Back-to-School Theme Upcycled Craft

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Originally published on August 4, 2014. Updated on June 26, 2019.

Looking for a cute back-to-school theme craft to make with upcycled items? You could make these as a fun kid’s activity and also give them as a teacher gift.3 school themed decorated blocks stacked on a clipboard with 3 paperclips in foreground


I found a big bag of wood blocks at the thrift store. I love looking for items to use in upcycling ideas and crafts. I was so excited to try making crafts with Jenga blocks. (Spoiler – I had so much fun with this upcycled back-to-school theme craft that I made a bunch of recycled Jenga block crafts) .

Back-to-School Theme Craft


Upcycled Back to School Blocks - Organized 31

Step One

Decide what back-to-school theme designs you want to make. Some popular back-to-school ideas that work well on these blocks are:

  • Chalkboard
  • Bulletin Board
  • Ruler
  • Pencil
  • Eraser
  • Name Tag
  • Notebook
  • Loose Leaf Paper
  • Crayons

Once you decide on your back-to-school themes, choose your craft paint and either paint marker or permanent marker colors.

Upcycled Back to School Blocks - Organized 31

Step Two

We just painted one side of each block with craft paint, but you could paint the entire block if you wanted. We liked that you could see the natural wood color of the blocks from the side and top.

Let the paint dry well. Unless you paint on a very thick coat of paint, it should only take 20-30 minutes to dry.

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Step Three

While you’re waiting for the paint to dry, use scratch paper to draft your block design. You can trace the outline of a block and then draft the design in that space. Only your imagination (and drawing or painting skills) are the limit to this back-to-school craft activity.

Step Four

Add your back-to-school theme design to the block. We found it easiest to use the paint pens and permanent markers to draw the designs. These pens gave us more control than painting with a thin paint brush. But if you are a talented artist, then by all means use a paint brush to create your block design.

Upcycled Back to School Blocks - Organized 31

The entire project took about 45 minutes with drying time and cost only pennies since we already had the craft paint, paint pens and markers.

If you wanted to make this back-to-school ideas craft with younger children, you could use purchased stickers to make it easier for children to decorate the upcycled blocks. They could paint the base color on the block and then add the stickers.

You can use this back-to-school craft to:

  • Spend crafting time together with kids
  • Take the opportunity to talk about going back to school as you craft
  • Create a personalized teacher gift idea
  • Encourage kids’ creativity through crafting

The great thing about this back-to-school theme craft is that you can still use the block to play a game of Jenga when you’re done.

Pin this image for crafting inspiration later.Collage of 2 images - 1 pile of Jenga blocks, the 2nd a stack of 3 decorated school themed blocks on clipboard

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  1. Hi Susan – I love it when J comes to visit you… it seems like you always have fun together and make super cute things. What a fun idea to make these blocks for a back to school craft. Perfect for a teacher gift or even on a mantle to celebrate the season. Hugs, Holly

  2. What a great idea! We happen to have a Jenga set in the basement that is missing pieces! Now I know what to do with them!

  3. Pingback: Back to School Blocks

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