Thursday, May 23, 2013

Teacher's Gifts

Yesterday was the last day of Sawyer's first year of preschool and tonight is his "graduation." Since his two teachers, Ms. Jen and Ms. Sher, have been SO fabulous this year, I have been thinking about what kind of teacher's gift I was going to give. Remember, of course, that this is my first foray into the world of teachers' gifts, but I knew that, as a maker, I wanted to give them something from my heart. Hopefully your budget for teacher's gifts is vastly larger than mine, but if not, you may agree with me that this design (not mine) fits the bill for sweet, not-too-expensive (even in Sterling wire), and not-too-hard to make.

Maybe you aren't that into hearts. Here are a few other fabulous pieces that I thought were great gift inspiration:

Or perhaps even:

Okay, so maybe that last one is a bit of a stretch. But, if Michael Boyd happens to be in your budget, that would be an excellent choice, I think!

Here's what I put together:

Teachers' Gifts 2013

I used 18 gauge sterling silver for the bracelet and 20 gauge copper sheet to saw out the heart charms, which I then stamped with 1/16" letter and number stamps. The main differences from the original design is that I added some charms (like the fourth picture above) so that I could write the year, "Thank You," and personalize the bracelets. I also added some "squiggles" by the heart to make the bracelet somewhat adjustible. Sawyer's teachers happen to be petite and I was pretty sure their wrists were smaller than mine - but I had no idea how much.

Besides the bracelets (partially because I'm never sure how excited people will be to get handmade jewelry) I also got them each a bottle of hand lotion from my favorite lotion company, Thymes. They are SO creamy and have the most magnificent scents. I figured that'd be a winner, for sure.

So, do you think I did okay for my first year of teacher gift-giving? What do you all do for your teachers' gifts? How do you handle middle school and high school when the kids have so many teachers?

I always appreciate when y'all stop by! Thank you!


  1. These are beautiful! We tried doing some squiggly jewelry (we were aiming for a tiara) with some anodized aluminum from the jewelry aisle, but it was so soft that any bump would disfigure it. :-( Is the sterling stiffer? I took a small metals class in college, but even after trying to work harden the aluminum it was still useless. I'm obviously not up on my techniques I guess.

    1. Thank you!

      Aluminum *is* really soft. I remember being so excited about the colors and price when it first came out, but the softness is a disappointment. Sterling is harder. There are two hardness choices when purchasing - soft and half hard. Soft is easier to work and is less springy. Half hard makes crisper bends but is harder to work. I usually buy soft and then tumble harden it. For a tiara, half hard might be the way to go.

      That being said, copper and brass, silver plated or not, would also work harden much better than aluminum. If you constructed the tiara by using fine wire to wrap several wires together, that would also add to the strength. Two examples of face masks using this technique are done by Laurelis Jewelry, which are amazing inspiration:
      Silver Mask
      Copper Mask