Do You Personalize Lunch Boxes, Backpacks, & Water Bottles for School??

Updated on July 17, 2012
J.F. asks from Bloomington, IN
14 answers

So, I've taught elementary, but now I'm sending my oldest to K this year. (exhale)

It is a full day, so she will have lunch there. I know I need to label everything, and wonder if I should have her name embroidered on her stuff, and professionally printed on her water bottle. I know that sounds excessive, but I know that sharpie eventually wears off. I work with kids daily and see a TON of things in the lost and found because it was never labeled or it has worn off.

So, do I order a backpack with her name embroidered on it? (If so, where do I get one?)
Order a water bottle with her picture/name on it (saw one on Snapfish)?

I just bought an insulated tote at Big Lots that I like, so I guess that one will have to be sharpied. :)

Or are there labels that you can buy that work well??

Thoughts?? Suggestions?

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So What Happened?

Oh, yes! About the safety thing. That is something I am very aware of. We haven't labeled anything up until now for that reason.

ETA: So my SIL called shortly after I asked this and wanted to know if I wanted to order anything from the Disney Store...she had a coupon and could use the points on her Disney Visa. So, we ordered a backpack, matching lunch tote, and water bottle for about the same price as I would pay at Walmart. Got her initials embroidered near the handle. She is one happy little girl! She got her princesses after all (I was somewhat resisting. ) :)

Featured Answers



answers from Los Angeles on

Since I don't like to advertise the kids' names, I do what my mom did:
-buy labels you stitch to inside of their coats etc.

For thermos, aluminum water bottle, I write their first initial & last name on the bottom so it's not advertised.

For lunch box, inside the flap or cover.

3 moms found this helpful

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answers from Washington DC on

I hit on Mable's Labels when DD was in daycare and sharpie was just wearing off all the time. I LOVE them and find new ways to love them all the time. My DD will be all labeled up for preschool. The labels last - on their FB page, they posted a picture of goggles left in a lake for 2 years - and the label was perfect.

I can personally attest that their tag mates go through the wash, their Write Aways stick to PFDs in the pool, and their regular labels stick to sippy cups and containers for YEARS without any special care. I love, love, love Mable. Please check them out. Sometimes mamasource deals have a deal on Mabel. I used one to outfit my college-bound stepdaughter - she's going to have labels on her computer, her iPod cable, etc.

I did not get a backpack with a name on it. If you do, go initials only and try LLBean. I just stuck a label inside DD's backpack, where a stranger cannot see it, but someone looking for an owner would.

We also use the labels with our last name for camping gear.

If you have multiple kids, consider the party pack, last name only, or Write Aways (use Sharpie and write whatever you want).

Oh, and at the end of it all, if you want to pass stuff down - they peel right off.

So there's my suggestion: - their customer service is great, too. Nobody I've turned onto them has told me the product is terrible. And trust me, my sister would be honest. :)

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

For lunchboxes and backpacks, we went to the little kiosk in Wal-Mart, and got little heart-shaped dogtags with the kids' first names and home phone numbers. The kids can identify their stuff by the jingle, but the print is too small for a stranger to read from a distance. Also, they come off, but not easily by any means, so I figure it's unlikely that anyone would try to take it off in order to steal their backpacks.

For jackets, I got iron-on strips, and wrote their names on those, and ironed them inside the pockets. The kids know where the identification for their stuff is, in case they get into a debate with anyone over the owner. For the towels the kids have needed (no sleep mats at our kindergarten, plus a couple of splash days for kinder AND my preschooler), I just write the last name with a sharpie. Water bottles are labeled with a paint pen, but that's easy, I just re-do it after every five or six of cycles in the dishwasher. Gives me a chance to perfect my writing!

Congrats on the move to kinder!

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Savannah on

We've been teaching our children the same way we were taught as children: just because someone knows you or your name doesn't mean that you (or we) know them. You may be polite and say "hello" or "thank you", but just because a random adult says "hello suzie" doesn't mean it's ok for you to go over to that person. The fact is that you aren't going to be able to keep a child's name secret--even if it's just friends walking with them or playing in the park calling their name out, or a simple question to another child "what's that kid's name over there?", it's very easy to find out names. So teach something that is more common sense instead of being fearful of a name showing somewhere.

That said: you can pick out a backpack anywhere and if you'd like to have a name embroidered onto it, or some other form of personalization, you can have that put on at a local embroidery shop. I would think it'd be cheaper to bring a bag somewhere and pay per letter than to have a whole bag sent by a specialty company, but I haven't done the pricing to know that for certain. Look online with your zipcode for a company; we have a few shops in strip centers here, and the lady across the street does it from her home, so those kinds of places are around. I personally don't embroider things but that's more because we are likely to donate things as our boys grow or get a new interest, and I don't want to deal with cutting the little threads out, but I don't see anything wrong with it if that's a route you'd like to go.

