For as long as she can remember, Chelsey Odgers has been doing crafts and projects.

“I’ve been making stuff since forever,” said Chelsey. “I was a girl scout growing up, so I was always doing crafts and things.”

Since she was young, Chelsey knew that whatever she ended up doing for a career, it would involve creating beautiful things for the world. Now she does that by teaching kindergarten through third grade. She tries to incorporate art and creativity in everything she does.

“I find ways to bring art into my classroom, like creating your own emoji,” she said. 

Growing up, Chelsey would play school with her siblings and loved being the teacher. Then in high school, teaching art at summer camps further sparked her interest for teaching others. Getting close with her teachers in high school and learning from them cemented her teaching career aspirations, so once she was in college, she majored in art education and graphic design to help teach others to make beautiful things as well.

“Your students look up to you, and it feels like such an important thing,” she said. “Teaching is definitely tough, but it’s so rewarding.” 

She tries to find things that her students will relate to and get excited about. For example, she made an bitmoji of herself to welcome kids into her classroom and her kids knew exactly what it was and loved that she incorporated it into the room.

To find inspiration and to support other teachers, she follows them on social media and stays in contact. A couple years ago, she saw that The Magnolia Teacher had a Silhouette, so she asked her about it. After that, she was convinced it could make her work easier and bought one for herself.

“As a teacher, hand-cutting things is the bane of my existence,” she said. “I love that the Silhouette does it so quickly. It’s a lifesaver.”

She uses her Silhouette to make projects for her classroom and also uses her handlettering skills and sends them to her Silhouette to create labels and other projects.

A couple of years ago, her friend started her first teaching job, so Chelsey made her a personalized clipboard with her name on it. Her business took off from there. Other people started putting in orders for clipboards or other projects, and she would share them on her Instagram (@hipsterarttteacher). Her following on social media slowly started building with the help of others sharing her work and tagging her.

“The teacher community is so amazing at supporting one another and sharing people’s pages and building each other up,” said Chelsey. “I’m so grateful to be a part of the teacher community because I don’t know where I would be without them.”

On the weekends, Chelsey can be found at Michael’s or other craft stores finding materials and ideas for new projects just for her.

“Making things is something that feeds my soul. It’s important to me. It’s a stress-reliever,” she said. “I like that I don’t have to think about stressful adult things. It’s a good source of therapy and a time to decompress.”

Right now, she’s taking cookie decorating classes just to learn a new skill and having fun creating something different. She’s taken a jewelry-making class and learned how to work with clay just for fun. For others in the creative field, she advises them to step outside their comfort zone and try creative endeavors outside of their normal realm.

“Explore as many different mediums as possible,” she said. “It’s good to get outside the medium you mostly work in. My medium of choice is painting. If I can try something artsy, but not painting, it brings out so many ideas for what I normally do.”

She says making is all about the process. It’s OK to make something that doesn’t turn out great. She stays through a project to the end and uses it as a learning experience.

“Make the time for it and make time for yourself,” she said. “And don’t pressure yourself to make it perfect. Just make something creative for the sake of doing it. Making art is supposed to be fun. People are afraid it won’t come out perfect. But it doesn’t need to come out perfect.”

To learn more about Chelsey, you can

Follow her Instagram: @hipsterartteacher

Look at her Teachers Pay Teachers store: Hipster Art Teacher

Check out her Etsy shop: Hipster Art Teacher