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15 Inventive Desk Nameplate Ideas

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Photo of Emma (Teach Starter)
Updated | 5 min read

How often do you start off the term with beautifully presented student desks? Nicely laminated desk nameplates firmly stuck on and neatly lined up, only there’s one problem… they miraculously unstick and un-align themselves little by little by the end of the term.

Or, maybe it’s not so miraculous (I’m looking at you, Grade 2 boys)!

Whether you have a seating plan or let students choose their own places in the classroom, we can probably all agree that a desk nameplate is something that doesn’t last the length of the year. If you find your students have fidgety fingers and love to play with their desk names, it might be time to be a little bit creative… a little bit quirky. It might be time to try one of the following ideas!

15 Inventive Desk Nameplate Ideas

These desk nameplate ideas will have your classroom looking great, and your students fighting to keep them forever!

Bunting Names

Create a fun and playful desk area by using bunting to hang student names from the front of each desk. We have a huge range of Bunting resources to choose from, and most of them are customisable to boot!

15 Inventive Desk Nameplate Ideas Bunting

Just click the blue ‘customise’ button, type in the names you want separated by a space,  and there you have it!

Goal Setting Desk Nameplates

For students that need a bit of direction, our Goal Setting Desk Plates are the place to go.

Choose from PDF and editable Microsoft Word downloads. There are set templates to establish literacy, numeracy and overall classroom goals, or you can select the editable versions to set your own classroom goals you think are important for your students.

Tolsby Frame

Have you read our blog on The Tolsby Frame | The Best IKEA Hack for Teachers? These amazing IKEA frames have a multitude of uses for the classroom, so when it comes to using them as a desk name holder – you’d be silly not to! Right now they’re on sale for $1.99 a pop, making them a cheap yet effective way to jazz up your student desks.

Simply download your favourite of our editable Page Border Teaching Resources, print four to a page and voila – you have a space-saving desk nameplate.

15 Inventive Desk Nameplate Ideas

Why not use our Tolsby-sized Tolsby Frame Numeracy Poster Pack or Tolsby Frame Literacy Poster Pack to create a flip-able display that can help your students access helpful information when they need it? In fact, ANY classroom poster off our site can be used… just download four to a page and you’re ready to go!

Pencil Pot

This is a great desk nameplate hack that also helps the environment!

Sterilise and repurpose milk cartons or tin cans for pencil pots. Get your students to decorate them for a fun beginning-of-year activity as a way for them to put their own personal touch on the classroom.


Make a note to check the cans for sharp edges before handing them over to their designers!

Desk dividing cardboard

Sometimes students need a little personal space, particularly in the upper years where independent work becomes more frequent. To avoid distractions,  a desk divider is a great idea.

15 Inventive Desk Nameplate Ideas

Simply use a large piece of thick A2 card, cut it in half and fold it so that it neatly fits the frame of your student desks. Then you are free to let your students decorate it and put their own personal spin on their desk space, or use one of our many downloadable labels and poster resources to give it a professional look!

Scrabble Tiles

Scrabble tiles have been a spelling teacher’s secret weapon for generations. Use these versatile pieces to create re-usable and changeable name tags on students desks! Simply hot glue the pieces to each desk, or use a scrabble tile holder so that students can move them one from desk to the next.

15 Inventive Desk Nameplate Ideas

At the end of the year, peel off the hot glue and they’re ready to go again for next year!

Work Folders

Keep hold of those pesky loose sheets, or encourage your students to catch up on missed work by creating a Nameplate Folder to hang on the front of each students desk.

15 Inventive Desk Nameplate Ideas

Your class will love the chance to be independent and check their folders each morning for any work that they need to catch up on. Why not look at some of our display banners, such as the Pencils – Display Banner on the photo above, for a fresh take on a name label?

Avatar Nameplate

One of the best features on the Teach Starter website, in my opinion, is our Student Avatar Creator widget! Create an illustrated character to represent each student, and use that as a desk nameplate.

15 Inventive Desk Nameplate Ideas

Read our blog How to Create and Use Student Avatars in Your Classroom for more ideas on how to use these fun characters in your room.

Stationery Basket

With flexible seating becoming such a hot topic, sometimes static desk nameplate ideas just won’t cut it.

Create a portable desk nameplate by incorporating a stationery and book basket into the mix!

15 Inventive Desk Nameplate Ideas

Use any of our Desk Plates Teaching Resources to create a sizeable label for any stationery basket!

Helping Desk Mat

Sometimes, students need a few reminders that can’t be found on anchor charts. Use one of our many resources to help your kids with some literacy and numeracy hints. Our Free Download: Desk Mats – Upper Grades with editable fonts are great for older students, and lower primary will love our Desk Mats with customisable font lines.

Desk Name Tag Stands

Put a 3D twist on your traditional desk nameplate with our Desk Name Tag Stands! The starry stands are so easy to assemble – just print out the Desk Name Tag Stands and write your students’ names on them. Or, why not have your students personalise the stands themselves?

Then cut and fold them to create simple name tag stands.

15 Inventive Desk Nameplate Ideas

Pillow Case

Who remembers hanging a pillowcase over the back of their chair as a make-shift ‘chair bag’ back when they were in school?

15 Inventive Desk Nameplate Ideas

Be thrifty and ask students to bring in an old pillowcase for the first week of school. They can personalise their pillowcases with fabric pens and hot glue to make it their own! An added bonus is the handy storage it provides for their books and pencil cases.

Traditional Desk Nameplates

If you’re a traditionalist who likes minimal fuss, there’s definitely still something for you in this blog. Have a look at our Name Tags Teaching ResourcesLabels Teaching Resources, and Studio for some easy yet effective name label tools.

Simply choose your size, and click customise on any of our pre-designed resources, or design your own in the studio with access to dozens of fonts and illustrations.

Here are just a few more of our multitude of desk mats to jazz up your classroom!

What inventive ideas will you incorporate into your classroom in 2019?

Make sure you #teachstarter – we’d love to see them!


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