06 August 2016

11 Ways To Use Duct Tape In Your Classroom Like the MacGyver of Teaching

So if you were born before the '90's, you're probably familiar with the T.V. show MacGyver. The one where the main character, MacGyver, could get anyone out of any predicament, usually by using duct tape in some way.

Remember this guy? He worked wonders.

Well, I like to think of teachers as their own kind of MacGyver. Teachers are the most genius people on the planet when it comes to using simple, household items to perform a different task than what they were initially intended for. I mean, we're working with REALLY, REALLY limited budgets here. Can I get a hell yeah?

I decided to collect all the genius ideas I was able to find on the good 'ole trusty interwebs via different blogs and Pinterest. Here is a collection of all the genius, MacGyvery ways to use handy, dandy duct tape in your classroom. I tried to do my research to the best of my ability to find the original posts so that I could give credit.

Decoration Purposes

Look at this cute clipboard that a fellow blogger, Marie, made for her classroom. I'm a sucker for animal prints.

Taken from The Hands-On Teacher
See her original blog post

Another option is to change out your students' desks. This would especially be good if yours have some fugly colors. I love what Jodi did with hers. It would especially be great if you have a themed classroom and could find some that matched your theme. Side note: She had a great tip that vegetable oil or vinegar helps take off any messy residue left over after taking duct tape off of things!

Taken from The Clutter-Free Classroom
See her post here

Organizational Purposes

Ok, now, this next one made me do one of those head slap moments like when you say to yourself, "Why didn't I think of that?"

I work currently in three different private schools, but I am hired by a public school agency... it's confusing, I won't get into it. Anyway, I use www.readinga-z.com A LOT! When I came across this idea on Pinterest my heart grew three sizes just like the Grinch! I am SOOO doing this. 

Taken from Wicked Fun in First Grade
See her original post here
She used different duct tape to organize all of her books by level. Looooooove. Then she added the same tape to a bin so that kids could easily put them back in the right bin. Not only does it help organize the books, but it helps keep them together better since they are printed. Genius.

To go along the same idea, use duct tape to organize different subject notebooks and folders. This is something that would be very easy for students to do to help keep their lockers, desks or cubbies organized. Everything is color coded. The red notebook and red folder are for reading. The green notebook and green folder are for math, etc. Easy peasy.

Taken from Cleverly Inspired
See her original post here

Also very similar, instead of plain ole colors, jazz up your reading groups with duct tape patterns like Tara West.

Taken from Little Minds at Work
See her original post here

Here's another GENIUS idea. Tape a large straw (think milkshake straws) to students' desks so that they can keep their pencil inside when not using it to help with all of the "I can't find my pencil!" complaints.

Couldn't find original post. Let me know if you find it.

Another idea for pencils is to wrap some of the duct tape around the pencil to show which are yours to help students to return them. (We can wish, right?)

Couldn't find original post. Let me know if you find it.

Misc. Uses

Some children don't understand what "personal space" means. I've seen teacher do this as well around their teacher desk to show a "No Children" boundary for little ones. The blog that I found this on was for Special Ed., so this would work great for kids who are autistic and need that visual reminder of where they need to stay. 

Taken from A Special Sparkle
See the original post here

I've always wanted to make these for my classrooms. I am a reading specialist, so I'm constantly working on letter sounds and phonics related activities. I need to get my butt in gear with these pronto! (The duct tape is just decorative pretty much)

Taken from Make Take Teach
See the original post here

I recently went to a conference where I received a TON of great ideas and tips (which is going to be a WHOLE other blog post that I'm going to do soon) but this was one of them. I'm thinking of having kids make these as well so that we can organize their things in the classrooms. This would also work great with the previous idea of labeling folders for reading groups.

Taken from Classroom DIY
See the original post here

So here is a good idea for all of your summer beverage holders. These would work great if you had students' desks in groups or at a center to organize materials. So, get to drinking!

Taken from Classroom DIY
See the original post here

I hope this post helped to inspire you. I'm sure that you've seen all the different kinds of duct tape that have been out now for a few years. I've found them at pretty much any store from Dollar Tree, Dollar General, Target, Wal-Mart, Michaels, Jo Ann Fabrics, Hobby Lobby, AC Moore, etc. 

If you have made anything for your classroom with duct tape or use one of these ideas to make something, please leave a comment and a picture below. I'd LOVE to see it!


  1. Love this post Ashley! Including the memes. My favorite use was taping the milkshake straw to the desk to stop the "I've lost my pencil" complaints! Oh how I would love those to fade!

    Keep up the great work!

  2. I'm stealing like 6 of these ideas. This is a great post for non creative people like me.

  3. Gah! This post is making my creative brain go crazy!!! I love a good craft, especially when it's useful--and definitely when it's as easy as these! How awesome!

  4. Great post! I used duct tape at the edge of my desk last year and it was perfect. Also, love the pencil idea. I used washi tape on my pencils last year but it came off fairly easily, so I will try duct tape this year instead!

  5. Love these ideas especially the DIY organizer out of a beverage holder. Very cool!

  6. Just in time for the new MacGyver series! Great ideas. Love the creativity.