My First Monday Made-It! Teacher's Toolkit

Woo hoo! I'm finally a member of the Teacher's Toolkit club after having made my own last week. Here she is!

Are you thinking about making your own? Let me give you some advice.

IT.ISN'T.AS.EASY.AS.IT.LOOKS! AaaghhH! This project dragged on for DAYS for me!

Complication #1: Lowes in my city only had ONE Stack-On 22 Drawer Storage Cabinet and it was a scratch-n-dent. It was MISSING two drawers. Grr. Home Depot didn't have ANY 22 Drawer but they had one that was really tall. I had my heart set on the 22 Drawer. So I killed an HOUR trying to find it and I had to wander around Home Depot forever looking lost before I finally found someone to ask where it was, and he was so vague I *still* didn't find them for *another* 20 minutes and *then* they didn't have the one I wanted. Can you hear the whining in my voice? SO I called my husband (using the whiny voice) and he got online and ordered one from Lowes for store pick-up in the next city over. He works in that city and promised to pick it up the following day. Fine.

Complication #2: No color printer. So, I'm still limping along with my awesome black and white laser printer, but no color ink. Anytime I need something printed in color, I send it to Office Depot and pick it up there. I wanted to finish it the following day, so I tried to get the labels the right size, but it was virtually IMPOSSIBLE to know because #1 - I didn't have the dang toolkit YET and #2 - I wasn't totally sure if they would print out there the same size as at home in black and white. I even whined enough that Deniece was feeling sorry for me and sent me HER templates only to find out that mine were TOTALLY different from hers that definitely worked. SO I said screw it and sent them to Office Depot to have printed.

The next afternoon when my husband brought home the toolkit, I was so mad I didn't even touch it, leaving him wondering what the urgency was all about. It was last Monday. So Tuesday I picked up the printed labels and they were *almost* a fit. The larger sized labels could have been a tad bit wider but they fit, and I actually had to shave a tiny bit off the top and sides of the smaller labels, but it worked well enough. Oh, I almost forgot:

Complication #3: If you're buying double-sided tape for the first time, it would behoove you to read the directions. Yeah. After about 30 minutes of trying to remove the back off of the tape, someone pointed out to me that there wasn't supposed to be a back (I was up at school for summer book club, and a parent had watched me struggle). Turns out, the part I was trying to remove actually has writing on it that tells you to throw the first piece away. The piece I was trying to make double-sided sticky. Yeah. So I finally put the blang thing together, only to discover:

Complication #4: The back is seriously so totally OMG ugly. See?

I'm planning to put this on my desk which sits in the back of my room, so the back of the toolkit would face my students. I guess I've got to get some poster board or something and cover it and then put it back there. Oh, I just had a revelation. I can put a sign on the back of the toolkit over whatever back I put on there that says "DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING ON MY DESK." I'm not usually hostile and I'm a sharing kinda gal, but my pet peeve is when my students walk up to my desk and A) fondle something, or even worse B) grab a pen, stapler, etc. without asking. Well, the thought of the sign did cheer me up a little! :)

If you've made it to the end of my whining, I've got a little gift for you if you're planning on updating your own toolkit or making one. I made those small labels a tad bit smaller and I even made labels for my co-worker, who wanted one in red and black damask and chevron designs. You can grab them both or either one through Google Docs below. I'm not even posting these on TpT because I'm not going to guarantee that they work or be responsible for anyone else's toolkit except for my own! I made blank ones too. Here you go:

My labels - Ice Cream Shoppe colors in chevron, polka dot, and stripe with my ribbons.

And here's Julie's red and black (and white) chevron and damask.

Oh, a snapshot of her toolkit (not the best quality, sorry):

Oh, and if you're thinking of making your own you should also check out my friend Deniece's (This Little Piggy Reads) toolkit labels on TpT. She's got a few different designs, and trust me, you'll want to save yourself the headache. And the whining that will inevitably come.

So, with all that whining, can you believe I actually *made* something else this week? I also joined the modge-podge clipboard club. I still have several clipboards I bought from Wal-Mart so hopefully I'll get around to making the rest. Here's the one I made. Can you tell that I'm obsessed with clip art ribbons!?

So, as you can tell, I'm decorating my classroom with the colors from my Ice Cream Shoppe collection. Even though I teach middle school, my room is going to be so bright and colorful and cheerful! I started making stuff for my classroom this week and made a new set of papers just for that purpose. Here are the papers - and my very favorite one!

Aaand here are some of the labels I made with them for my homework board:

Are these bright and cheerful or WHAT!

As I start to set up my classroom and get ready for the school year (my first real day is August 12th with kids on the 14th) I'm sure I'll have more Monday Made Its to share! Check out the other links on Monday Made It!


  1. That whole debacle sounds terrible! I had to laugh though! Isn't it funny how once we have our mind set on something, and we have a specific vision of how we want something to look, how persistent we can be? Or maybe it's just teachers in general haha! Anyway, glad to see you pulled through and it came out in the end. I look forward to you posting a pic of the back of it with the warning! The clipboards look simple enough, I think I'll give that a try next month. On a side note, my giveaway is up if you want to check it out :) Thanks again for donating!!!

    Teaching in the Tongass

  2. You are hilarious ! I've been avoiding making me a box even though it's on my wish list of items to make for the summer. I liked the idea of ordering one from Lowes. Love the new papers.

  3. I just bought your Ice Cream Shoppe Stitches and Stripes. I love it!
    Grade 4 Buzz

  4. Okay, making a Teacher Toolbox is on my list of summer jobs, but you kind of scared me!! No, seriously, thanks for all the tips and tricks! Your paper and colours look amazing!

