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  • By Barb Shelton

Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can

Want a creatively unique way to thank a special teacher*? Well THIS IS IT! Not only are the contents of this gift-in-a-can fun and creative, so is the way of opening the can! ( *or principal, T.A., or secretary?)

Full Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can with label / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /




Any of these occasions throughout the year would be a perfect time to give a teacher a Gift-in-a-can:

  • Start of the School Year

  • Thanksgiving

  • Christmas

  • Their Birthday

  • Valentine's Day

  • Teacher Appreciation Day/Week

  • End of the School Year

Teacher Appreciation Week is the first full week in May of each year. National Teacher Appreciation Day, also known as National Teacher Day, is observed on the Tuesday of that week. (So in 2018 it'll be on May 8; in 2019 it'll be on May 7; in 2020 it'll be May 5; in 2021, May 4.)

So, no matter where the school year's at right now, there's always an opportunity coming up to bless a teacher with one of these special gifts!



Here are a few ideas for what to include in your can:

Items contained in a Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

(This blog post contains Amazon Affiliate links. The Honeycomb Oasis Blog is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to at no additional cost to you. All items that I have given a link for can obviously be obtained elsewhere, plus other styles or gifts can be used just as well. I'm just linking you to what I myself purchased and used for this.)

This next photo includes the same items as above, but with the addition of some special-touch add-on's accessible in my free printable:

Items contained in a Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can (with Printables added) /

You can totally do this project without the free printable add-ons, but they do definitely add some cute touches!



SCHOOL-THEMED SOCKS: I love the schoolish-items socks above that I got! If those are no longer in stock or you want other options, here in the photo below are some darling pencil knee-high socks, and there's another option (on the right) that's the best deal, as it includes THREE pairs of schoolish socks!

Different types of socks / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

TEACHER'S KEY CHAIN: The one I got looks even nicer than it appears in the photo! They have these key chains in a wide variety of types, like: every sport you can think of, plus coach, cheer, dance, theater, and even animal lover! Each comes with an inspiring quote on a mini card that goes with the "key"! Plus it includes a clip-on key ring (hidden behind the quote card) so it can be easily clipped onto a key chain, backpack, bag, or purse. All of these come in a little organza drawstring bag, as shown!

Teacher key in mini organza bag / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

EARPLUGS: Of course, no teacher would actually use these in the classroom, (though they might be tempted!), but they would come in handy in a break room, especially if some peace and quiet is needed to regroup and collect thoughts, relieve a headache, or do some class prep. These yellow soft-foam earplugs are similar to the orange ones in the photo below, but they are loose ~ no longer available in pre-packaged pairs as pictured below. You can buy loose earplugs and tiny 2"X3" ziploc bags to put a pair of them in, and attach the topper (in the Free Printable) to that. (If you stick around my blog long enough, you'll see several other ways to use these little ziploc bags!)

Earplugs with topper / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

BREATH MINTS: I created a cute banner (included in the Free Printable) which can be added to whatever type of mint you have, be it Tic-Tacs, Altoids, or the cylindrical roll kind! Just attach the banner at the top with a couple of glue dots (be sure to secure the top of the mint package itself first so the pull of the banner doesn't open the mints!), wrap it loosely around the mint package, and secure it with a couple more glue dots, leaving the end free to hang off the edge a bit, as shown below. I also made a flower for the top using a flower punch, a leaf punch (which I get lots of use out of), and a pearl. (Several pearl sizes come in one package.)

Breath Mints with banner & flower / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

LIP BALM: I wanted the Burt's Bees brand so that I could use the word "bee" in the topper. The Burt's Bees Lip Balm packet that I've linked you to has four different types of lip balm "flavors" in the one pack.

Lip Balm with Topper / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

FRIDGE MAGNET(S): Can you tell what these are made out of? Regular ol' bottle caps! There are several options in the free printable. I just punch them out with a one-inch circle punch, adhere them with 3 little Dimensionals, and glue a small magnet on the back! Tombo Multipurpose Liquid Glue is a good, strong glue that has a fine tip, which comes in handy for when you glue the bottom of the can back on after filling it.

Two bottle-top fridge magnets in mini zip-loc bag / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

HERSHEY'S CHOCOLATE KISSES (OR HUGS): You can give these just as they come, with no enhancements or messages, OR use a few of the little notes from my free printable, which you punch out with a 3/4-inch circle punch, and glue to the bottom of the candy using Tombo Multipurpose Liquid Glue. Pictured below are all of the ones I made, for various occasions and school personnel ~ but you'd obviously use only a couple of these that would be appropriate for your recipient. I did a few of each. (In the one I made for the teacher of my grandson, Jonah, I included three of "A+ Teacher" and four "Thankful for YOU!'s"! That's why I included four of each kind in the Free Printable.) Here are ALL of them:

7 different Hershey Kiss label types / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

COFFEE GIFT CARD: Buy one at your favorite coffee shop for whatever amount you want. (If this was a group gift, several people could chip in money and buy a larger-amount gift card.)

