If you’re looking for teacher Christmas gift ideas you can make with your kids using your Cricut machine, I’m so excited to share the items my daughter and I recently made as part of our holiday partnership with Cricut!
My daughter and I have been making gifts for her teachers since she started preschool as I feel homemade gifts are much more meaningful. These projects also allow us to spend quality time together while simultaneously giving my daughter a chance to practice her executive functioning skills – from brainstorming Christmas gift ideas, to ordering supplies, to creating a schedule to ensure we have enough time to get everything finished and wrapped in time for the winter break.
Now, full disclosure here: I’m a Cricut newbie and my sweet girl is only 10, so the Christmas gift ideas we came up with for this campaign are designed for beginners. And for those with younger kids, I’ve included tips at the end of this post outlining different ways you can get them involved so it truly feels like a mom-and-me project!
5 Cricut Tips for Beginners
Before I share our teacher Christmas gift ideas with you, I wanted to quickly provide some tips I learned while getting comfortable using our Cricut machines. For reference, we were gifted the Cricut Explore 3 and Circuit EasyPress 2 for this project, which are both fabulous tools and incredibly intuitive and easy you use.
1. INVEST IN THE RIGHT TOOLS
Since I’m an amateur crafter, I don’t have a room full of supplies at my disposal, but over the years I’ve learned the importance of having the RIGHT tools on hand whenever I sit down to create fun projects with my daughter. For the Christmas gift ideas below, you’ll need:
2. PURCHASE EXTRA VINYL
Once you’ve selected the colors for your designs, make sure you purchase a little extra, especially if you’re a beginner. Mistakes happen, and there is nothing worse than getting halfway through a project and running out of a key supply. Remember that you can always return anything you don’t use, or you can save it for another project!
3. START WITH SIMPLE DESIGNS
When we were initially brainstorming Christmas gift ideas, we chose complex, multi-colored designs, and while we certainly could’ve made these work, we quickly learned this wasn’t the best strategy for our first Cricut project. I also knew my daughter would lose steam if I complicated things, so we chose single-colored designs instead. Thankfully, the Cricut Design Space has TONS of beautiful designs you can make with just one color of vinyl!
4. WATCH TUTORIALS
Cricut machines are SO POPULAR among craft bloggers, and there are tons of tips and tutorials available online for everything you can imagine – from how to load vinyl into your machine, to easy tips for peeling the backing off transfer tape, to the best temperature to use on your Cricut EasyPress2. If you’re stumped, do a quick search online and you will have an answer and solution in minutes.
5. DO A PRACTICE RUN FIRST
This probably goes without saying, but make sure you do a dummy test before proceeding with your actual project. This will allow you to get familiar with creating projects in the Cricut Design Space, and I truly believe you need to experience the process of printing, removing vinyl, and applying transfer tape firsthand before you begin your first DIY project. It sounds so intimidating, but once you get your hands wet, you will be surprised at how easy the process is.
3 Teacher Gift Ideas You Can Make with Kids On Your Cricut
While we were brainstorming teacher Christmas gift ideas, we had an added layer of complexity: my daughter has 2 male teachers this year, so we needed to find something a little less girly than what we’ve done in the past. We wanted to find something practical with the option to add a little personalization through colors and designs, and after browsing through the Cricut Design Space, we landed on a 3-in-1 set of personalized tote bags, lunch boxes, and mugs for each of her teachers.
Personalized Totes & Lunch Bags
When I polled the moms in some of the social media groups I’m in for the best teacher Christmas gift ideas, many educators piped up to say tote bags are one of their favorite things to receive from their students since they are transporting material to and from school each day.
We agreed this would be a great starting point as we could personalize the totes with each of my daughter’s teachers names, and we could use their favorite colors so they worked for both men and women. As an added bonus, my daughter was able to choose a design for each teacher to reflect something they like. This was a no-brainer for her main teacher as he is an avid Raptors fan! #WeTheNorth
For the lunch bags, we decided to include each teacher’s name once again, but after seeing a fun DONUT TOUCH MY LUNCH idea on Pinterest, we decided to make the same design for everyone. What can I say? We LOVE donuts!
