!

    Happy weekend,

  4. Such a clever idea, and so sweet.

  5. What a lovely idea and very sustainable :)

  6. This is such a great idea, it looks great. Love your stitchy leaf too! xx

  7. Ooo that's such a fab idea!!!! Xx

  8. What a great idea! The machine stitched leaf is such a lovely touch too.

  9. It looks great, I'm sure any recipient would be delighted with it, you're so creative.

  10. So cute, great idea, and recycled too !!

  11. love the idea what great work

  12. Aww these are so fun! Aren't your children lucky to have such a lovely mum :) x

  13. Wow, How did you see a potential half apple from the bottom of a pop bottle? This is so clever, and cute, and useful, and lovely!

  14. That is so cute - fantastic idea you have such creative vision to spot an apple gift box from the bottom of a drink bottle - I am always so impressed with your fabulous ideas!