For my son though, I just cut a piece of masking tape and wrote with a Sharpie his name "Joseph C", his kindergarten teacher's name / room number, and my cellphone number and put it in the top of the inside so it's the first thing you'd see if you unzipped the bag. I did the same thing for the bottom of his lunchbox (a separate compartment, not the part that would have the freezer packs in it because I was guessing condensation may peel the tape or fade the writing quickly). I'm cheap like that though. (ha) If the bag is in good enough shape to reuse next year, I can just make a new label with his new teacher/room number with no cost or effort. I do like the idea of a water bottle with a fun picture (or a few) on it-that sounds cool.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Chicago on

My ONLY suggestion regarding this is to make sure it is not visible by a stranger. So IF you embroider her name on the backpack, put it on the back (that goes against her back) or the inside or something like that. Same for any accessories that strangers might see. You NEVER want to give a predator a heads up.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Charlotte on

If that's possible, to order an embroidered one, go for it! I always used a Sharpie and re-wrote several times a year!! LOL!

You might try Lands End.

What a cool thing - a water bottle with her picture/name!

It sounds like you've got it all figured out!! Congrats on your little one moving up in the world!


3 moms found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

I usually put their name on the inside somewhere with a sharpie. I hate having my kid's name out there for everyone to see. Water bottles get put on with Sharpie and I re-label them when I see it's wearing out.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I never put my kids names on their backpacks and lunch boxes for safety reasons. I did have an initial embroidered though.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

I've always just usesd sharpies and they work pretty good.

I've been helping in a kindg room the last few years and surpisingly most of the kids keep good track of their stuff. I'm not saying don't lable i'm just saying don't worry too much. aslong as you do retouches as needed it will be fine.

if you have a total scaterbrain for a kid and you know they can't get out the front door with out losing their socks, you might want to pay the extra for the fancy embordery but it's really not a huge deal if you don't.

I love the dog tag idea.

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I do put my kids monogram on things (ll bean is my go-to for embroidery and Mables labels for other things). I only use their full name on thigs other people outside the class don't see.
I am super paranoid about random things and I was told years ago not to put your child's name on their lunch box or backpack because the "stranger" can call out their name like they know them. I KNOW CRAZY. I am crazy -lol.
Try LL Bean. They tend to have a back to school special this time of year and while a little pricy- totally worth it.
Things like pencil cases, water bottles, thermos, etc. I use their full name with a label.
Hope that helps:)

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I have a label maker by Brother that works well for water bottles and other plastic containers. My son needs everything labeled for preschool/daycare. At first I used sharpies but I was rewriting constantly. The sharpies do work fine for backpacks and lunch boxes. If you do want to go the embroidered route check out LLBean and Land's End, they have lots of options!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Honolulu on

Okay, with my first ever child, I got all gung ho and did cute personalizing on her things.
Then, I wised up: now, for both kids, I just use a Sharpie permanent marker on their things.
Only their wheelie backpacks are monogrammed (with their 3 initials), via LL Bean. Which is good because their backpacks last forever.
LL Bean, has GREAT GREAT backpacks and is warrantied for life. And they will send you a new one if ever yours breaks or whatever.
It is WORTH the price. They have all kinds.

No point in ordering "labels". That costs money.
Just use a Sharpie permanent marker or a Sharpie "Laundry" marker.
I do that with ALL my kids things, and never have a problem
I get both the regular and fine point, Sharpies.

I label my kids' things, with their initials.
And make a "smiley" face or some other symbol, next to their name/initials, in case some other kid has the same initials.
Or, I just put their first names and last name initial.
But NOT on their backpacks.... where the "public" can see it.

OR, I also will, attach/tie on, a bright pom-pom, to their bags/lunch bag etc. So that, they can also VISUALLY tell, which is theirs. And so that, other kids can see instantly, that this is not their bag and grab it by mistake. (kids in school can often grab someone else's bag by mistake).
But also along with using Sharpie pen, to mark my kids things.

Sure, Sharpie may eventually wear off. So then, you just re-write it in Sharpie on the object or clothing. Easy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Jacksonville on

A lot of the online companies (LLBean, Land's End, etc) do personalization for like $5 per item. It isn't expensive, but it CAN add to the delivery time, since they have to send it over to have the personalization actually done before they can ship it out.

You could always just mark your calendar for once a month to do a "sharpie check" and re-sharpie everything so it never is worn off. :)

1 mom found this helpful
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