Back to School Bucket Teacher Gift

Just when the wheels are falling off the summer bus, it's time for school.  And all the stay-at-home or work-at-home mamas say AMEN!

To start off every school year, I make these "Butter Up" Buckets, I mean Back to School buckets for my son's teacher.  I can never do enough for our teachers and sending him to Meet the Teacher with a bucket of goodies ensures a scholarship-worthy year, right?  

This is such an easy DIY project and every teacher I've made one for so far can't stop gushing over it.  You will earn mad points with your child's teacher, I promise, if you make one this year.


  • Gallon paint bucket (Home Depot or Lowe's)
  • Scrapbook or fancy paper
  • Decorative accessories 
  • Mod Podge
  • Ribbon
  • Knobs

For the first year, we have a male teacher so I got to make a manly back to school bucket.  I found this gold stag Americana Decou-Page Paper, which was perfectly rustic and masculine. 

First, I traced the circumference of lid around the accent paper.  Using Mod Podge I glued it in place.  Once dry, I removed the excess paper with an exacto knife.  I've learned the hard way, this method is far easier than trying to cut the paper beforehand to the right size. 

I followed the same procedure gluing the paper around the bucket.  The trickiest part is cutting around the handles.  First, I wrapped the paper around the bucket and cut a small hole for each handle.  Then, I cut the DecoArt paper in half and glued each half around the bucket. With the paper in place, simply make the hole to the right size for each handle. Once the paper was dry, I removed the excess around the top and bottom with the exacto knife.  

To match the rustic paper, I found burlap ribbon at the Dollar Store and made a rope medallion as an accent. For the top handle, I found a weathered wood knob at Hobby Lobby.  

Now, for a feminine version of the back to school bucket!  These ikat decoupage papers from Americana had kind of a peacock vibe and I loved the bright colors. 

The Christmas aisle at Hobby Lobby has fantastic decorative accents to dress up these back to school buckets.  How PERFECT is the peacock feather?!!!

Using hot glue, I attached the denim and lace ribbon and then the peacock feather on top. 

The final accent was the mirror glass knob, which came from Hobby Lobby of course. 

It was so fun making both manly and girlie versions this year!

Since my son has multiple teachers this year, I made one more version. There are so many creative ways to dress the buckets up.  

More Americana decou-page paper and decorative elements. 

You can always think out of the box for decorations.  The bird was a scrap booking element! 

If would be shocked if my son doesn't get an A+ for these Back to School buckets, wouldn't you?  

In case you're wondering what to put INSIDE the buckets, here is a list of some of the items we've used:

  • Gum/mints/candy
  • Fancy pens/pencils
  • Colored highlighters
  • Protractor/compass 
  • Note pads
  • Sticky notes
  • Decorative tape

And this year, I added something extra special...custom back to school sugar cookies from my friend at LPC Creations.  Not only are her cookies works of art they are delicious.  Seriously, they are sooooo good I got an extra box for me!



I'd love to see your version of Back to School buckets and if you've already missed the Back to School window, please save and pin for next year!