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Back to school supplies: Kirsty McCabe talks tags and bags

Our weekly columnist trials back to school accessories for the start of the new term

Posted: 28 August 2015
by Catherine Hudson

My Name Tags
Spiderman stationary
Frozen stationary
Cars lunchbox

"Now that I have Ethan’s school uniform sorted, I just need to make sure his name is all over it. But I’m not going to laboriously sew on tiny name labels onto his tops, trousers, pants or socks... Oh no. I have far better things to do with my time and luckily there are a lot more options out there these days.

Iron or Stick-on Name Tags

Much quicker than sewing and the personalised labels stay put after multiple washes as long as you put them on properly. I opted for the multi-purpose stickers that can be used on clothing and other items such as bags, bottles, lunch boxes and books.

The labels can bend round items, plus you can even use them to label shoes. The secret is to apply them to the washing or care labels of clothes. I used them for some of Ethan’s nursery clothes and the labels are still going strong years later for Logan (it’s probably about time I got some with his name on as well!). Buy at My Name Tags.


If you worry about stickers coming off then why not label your clothes with your own personalised laser-etched tags. These look great, really professional and it takes mere seconds to attach a tag to items using the special applicator, again best to put them on clothing labels. It’s almost like the security tags in clothing stores but much smaller and less intrusive.

You can wash and dry clothes as normal, and iron them! Even better, if you want to take off the tag, you simply use the removal tool and the name button can be reused, which helps balance out the higher cost compared to stickers. Buy at Attach-a-Tag

Stamp it

There’s something great about stamps, and it’s certainly quick and easy to stamp your child’s name, in the font of your choice, onto school clothes. As well as labelling clothes, I found the stamp perfect for the white area on socks, much easier than writing the name.

The ink is suitable for most fabric, paper, metal, wood, leather and some plastics. It’s similar to marker pen ink so will last a number of washes before fading. But if it does fade, you can simply stamp again. Buy from Stamptastic.

Fabric pens

Like most mums, there’s nothing as quick and simple as reaching for the marker pen and scribbling on the label. It may not look as neat but it does the job. Plus some pens claim if you iron over the label once you’ve written on it, that should help the ink stay in place for longer.

I picked up a black fabric marker at the till in Mothercare and got a white one (clever thinking for any darker coloured clothes) from Stamptastic. Pens are great for one-off labelling, but if you have a lot of items left to label, I’d go for stamps, tags or stickers instead!

Now I can look forward to a relaxing evening before school starts, instead of sitting hunched over a sewing needle or hot iron.

One other essential part of any back to school kit is the pencil case. I am a sucker for stationery and so far I’ve not let my boys use this Spiderman set from the Disney store. I want to keep it looking nice and neat and colour organised.

There is a Frozen equivalent. In fact, I’m pretty sure there is a Frozen equivalent to just about anything you can think of these days…

This Cars-themed lunch bag is a must for young ones who aren’t taking school dinners. Ethan has already used this whenever we do long trips in the car. Much nicer than a hard boring lunch box and, so far, nothing has got squished."



  • Do you have concerns about your child starting school, need tips for helping children who don't like school, or need further advice about the big 'back to school'? Visit our Family page, with itsEducation and Back to school article hubs

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kirsty mccabe, school accessories, supplies, nursery, kids, children, shopping, new term, school, Back to school supplies, parenting

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