Making a One-of-a-kind Lunchbox

Making a One-of-a-kind Lunchbox

Reinvent lunchtime with DIY projects your kids can get behind.


Nothing says “back-to-school” like a new lunchbox.

Some kids get used to the ritual of going to the store and purchasing a new lunch bag each year, and we have definitely been in that pattern for some time. But this year, when I looked around and saw the shelf of lunch boxes in the basement, I figured it was time to take a new approach to our yearly back-to-school lunchbox quest.

I asked my kids to choose one lunchbox from a previous year (or one of their siblings’ bags) that we could doctor up, so to speak. At first I’ll admit there was some push back, but after sharing with them pictures of the possibilities they were on board.

This year, my daughter wanted to “make” her lunch bag, and since the boys weren’t getting new ones I challenged her to base the design on what we already had lying around the house.

So we’re mixing it up this year and it feels good. My daughter found a fun outdoor, waterproof tablecloth (also called oilcloth) to use for her bag. I chose some canvas fabric.

Reusable Lunch Bags

Choose the material you like — canvas, washable cotton or oilcloth work well. And don’t be afraid of the sewing on this one — it’s beginner level sewing, and if it took longer than ten minutes to sew I wouldn’t be talking about it.

Materials

Fabric: canvas, cotton or oilcloth
Scissors
Sewing machine
Optional: clothespin

Instructions

  1. Cut main piece of fabric to 29 1/2 by 8 inches and two side panels, each 12 1/4 by 5 inches 


  2. Fold long panel, inside out, into U shape with 5-inch bottom
  3. Make 1/4-inch cut at bottom corners of side and middle pieces so bag folds smoothly
  4. Sew-in side panels, leaving 1/4-inch seam allowance
  5. Turn right side out and topstitch all around, 1/8 inch from edge

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DIY Blackboard Lunchbox

The boys loved the idea of taking an old box and adding a message board. We all know that packing a note in your child’s lunch has become all the rage over the last decade. Parents will go above and beyond by sketching out complete scenes of characters or cities, while others simply write, “Jimmy, EAT YOUR GRAPES!”

Either way, I think we can all agree that finding something special — like a personalized note from Mom or Dad — can make all the difference in your child’s day. Instead of sticking with the same old pen-and-paper lunchbox letter, here’s an easy craft you can do together to transform a lunchbox into a mini blackboard.

Materials

Metal lunchbox (the old-school kind)
Chalkboard paint or spray paint
Foam or bristle paintbrush
3/8-inch decorative ribbon (optional)

Instructions

  1. Make sure that your metal lunchbox is cleaned out before getting started
  2. Using a foam paintbrush, paint the inside of the lid with chalkboard paint (or spray paint). Paint three coats, waiting about an hour between each coat
  3. When you’re sure the lid is dry (wait until the following day to be certain), you’re ready to write a special note
  4. Optional: If you’d like to add a little more flair, use tacky craft glue to trim the lid in ribbon

Just a Little Touch Up

For a super simple — yet still good-as-new option — you can always just give the outside of last year’s lunchbox a facelift. Whether you have fabric insulated bags, traditional lunchboxes or some other variation, use permanent markers, washi tape, ribbon, fabric paint, glitter, button or any craft materials you have on hand.

How do you do lunch? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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