Graduation on a Budget

Time for a complete break from my posting themes of late!  I’m all half-marathoned out and have nothing more to share (well, I did get an email yesterday containing the proofs of pictures that were taken of me during the run and they are funnyyyyyy but they all have PROOF stamped on them in giant red writing so I won’t share–and sorry but I’m not spending $25 for the rights to one picture).  I’m going to shift gears today and write another DIY post.

I am the media specialist at a high school.  One week from tomorrow the 74 seniors at my school will be graduating.  I’m not sure how high school graduations work where you live, but here’s how things go in North Dakota: several weeks before graduation, students begin sending out graduation announcements.  These announcements almost always include invitations to the student’s open house/after-grad party.  Teachers often receive several/many open house invitations.  This is where I think North Dakota is weird, because my friend from Chicago did not understand that at all–maybe it has to do with the smaller school size and the fact that we are able to get to know more of our students.  

Anyway, as of today I’ve gotten several open house invitations.  I will not be able to attend any of these open houses because many of them are Memorial Day weekend and my youngest sister is also graduating that weekend, so I will be in Dickinson celebrating her.  Since I can’t make it to their parties, I want to give them a gift beforehand.  I know my dad (who is also a teacher) usually gets a card for every student who gives him an announcement and puts $10 inside.  That can get expensive reallyyyyyy quickly, and since I’m a new college graduate living on a teacher’s salary, I needed to think of a different option.  My thoughts immediately went to DIY, and I took to Pinterest.

It took about 7 seconds and I found a solution to my problem:

ImageDon’t you seriously freakin’ love Pinterest?

When I clicked the picture it just took me to a static image (one of my major pet peeves) but this was simple enough that I could figure it out.  I made my list and was off to Hobby Lobby:

-Mason jars (one for each announcement received)
-Black cardstock (I got one sheet for each student but that ended up being way too much–better safe than sorry)
-Candy (I had to go to Target for that)

That was it.  It was probably the easiest and cheapest Hobby Lobby trip I’ve ever made.  I took my supplies home and got to work.  

First, I used a piece of ribbon to measure the circumference of the jar.  It ended up being about 10 inches, so I cut strips of cardstock that were 10 in long and about an inch thick.  I debated on what to use as a connector, and ended up going with good ol’ Scotch tape. I taped the strips in a circle and then cut the top of the motarboard.  Here’s where this project gets a little embarrassing.  I’m a perfectionist, so I laid my ruler across the top of the jar and figured I wanted the diagonal of the square to be about 5 inches.  I broke out the formula for a 45-45-90 isosceles triangle and determined the length of the sides of the square (if you do this project you don’t have to be quite so OCD, but fyi for a 5-inch diagonal the sides of the square are about 3.53 inches).  I cut my squares and taped them to my circles.  Then I just filled the jars with candy, tied a ribbon around the top and voila!  My graduation gifts:



I think they are pretty damn cute.  Unfortunately, my Hob Lob was out of the 2014 ribbon so I just went with red (one of the school colors).  I hope my students (girls and boys) will like them, and best of all they were cheap.  I also got these gift bags at 50% off, tissue paper, and a card for each student.  With all those things included I spent about $6/student.  I took the time to write a pretty heartfelt message for each student.  The gifts aren’t much, but I think my students will think they are cute and appreciate the effort!


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