Last week I was asked by a lovely reader (hi Natalie) if I would be able to share some easy and budget friendly ideas to make and sell at a school fair. I've shared a few simple tutorials and ideas on the blog before, but they're a little bit scattered in the archives, so I thought I should put together a post that shares them all in one spot.
Let's start with pencil toppers! They're a nice simple project that you can whip up yourself, but if you have a tribe of parents helping with the fair it's even better - one parent can cut out all the felt, another can hand stitch on buttons and embellishments and a third parent can do the final machine stitching. I made a heap of these for our school fair several years ago and they sold really well for $1 - $2. Pop them all in a nice mason jar (tied with string) and tie a shipping tag with the price onto the jar. The pencils can be bought at a stationery store - from memory I bought a pack of 10 pencils for $1, which is only 10 cents per pencil, plus a few cents for the felt scraps.
Here are the tutorial links for you:
- Christmas pencil toppers - great if your stall is having a festive section.
- Bear pencil toppers
- House and car pencil toppers
- Babushka pencil toppers
These craft and pirate show bags were a number one seller at the school fair - the pirate ones were so popular that we could have sold double the amount that we made!
The kraft bags (brown and white) were bought in bulk from a stationery supply place - around 50 cents each from memory. I stamped 'cool craft' on the front with some big alphabet stamps - the school might have some of these in their art room that you can borrow. The pirate skull and cross bones were created by making a stencil from cardboard and then I sprayed over the stencil with black paint.
Inside the bags we put the following:
Cool Craft: We filled with donations from parents at the school - pretty paper cut up into squares, a few buttons in a tiny ziplock bag, fabric cut into squares, pipe cleaners, tiny pom poms, embroidery thread cut into manageable lengths and basically anything else that people had donated to use for the craft table that we were unable to make into something special to sell.
Pirate Bag: These contained a weathered map (printed off the internet, stained with watered down coffee and sprayed with glimmer mist) before being rolled up and tied with a scrap of fabric. We also made leather eye patches (a circular piece of leather for the patch and tied with thin elastic), cut out cardboard swords and painted them gold, made a fabric bandanna and a red fabric waistband. The bandanna was just a simple square of fabric and the waistband was a rectangular piece of fabric. There are a few photos of the pirate maps HERE and you can see the cardboard swords drying HERE. These were slow to move in the first hour, but then a ripple effect was created - tiny people started wearing the pirate outfit at the fair and carrying the show bag around, then EVERY small person in the universe wanted one!
People are always reading books and these are an item that you can whip up quickly with minimal materials and time. I wrote a tutorial for an easy fabric bookmark the other day, but you can also make these simply by joining two pieces of felt together and adding a nice button or a few beads at the top, like I did above in the left hand side photo.
Felt food is probably my favourite school fair project to make. Felt is so reasonably priced to purchase and there are a mountain of cool food tutorials on the internet these days that you can use to create your goodies with. These can be presented nicely in little cellophane bags (you can use this simple tutorial) and are usually a fast seller - try and keep your prices affordable so that little people can buy them with their gold coins.
Here are a few of my own felt food tutorial links:
Let's talk playdough! Pop a notice in the school newsletter and ask if parents can donate simple ingredients (flour, salt & cling wrap are a must) to be turned into playdough for the fair. Playdough is ALWAYS popular, is easy to make and can be rolled into individual 50 cent/$1 balls (wrap with cling wrap) to be sold on the day. Little people always want playdough!! Glitter playdough is lovely too - I have a recipe for that HERE.
Bobby pins with simple buttons are another win/win that you can make with a hairslide, button and a hot glue gun. Pop three of these on a little square of cardboard and you have a pretty item to sell. You can find my simple tutorial for these HERE.
Need an idea to pass on to all the non-sewing parents? Little photo books are perfect - you just need to find somebody who can take nice photos of some toys (or anything fun, really), print off the photos when they're having a photo printing special day at a local store, cut a few sheets of paper up and staple them into position. Tutorial HERE.
Little beanbags were another big seller at the school fair I helped with a few years ago. Again, pop a notice in the newsletter and ask for donations of nice fabric and bags of rice. HERE is the tutorial link for those.
I also have a few favourite ideas that I've found around the internet - click on the link below to take you to the source:
- Crayon roll tutorial
- Felt mask tutorial - You could simplify these and omit the fusible webbing.
- Painted rocks - Design your own, but I love THESE ones.
- Easy needle holder - this one is another one of my tutorials - I made a box full of these at our school fair and they sold out, so I thought I should squish it in here.
Still looking for more goodies to make? Pop over to Pinterest and do a little search for school fair ideas, you'll literally found a zillion things to keep you busy.
I hope this was of some help to Natalie and perhaps some of my other readers that have a school fair in the horizon. You're very welcome to use, make and sell anything from my above tutorials.
One last thing, I do think presentation is a big key to selling a lot of stock on the day - borrow lots of nice baskets from parents and friends to display everything in. Shoe boxes are great for this too, just cover them with plain paper and use the back of the box to clearly display your prices. Take the time to write nice signs for your stock and in the last half an hour consider having a massive 50% off sale - I think it's better to clear everything out so that it doesn't need to be stored for next year!