5 Thrift Store Classroom Projects You’ll Want to Try


Thrifting is not just for vintage fashion lovers; it’s also a goldmine for budget-savvy educators looking to create engaging and memorable classroom experiences! Here are five DIY thrift store classroom projects that will inspire your students while saving you some money. Let’s dive in!

1. Bookshelf Makeover:

Transform a dull and drab bookshelf into an inviting reading corner with this simple project. All you need is a thrifted bookcase, paint, and some creativity. Choose bright, eye-catching colors or chalk paint with distressed effects to create a unique and inviting space for students to enjoy books.

2. Chair Planter:

Add some greenery to your classroom by repurposing old chairs into stylish plant stands. Simply remove the seat from the chair, add some mesh or chicken wire to hold the soil, and paint the chair in bright colors. Fill the seat with potting mix and plant low-maintenance plants like succulents or spider plants that your students can help care for.

3. DIY Learning Aids:

Save money on expensive learning aids by creating your own from thrifted items! Scour the shelves for items like picture frames, whiteboards, or flashcards and turn them into teaching tools with some creativity. For example, use dry erase markers on glass picture frame surfaces to create reusable handwriting practice sheets or quizzes.

4. Game-Based Learning Upcycle:

Transform a battered board game into an engaging learning activity in your classroom! Look for games at thrift stores that can be adapted easily for educational purposes – think wordplay games like Scrabble or Boggle. You can use the game pieces to create exciting spelling challenges or turn a generic board game into an interactive history lesson with custom-made card sets.

5. Personalized Locker Makeover:

Help students take ownership of their personal spaces by encouraging them to personalize their lockers with thrift store finds. Provide each student with an old locker mirror, whiteboard, or personal organizer and let their creativity run wild. This project can also be a great icebreaker at the start of the school year, as students get to know one another through locker art and decoration exchanges.


Thrift stores are treasure troves for resourceful educators looking for unique and low-cost classroom projects. By repurposing second-hand items, you can create engaging learning environments while minimizing waste and promoting sustainability. Now that’s a valuable lesson your students won’t forget!

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