Method 1 Keeping Up with New Trends
Use the internet to follow new styles and most stylish backpacks for school
ideas. Create accounts on social media and sharing sites like Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, and the like. Search keywords (like “backpack” plus “new,” or “notebooks” plus “stylish”) to find images of what’s new and hot. Sign up for groups, alerts, and RSS feeds to keep up-to-date with new products and do-it-yourself ideas as soon as they come out.
- On the other hand, if your overall style is more of a retro-look, use the internet to find images of students from that era. Love to dress the way teens did in the 1950’s or any other decade? Research the sort of school supplies they used back then with key terms like “1950’s lunch boxes” so you can complete your look.
Check out other kids’ supplies.
Sneak a peek at what your classmates are using. Use their choices as inspiration for your own. If you really like something they have, think of a way it could be tweaked to set it apart from theirs.
- Say you really like the protective case that someone bought for their tablet or some other device. It’s plaid with broad stripes and earth colors. You don’t want to copy them by buying the exact same one, so ask yourself what you like most about it. Is it the colors? The pattern? Would you be happy with the same color scheme, only with much thinner stripes? Or would you rather have the same exact pattern in totally different colors?
Don’t wait until the last week of summer to buy all of your supplies for the upcoming year. Avoid the risk of having to settle for stuff you don’t like. Buy your supplies before they sell out, and before everyone else at school buys the same thing!
- Back-to-school sales will offer discounts on a lot of stuff you need all at once, but stores and websites have sales throughout the year. Use back-to-school sales to buy essentials that you need immediately and/or don’t care too much about, and do some comparison-shopping throughout the rest of the year to find the hot-ticket items you want most when they’re at their cheapest.
Method 2 Accentuating Your Own Style
Sort out your old supplies.
Divide them by what you’d like to keep using and what you’d rather never be seen with again. Ask yourself exactly what you like and dislike about each item. Don’t judge them by looks alone. Consider how well each item works in general, so you can replace the ugly stuff with supplies that work just as well, if not better. For instance:
- Does your bookbag have enough space for all your books? When you buy a replacement, is it safe to go smaller, or will you need the same size or even larger?
- What type of pen do you prefer writing with? Ballpoint? Rollerball? Fountain?
- How advanced does your calculator need to be? Do you only need a basic one that could be found in a variety of styles, or will you have to limit your search to more advanced ones that are capable of doing what your classes require?
Coordinate with your school clothes.
Think of school supplies as accessories. Lay your clothes out and evaluate them. Ask yourself what colors, textiles, and patterns would match your outfits and which ones would clash. Know what you’re looking for ahead of time so you don’t make any impulse buys, only to find out later that they don’t go with your overall look at all!
- If you like to switch styles from one outfit to the next, but can only afford to buy a single bookbag, lunch bag, or whatever, figure out what colors and such are neutral enough to complement each outfit.
Like any piece of fashion, school supplies can make a statement, so consider what you want them to say about you. Ask yourself what impressions you hope to make on other people. Do you want to be regarded as a serious student? Do you want your classmates to think of you as being oh so mature and elegant? Or do you love being you and don’t care what other people think? Consider which you’d rather do and shop accordingly:
- Advertise your interests: Make a list of your hobbies and passions. Search online with keywords based on your list, as well as the supplies you need (like “musical notes” plus “backpacks,” or “Batman” plus “notebooks”). Find eye-catching supplies that incorporate images of things you love.
- Maintain an air of mystery: If you want to avoid being pigeonholed as, say, “Soccer Girl” or “That Guy Who Really Loves the Beatles,” shop for supplies that appeal to your sense of style without broadcasting your private joys. For example, instead of notebooks with soccer balls or the Fab Four on the cover, shop for ones whose covers are made of unique materials and/or patterns. Use designs and colors to express your tastes while leaving a little bit of mystery about you.
- Be taken seriously: If you want your teachers and schoolmates to know you mean business, adopt a more professional, elegant style. For instance, buy a leather-bound journal instead of a hot pink notebook. Or invest in a quality refillable pen with a case instead of using the same old disposable ones.
Method 3 Customizing Your Supplies with DIY Projects
Customize pencils. Either buy pencils that are already painted in bold colors, or spray-paint them yourself (be sure to wrap the erasers with tape first, as well as the sharpened ends if your pencils aren’t brand-new). Once the paint is dry, tape both ends to a hard surface to keep them in place. Next, gather lettered metal stamps to spell out your name or even a short phrase. Press the first stamp’s lettered end into a colored ink pad. Then gently hammer the lettered end into the pencil’s side. Repeat with each letter and then let the ink dry once you finish.
Make a pencil holder out of crayons.
Remove the label from an empty 6 oz. metal food can. Clean, rinse, and dry the can. Break out a 24-count box of new crayons. Apply glue along the length of each crayon and press it lengthwise to the can. Depending on how fast your glue dries, wait for each crayon to seal securely to the can before gluing the next one on in order to avoid dislodging any.