To access the free printable, here are two links:

(editable, but not stable)

(stable, but not editable)



1) Start finding, purchasing, and/or creating the items you want to include in your can. This "step" is obviously multi-faceted and will take some time, so you can be working on the rest of the steps before you have all the contents of your can gathered.

2) Get a can of food with a pull-tab top + lipped bottom. This blog article explains more about this. (To prevent frustration, I highly recommend that you read it!)

3) Open your can and empty the contents (into a bowl to eat or into a leftover bin), carefully remove the label (keeping it intact, if possible), and wash the can. See this blog post for more on this.

4) Cover and decorate your can. I've given you a few ideas herein, but my blog post gives detailed instructions for how to cover it and then how to decorate it. For my Teacher's can, I just got a packet of teacher-themed puffy stickers at Michael's.

Packet of schoolish puffy-stickers that I used / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

I loooove these stickers, and they're darling, but the thickness of the stickers and the curve of the can made them not want to stick! They'd be fine on a flat surface, but I had to glue each one on individually! It was a lot of work! I'm glad I had Tombo Multipurpose Liquid Glue as it is very serious glue and kept the stickers on!

These School Days stickers ~ which are cardstock, not plastic or puffy ~ in the photo below worked very well. The cardstock easily bends, although I "rolled them" against a bone folder (as if you were curling ribbon for a gift), which made them more "prone" to staying curved, and therefore staying ON.

Packet of schoolish stickers / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

(The ruler is an actual STICKER!)

These are larger than the ones above, so, instead of putting lots them onto a band or the tag like I did, I just stuck them all over the can!

And here is the above set made into another Teacher Gift-in-a-Can!!! (I covered the can with a neutral grey stripe designer paper, put a strip of red cardstock behind the ruler, and added ribbon ties on top that matched the stickers!)

No matter what the size of your stickers, here are some basic ways to decorate your can with them:

  • Cover the can with a simple paper ~ a solid or a very subtle design, like a simple stripe or dots, works well.

  • Put a few smaller and/or long stickers onto a belly band. Put this around the top or bottom of the can so that there'll be room for the next thing...

  • Scatter stickers all over the can ~ no pattern, just helter-skelter, "floating" all over.

  • Put one, two, or three (depending on their sizes) smaller stickers on the tag.

​Here are three more schoolish sticker packs I found on Amazon... (The Amazon links are right IN the photos.)

Packet of schoolish stickers / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

Packet of schoolish stickers / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

Packet of schoolish stickers / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

Be sure to read the description and the package to make sure you know what you're getting! I found another set that looked similar to these, but was actually chip board, which would NOT work at all since they're stiff and won't bend around the can.

And then I found lots of ribbons that matched the stickers, and tied them to the pull-ring on the top.

Top of can with lots of colorful ribbon ties / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

5) Fill your can with your gift items. Use my ideas for contents, or just completely fill your can with a stack of cookies, a favorite candy, or whatever you think your recipient would enjoy! I'd put anything edible and loose (not packaged) into a cellophane bag, or at least a regular sandwich baggie. (Baggies work, but cellophane bags are classier). Here are gusseted 3" by 6" cellophane bags from Stampin' Up. You want to make sure none of the contents forcefully protrude out past where the bottom connects to the can, or, once sealed, those items could push out and unseal the bottom. (More on this step here in this blog post.)

6) Seal the bottom "lid." I use Tombo Multipurpose Liquid Glue ~ which has a super-fine tip and sticks fairly quickly ~ to glue the bottom "lid" of the can back on. Hold the bottom lid tightly in place for a minute or so, and then if it won't stay closed, use a couple of strong rubberbands to hold it on until it's dry. (More on this step here in this blog post.)

Holding the freshly glued-on can bottom on to the can / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

7) Finally, add a tag, if desired. Use one of the tags that I have provided in the Free Printable (linked below), and add more of the stickers you used around the belly band, or all over the can. Or just make your own tag! (More on this step here in this blog post.)

Tag on can with lots of colorful ribbon ties / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

Because I found that some of my recipients didn't even realize there was a pull-top ring under all the ribbon ties ~ they just looked at it, amused, but with a puzzled look on their face ~ I created an explanatory label to put on the back of the tag! This greatly helped!!!

Explanatory tag for how to open the can / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

Again, to access the free printable, here are the two links:

(editable, but not stable)

(stable, but not editable)


So there you have it!! I would love to see what YOU make!!! My comments area doesn't support sending photos, so please email any photos straight to me!

(A quick reference list of all the related blog posts is directly below the photo of the can.)

Leave a comment

below telling me how

this worked for you,

plus any other fun,

ideas YOU used!

Top of can with lots of ties + label on side / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /





of all 5 Gift-in-a-Can

blog posts:

Mini-collages of 5 parts of Gift-in-a-Can series / Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /


Hexa-photo for Teacher Appreciation Gift-in-a-Can /

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