Make a Graduation Survival Kit

Give the graduate in your life a special gift filled with useful items for the adventure that lies ahead.

Going off to college is an exciting time in a young person’s life. It is filled with new experiences and new responsibilities. You can help make the transition a little smoother by supplying your graduate with some essential tools. This graduation survival kit can hold many of the items to point the recipient in the right direction.

Make a Graduate Survival Kit Gift

Make a Graduate Survival Kit Gift

Create a useful survival kit gift for a graduate

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Our survival kit comes packed in a paint can that has been painted with chalkboard paint. When the contents have been removed the student will be left with a fun and useful container for storage in their dorm room, which is always a issue.

To make the container you will need:

  • One gallon paint can and lid
  • sandpaper
  • chalkboard paint (or chalkboard spray paint)
  • foam brush (if using liquid paint)
  • painter’s tape
  • steel wool
  • chalk
  • paint key
  • ribbon or other embellishment
Make a Graduate Survival Kit Gift

Make a Graduate Survival Kit Gift

Create a useful survival kit gift for a graduate

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Begin by giving the outer surface of the paint can and the top of the lid a thorough sanding with medium grit sandpaper. This will provide some "tooth" for the paint to adhere.

Make a Graduate Survival Kit Gift

Make a Graduate Survival Kit Gift

Create a useful survival kit gift for a graduate

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Paint the top of the lid and the outside of the can with chalkboard paint following the manufacturer’s instructions. This will likely require a second coat. NOTE: If you are using spray paint, mask off all of the areas you do not wish to be painted first.

When the paint has cured completely, lightly sand away any imperfections with steel wool. Then rub the entire painted surface with a piece of chalk. Rub the chalk in with your fingers to make sure you get it into the ridges running horizontally around the can. Wipe away the excess chalk.

Make a Graduate Survival Kit Gift

Make a Graduate Survival Kit Gift

Create a useful survival kit gift for a graduate

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Fill your can with essentials for college living. Some good items to include are (but not limited to):

  • batteries
  • safety pins
  • command strips
  • stain removal pen
  • lint roller
  • crazy glue
  • cotton swabs
  • flip flops
  • dental floss
  • permanent markers
  • ramen noodles
  • earplugs
  • lip balm
  • hand sanitizer
  • chewing gum
  • bandages
  • instant coffee
  • tums
  • playing cards
  • pencils
  • mini sewing kit
  • pain relievers
  • tissues
  • cough drops
  • mouthwash strips
  • scissors
  • nail trimmers
  • notepad
  • air freshener
  • microwave popcorn
  • candy
  • mints
  • binder clips
  • sticky notes
  • cash
  • starbucks gift card
  • picture frame
  • laundry detergents
  • address book
  • thumb drive
  • USB mouse
  • mini keyboard
Make a Graduate Survival Kit Gift

Make a Graduate Survival Kit Gift

Create a useful survival kit gift for a graduate

Photo by: Sam Henderson

Sam Henderson

Pack in as many things as you can fit and seal the can. Attach the paint key to the handle with string or ribbon. Then write a fun message on the can with chalk or a chalk pen. Alternatively, if you are giving the kit as a group gift, allow everyone to write their own message and sign the can. 

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