School Supply Cake Tutorial

Make a school supply cake for Teacher Appreciation Week or to celebrate back-to-school season!

school supply cake


It’s that time of year when we start preparing for the new school year. This year I decided to try my hand at making a school supply cake. It’s the perfect crafty gift to give to teachers. As I was putting it together, I had a few criteria:

  1. It had to be sturdy enough to be carried.
  2. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on the structural parts.
  3. It had to be tall and colorful and packed with as many useful school supplies as possible.

I love how my cake turned out and I only spent a few dollars on the structural supplies, which left me more money to buy the actual school supplies!

diy school supply cake

To make your own school supply cake, you will need the following materials:

teacher appreciation school supply cake

Structural Supplies

  • Metal Pizza Pan (Dollar Tree and Walmart carry these for $1)
  • Spray Paint
  • Clean, Empty Ice Cream Bucket
  • Rubber Bands
  • Ribbon
  • Hot Glue Gun + Glue Sticks
  • 4″ Foam Cube
  • Dowel or Wooden Chopstick
  • Printable Teacher Thank You Tag

School Supplies

  • 4 boxes crayons
  • 4 jumbo crayons
  • 75 pencil top erasers
  • about 75 pencils
  • 11 bottles school glue
  • 24 colored pencils
  • 10 expo markers

School Supply Cake Tutorial

If you’d rather watch a video tutorial, scroll to the bottom of the post to watch this fun cake come together in less than a minute!

steps to make a school supply cake

Step 1 Spray paint a pizza pan and let it dry completely. Hot glue the rim of an ice cream bucket and attach it upside down to the pizza pan.

Step 2 Place a rubber band around the ice cream bucket, then add pencils until the entire bucket is hidden.

Step 3 Add another rubber band around the pencils and bucket and make a layer of glue bottles around the bottom of the cake.

Step 4 Glue the foam square to the ice cream bucket.

Step 5 Add crayon boxes around the four sides of the foam and put one jumbo crayon in each corner. Secure together with a rubber band. Fill in the sides of this layer with the pencil top erasers. Push a dowel into the center of the foam square.

Step 6 Use rubber bands to attach the colored pencils to the dowel, then add the Expo markers around the colored pencils and secure them with another rubber band. Cover all of the visible rubber bands with ribbon. Attach the free printable thank you design.


To make the tag, print the design onto white cardstock, then cut around the circle. I added a scalloped blue matte to mine just for fun.

free printable teacher appreciation gift tag

Here’s the quick video tutorial to show you exactly how this school supply cake comes together.



This project reminds me of that quote from the movie You’ve Got Mail

“Don’t you love New York In the Fall? It makes me want to buy school supplies. I would send you a bouquet of freshly sharpened pencils if I knew your name and address.”

school supply gift for teachers

We still have a lot of summer fun to get to before we’re ready for school, but the first day of school will be here before you know it!

Want more ideas like this? Click here for a round up of the cutest teacher appreciation gift ideas!


  1. This is a wonderful way to celebrate teachers on the first day of school. As a teacher myself, I am going to plan for these cakes for some great elementary teachers I know. Thanks for sharing this idea.

    • You’re welcome! And THANK YOU for what you do. I love teachers and know it can be a thankless job sometimes… but you do so much good!

  2. Cute. I’d like to send one to the school my grandkids go to and put a general sticker on it for all the teachers and kids to celebrate the new school year. Here in the Midwest Indiana, we start the first full week of August. .

  3. What a wonderful idea! Is that a gallon ice cream bucket? I wondered about using cookie tins and filling them with cookies or snack mix. Thank you again for such a great idea!

      • I used paper mache round boxes on the one I made. It makes such a great gift for teachers. Made one for my daughters pre-k teacher and she absolutely loved it

        • Those are a great base for the cake too… I just wanted to cut the cost of the supplies to build it so I could purchase more school supplies for the teacher… that’s why I opted for an ice cream bucket.

  4. I LOVE this idea! Been looking for something unique for my son’s daycare centre, I am from New Zealand and have no idea how big a one gallon ice cream tub is – any ideas in cm how big it would be? Also, what size base would you use?

    • An ice cream bucket is about about 12 inches across. but you can use the idea of this cake and change it around to fit any size! Instead of an ice cream bucket, try sanitizing wipes or tissue boxes or other supplies that teachers would find useful.

  5. Omg….lol… did you yet the pencils to not fall? Every time I got about half way they would start slantingand fall. Luckily I had a firework bucket that was the same height as a pencil and it held them together.

  6. Hi,

    FANTASTIC IDEA! THANK YOU!! I would LOVE to make this for a teacher I worked with back home, which would involve MAILING IT! AAAAAACCKKKK!!! Any suggestions so it wouldn’t arrive having to be totally RE-assembled??? 🙁 I’d hate to lose the impact of seeing it intact when first opened! It would be AWESOME!!!

    • Wow… mailing it would be pretty tricky. I would just say to secure all of the layers really well, then put it in a large box and fill it with packing peanuts. Then cross your fingers and hope it works!

  7. Love! Love! Love!
    I have 2 of my grand buddies this week, PK and 1st grade. This was our “Project at Pippy’s House” yesterday. We had so much fun, and our cakes are incredible. They are so excited to take them to their teachers.
    I wish I could post their picture with their cakes.
    Thank you for the great idea!

  8. I am making this tonight! My son is starting KINDERGARTEN next week and thought that this would be adorable to give to my son’s teacher!! What do they say??? Watch out for the parents that start the year off with gifts– the nicer the gift, the worse their child typically behaves! HaHaHaHa 😀

  9. Thank you so much for this awesome idea!! I am making 3 of them this weekend with my grandchildren and for a special daycare provider in my town. I may tweak it a little for my 5th graders using glue and hand sanitizer? My 2nd grader will love doing this too:)
    I am a retired teacher and love being able to stay connected with the wonderful teachers of my grandchildren. It is also a great way for them to appreciate their teachers from the start of the year:)

  10. I made this for my daughter who teaches 4th grade. Only thing I changed was the bucket was a small paint holder from the hardware. Al we had were square ice cream buckets were in The Woodlands, Texas. Got ma ny good comments & lots of pictures taken. I wanted to post a pic but couldn’t.

  11. I made two of these using a square ice cream bucket because that’s the only shape I could get my hands on. There was a temper tantrum and thrown supplies. #itwasme I recommend sticking to a round bucket if you can. square=bad

  12. Perfect idea!
    Can you give us an approximation of cost? We understand some will cost more, some less, with the variables, but a guestimation tells me how many I could make and if I would need to drum up donations to help.


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