- Use colored or customized pencils for larger cans.
Make your notebook belted.
Match a belt with a hardcover notebook or sketchbook. Center the buckle-end of the belt (not the buckle itself) on the front cover, with the buckle pointing away from the spine. Super-glue the belt’s buckle-end in place. For extra support, gently hammer an upholstery tack through the belt, about midway between the buckle end and the spine. Turn the book over and glue the belt along the back cover. Turn the book over again, lace the remaining length of belt through the buckle, and poke a hole through the belt for the buckle’s tongue.
- Only use glue on the covers, not the spine. Gluing the belt to the spine would make opening the book again much more difficult.
- Soft-cover notebooks may be more prone to tearing.
Cover your books with fabric.
Go to a craft or fabric store. Find material that matches your fashion style. Protect your schoolbooks with something a little more pleasing to the eye than a cover made out of grocery bags or newspapers!
- You’ll be using glue for this, so if the book belongs to the school, cover it with paper first. Spread out a flat piece of paper and set the opened book on top of it. On the paper, trace a line along the top and bottom of the book’s covers. Remove the book and then fold the paper along these lines to crease it. Place the opened book back in its original position and trace the left and right sides. Remove the book and fold along these lines. Slip the front cover into the pocket you’ve just created on the lefthand side, and then do the same with the back cover on your right. Smooth the paper so there’s no wrinkles.
- Spread out your fabric. Set the opened book on top of it as though you’re about to read it. Trace the outline. On the left and right hand side, draw a new line to give yourself an extra inch to fold inside the covers later on (if the book belongs to you, you can do the same along the top and bottom). Remove the book and cut along the marked lines.
- Brush the outside of the book’s covers and spine with glue. Open the book and set it down with the covers facing up. Place the fabric over the covers and spine so the original outline lines up with the book’s edges. Smooth the fabric out so there’s no wrinkles.
- Brush more glue around the edges of the inside covers (if the book belongs to the school, only brush the paper). Fold the extra fabric over the inside of each cover and glue it in place. If the book belongs to you, cut slits in the extra fabric along the top and bottom, at each corner of the spine, before folding the fabric over. Once the fabric is glued along the top and bottom, trim all but the tiniest bit of extra fabric along the spine. Dab the edge of the spine with glue and fold the last bit of fabric over that to finish.
Make a book-safe.
Cover a thick, hardcover book with fabric that matches your style, or buy an extra copy of your favorite book. Hollow out the inside and glue the pages and back cover together. Use it to store your pens, pencils, and other supplies!
- Open the book to the very first page. Use a ruler to outline your inner compartment. Leave 3/4 of an inch or more between the edge of your compartment and the edge of the page.
- Slip a piece of cardboard between the last page and the back cover to protect the back cover. Use a utility knife to slice through the pages along your outline. For straighter edges, use your ruler as a guide for your blade. If you want to, use scissors or sandpaper to smooth any rough edges left over from slicing.
- Brush a light amount of glue over the outside of the pages, the insides of the hole, and where the last page touches the back cover. When you’re finished, slip some wax paper between the very first page and the front cover so they don’t stick together. Then stack other books or anything else that’s heavy on top of the closed book so all the pages remain flat as they dry.
- Repeat the gluing process. The glue’s moisture may cause the pages to wrinkle, so it’s best to apply a few coats with a little amount each time, rather than slather the whole thing at once. Wait for each coat to dry before applying more glue.
Make your own case(s) for your tablet.
Buy a bubble-lined mailer that will fit your device when you slide it in horizontally. Find fabric that matches your overall style. Or buy a bunch of mailers and several different fabrics so you can create cases to match each outfit!
- Set the mailer on a surface with the shorter side (the one without the extra tab for sealing) facing up. Insert your device all the way into the mailer, width-wise. On the side facing up, trace a line along the outside of the mailer a little above the top of your device. Remove your device.
- From the top down, cut along the seams on either side of the mailer with scissors until you reach your outline. Then cut along your outline to remove this piece from the front of the mailer (be sure to only cut the front and not the back!). Now fold the back of the mailer over the front to form a flap for your case. If you’re happy with its size, leave it. If you’d like the flap to be shorter, trim the desired length off.
- Spread out your fabric(s). Use your mailer to outline and cut out three pieces: one to line the inside of the case, one to cover both the front and back of body, and another to cover the inside and outside of your flap. Each piece will cover two layers, so remember to double your measurements when using the mailer as an outline.
- Glue, staple, or sew each piece of fabric to the mailer. Start with the lining for the inside of the case. Then do the case’s body. Finish with the flap.
- Choose two buttons that match your fabric(s). Close the flap over the body of the case and make a mark on each to place your buttons. Cut a length of ribbon, string, yarn, or similar material and knot one end around one button. Use the other end to wrap around the other button and keep your case closed.
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