Creating these projects was very easy. Once we’d decided on our text and photos, we measured both items and started to create our designs in the Cricut Design Space.
The software is extremely intuitive in that once you type your text or add your design from the library, you can click the lower right side of the item and drag it to make it bigger or smaller. Look to the top and side for measurements to ensure it will fit on your bag.
Once you’ve created your design in the Cricut Design Space, creating your personalized totes and lunch bags is fairly straightforward. Here’s the process we followed:
1. PRINT. Once your design is ready, press the green MAKE IT button in the top-left corner and follow the prompts. The program will take you through the process of selecting the type of vinyl you’re using, remind you to load it into your printer, assess whether you have enough vinyl to print your design, and prompt you to press the start button.
2. CUT AND REMOVE EXCESS VINYL. Once your design has been printed, you’ll want to cut around it, leaving an inch or so on all sides. Next, remove all vinyl that is NOT part of your design using the Cricut Basic Tool Set. Be sure to remove the vinyl in between letters, etc.
3. APPLY TRANSFER TAPE. Cut a piece of transfer tape, remove the backing, and lay it over-top of your design. Use the scraper from your tool set to smooth the transfer tape, and then carefully lift it, making sure your design comes away from the vinyl paper backing, adhering to the transfer tape. Take your time with this process – if you remove the transfer tape too quickly, pieces of your design may not stick to it.
4. PREP YOUR CRICUT EASYPRESS 2. Preheat your EasyPress 2 and prep your work area. Place a Cricut EasyPress Mat down so the heat from your iron doesn’t damage your tabletops or, if you don’t have a mat, you can use a couple of towels as an alternative.
5. PRE-HEAT! Before you iron your design onto your tote/lunch bag, use your EasyPress 2 to pre-heat the material to remove wrinkles, etc.
6. POSITION YOUR DESIGN & IRON. Once the material has been pre-heated, position your design(s), cover it with a tea towel, and place your EasyPress 2 over-top. Set the timer for 30 secs.
7. HEAT THE REVERSE SIDE. Once the timer goes off, flip the item over and heat the other side in the same way to ensure your design adheres to the material.
8. ALLOW TO COOL SLIGHTLY & GENTLY REMOVE TRANSFER TAPE. Go slowly with this step, especially if your design is small and/or contains tiny, intricate pieces.
I admit I was a tad worried the mugs would be too finicky, but they ended up being the easiest part of our project! If you’re looking for Christmas gift ideas for younger kids to make, this is the perfect option.
To make these personalized mugs, follow the instructions outlined above to print your design, apply transfer tape, and lift it off the vinyl paper backing.
Next, make sure your mug is clean and dry, position your design where you’d like it to appear, and firmly press it onto your mug.
Use the scraper from your tool set to smooth the design onto your mug, and then carefully lift the transfer tape, making sure your design adheres to the mug.
6 Ways To Get Kids Involved In These Projects
- Design. Ask your child to do some snooping to find out some of the things their teachers like, and then allow them to choose a different design for each teacher. Cricut Design Space has lots of ideas to choose from!
- Color. Whether you’re choosing your child’s teacher’s favorite color, or making selections based on design, this is a great way to get your child involved in the process.
- Cutting. While I don’t recommend having younger kids use the Cricut Portable Trimmer, they can easily cut around designs with scissors once they have been printed on vinyl. Depending on their age, they can also cut pieces of transfer tape, ensuring the pieces are big enough for each design.
- Lifting. Older kids can help lift pieces of vinyl from printed designs, but use caution when allowing children to using weeding tools as they are very sharp.
- Applying transfer tape. From removing the backing on transfer tape, to applying it over-top of your designs, this is another easy way to get your kids involved!
- Scraping. Once you’ve completed your project, your child can help scrape pieces of vinyl off machinery, tabletops, etc.
These beginner Cricut projects are the perfect way to get your feet wet if you’ve just purchased a Cricut Explore 3 and Cricut EasyPress 2, and as you can see from the tips above, you can get kids of all ages involved in the process.
If you’re looking for easy teacher Christmas gift ideas kids can make, I hope the ideas in this post inspire you to create something meaningful.
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This is a sponsored post written by me in partnership with Cricut. All opinions are my own.
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