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Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Coach appreciation gift- DIY under $3

My son Walter has been participating in T ball this summer.   He has genuinely enjoyed himself and, oh goodness, what enjoyment I have had watching the antics of his team during games and practices.

This is a team of boys and girls ages 5-6.  Trying to organize 11 children that age to do anything is a challenge.  Trying to organize, train, coach and encourage these children to play a sport together takes a level of patience that few possess.

So I thought it would be nice if I made a small end of season gift for them (there are four coaches) to say thanks for being the kind of coaches we, as parents, always hope our kids will have.

Of course, four gifts can start adding up financially. I spent a few days trying to think up a gift that was cost effective, useful, meaningful and would be appreciated by both men and women (two male coaches, two female).  Then I was at Walters game a few weeks ago and I saw one coach writing something down, using the team bench as a writing surface.  A few minutes later I saw a second coach use the back of a third coach as a writing surface.  These people clearly needed clipboards.  Wait.....these people clearly needed clipboards!!!! Perfect!!!!!!

Right after the game I dashed over to Staples Business Depot and bought clipboards.  Two in a package for $4.49.  I needed two packages, but I was still pretty happy about a thank you gift costing less than $3.

But, my gentle readers,  I did not just hand out plain press-board clipboards to these sweet coaches.

I decided to first paint the clipboards bright yellow.  T ball is played with a softball.  Where a baseball is white a softball is bright yellow.

As it turns out, if you put bright yellow paint on a brown clipboard without a white primer, what you get isn't a yellow painted clipboard.  Its a a hideously green tinged clipboard.  Guess how I know.....

However, after 4-5 coats it comes out looking pretty close to the colour of  a softball.

4-5 coats of yellow paint later
 Then I drew on (freehand!!) baseball stitching along the bottom right corner.  I took a fine paint brush and went over my pencil drawing in red paint (still freehand!).

Freehand baseball "stitching"
Okay, maybe its not perfect but I decided the lack of perfection was charming, gave myself some grace and carried on.

Here is a full clipboard view with the stitching
 Next I cut letters from dark brown self-adhesive vinyl  with my Cricut Cutting Machine. I peeled them off the backing and placed them one by one on the clipboard.   I thought "Volunteers don't have the time, they have the heart" was the perfect sentiment.
Already looks pretty awesome, right?
 Finally I went over the whole thing with a couple layers of Mod Podge.   Mod Podge will increase its durability by preventing the letters from pealing off or the paint from scratching or chipping.
Mod Podge and I are good friends
 Once dry I had a coach gift done for under $3!  Now to make three more.....
I was planning to have Walter give these to the coaches during the last tournament of the season.  However, knowing how much they really could benefit from them now I think we will give them at the next ball game.


  1. Your creativity knows no this blog and the clipboard is so cute and thoughtful!!