  5. Oh, I know your pain! Just as I think I have it all figured out, printed the labels, and spent a morning cutting them out only to arrive at school to see they don't fit. Love it!
    Glad everything worked out for you and you still have a modicum of sanity left.

  6. I'm sorry the project was a tough one. For the back of mine I took some contact paper that I found at the dollar store and used it to stick onto the back. It's decorative. :)

  7. Awww...I totally feel your irritation with that project. I am also in the no color printer boat. My husband doesn't seem to understand the need. He works for Staples and tells me to just send it to the Copy Center to print :-/ Not helpful. Your project is amazingly cute and now I want one! And I'm gonna do it dang it!

    Life With Middle Schoolers

  8. When I made my toolkit last summer I just cut out scrap book paper and put labels on it. Very cute!

    I totally LOL'd at the Do NOT TOUCH ANYTHING ON MY DESK SIGN...I am the same way!! lol

  9. Your story had me laughing!! That sounds like something I would have to go through. We live in a small town and I have to drive 40 minutes to get to a large store (which might not be worth the trip) or just order everything online. I love how yours turned out!! I'm sure you will love it!
    Your colors are so bright and cheery!
    Fourth Grade Flipper

  10. Bless your heart! Sorry you had such a nightmare time, but it looks great.

    I totally love the "Do Not Touch Anything on My Desk" is totally a pet peeve of mine too.

    Hunter's Tales from Teaching

  11. I also hate when students touch things on my desk. This is why they have a student cart... go get it from there!! Despite all your tribulations, the tool kit looks awesome, and your ice cream shoppe colors go very well with my Sweet Stories bulletin board.. maybe I can be a theme kinda girl after all. :)

  12. Love the ice cream shoppe theme! So cute! Sorry you had a hard time with the tool box! I had a hard time finding one as well but finally did.


  13. I made a toolkit for my room and my son's two teachers. It was a way bigger project than I expected. On the back of mine I used the same labels with no writing and taped them to the back of the drawer. Just a thought :) I was super pleased with them when I finally finished all three of them!!!

  14. I have totally been on the fence about this just sealed the deal for me. I'm not bothering. I'll keep using the 11 billion ceramic coffee cups on my desk that the kids have given me. I mean Santa and Mickey Mouse totally go with rockstars right? I'm sorry you had such a rough time, Erin!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  15. Cracking up over here -- but I'm glad you finally got it finished. I want to make one but haven't had the time. If I do decide to commit, I'm glad I read your tips first. Haha.

    Thanks for sharing!
    The Absolutely True Blog of an Almost Teacher

  16. I made that toolbox last year and WISH someone had told me this instead of just posting insanely adorable pictures.
    The Sweetest Thing
    Follow me on Bloglovin'!

  17. After seeing this, I found the toolkit where my husband works, put it on hold for pick up, and texted him to grab it today. :) I'm excited to do it! Now, off to designing the labels with your cute ribbons. I <3 yours!

    1. I'm *obsessed* with those ribbons! :)

  18. Oh cute! I love your new paper - it's in my cart:)
    I told you the first one took me FOREVER to make! That's why I made the labels just to save others time.

    Thanks for the e-mail and the shout out.


  19. KMart was sold out when I went to get my tool box. I'm glad now I read this post before I tackled the project! It looks great though!

    I am designing my new classroom and put my desk in a back corner away from students for that reason exactly. I am never sitting at my desk while the kids are working anyway. This way they have to work to get to anything!

    Suntans and Lesson Plans

  20. I totally feel your pain when it comes to Home Depot. "Hello? Is there anyone around who can help me? Hello?" And when you finally see someone in an orange apron, (usually miles away) you run like the wind to catch up with them. 50/50 that they're any help in finding what you want. Oh, Home Depot....wake up and smell the better customer service, huh?!

    Love the toolkit labels. Thanks for the freebie! If I ever get around to making it, be sure to credit you. By the way, I purchased your big digi papers kit with all frames, papers, and labels today. Love it, and can't wait to start creating with it! Thanks! : )

    Teaching Powered by Caffeine

  21. Where did you get the cute paper that you used on your clipboards!? I just purchased your ice cream shoppe papers and ribbons! Lovin' the fun colors!

  22. The red and black chevron labels are just what I need for mine!! My room colors are red and black (school colors) and turquoise. I spray painted my kit turquoise, and I wanted black and red labels.

    One question -- Is there a way to edit the labels? I have different supplies for some of my drawers. Thanks!

  23. Hi Erin!

    Okay, went to Homie Depot today and after a miles-long trek to the Flooring Dept (that's where Customer Service TOLD me I could find the toolkit), a nice guy from Electronics walked me over to Hardware. Phew!

    I'm dying to get started on this, but can't seem to figure out how to edit the labels for some supplies that are different. I want a big label for Markers because we don't have SmartBoards at our school. I also don't use some of the smaller bin supplies.

    Help! What font did you use on these? It's gonna bug me all year if they don't all match, kwim? LOL

  24. Hi Terrie! I thought I'd emailed you but you're a no-reply blogger. Please email me so that I'll have your email address and can help you get those labels matching!

    :) Erin

  25. Ok, Erin. I finished my toolkit. I told you'd I'd let you know when I was done. Check it out!

    Teaching Powered by Caffeine



Hi! I love reading your comments and like to respond through email. Please make sure you're not a NO-REPLY BLOGGER or leave your email address. Thanks! :)