Manufacture This

The blog of the Alliance for American Manufacturing

From kindergarten to college, we put together a few picks to help your student make the grade.

A new school year is already here for many students around the country, while it’s just right around the corner for others. As students (and their parents) prepare themselves for what the new school season will bring, we drew up a quick guide to help find affordable school supplies that students of all ages may need — and in true Alliance for American Manufacturing style, they are also are labeled as made in the United States.

Elementary School

Crayons, Markers and More: A staple in the American grade school experience, Crayola provides kids what they need to make their colorful mark on the school year from markers and colored pencils to of course…crayons! The company has been around for more than 100 years, and still makes 12 million crayons a day at its factory in Easton, Pa.

Pencils: Pre-sharpened and ready to use, Write Dudes USA Gold Premium Cedar No. 2 pencils have an old school flair and are Forest Stewardship Council certified, and even earned a rave review from the folks at Pencil Revolution.

Glue: Elmer's School Glue has been a classroom staple for more than 65 years, as it is washable and non-toxic. Like Crayola's crayons, Elmer's glue is also affordable — you can buy a 4 ounce bottle at retailers like Target for less than a dollar.

Construction Paper: Stock up for all those art projects with brands like Art Street Construction paper, Little Fingers Construction Paper, and Riverside Construction Paper, which are all found at leading retailers and manufactured in the United States by union workers.

Tape: Although tape is one of those supplies that students of all ages likely will use, it's probably a good idea to start stocking up early. The 3M company's Scotch Brand of tapes, from clear tape to more decorative options, continues to be manufactured in the United States.

Junior High/High School

Pens: Forget the pencils and crayons — it's time to whip out the pens. Thankfully, there are several American-made options out there, from the famous Fisher Space Pen to Pilot, which got its start in Japan but now operates a manufacturing facility in Jacksonville, Fla.

Notebooks: As students enter the note-taking phase of their education, Mead offers a variety of Made in the U.S.A. products to suit any subject, including the Five Star spiral notebooks that you can pick up at most big box stores. The classic Decomposition Book also is an eco-friendly option that comes in a slew of unique colors and designs. We also are big fans of Chicago-based Field Notes, including its Kraft Memo Books.

Binders: Need to move between several classes in the day? These affordable binders from brands like Wilson Jones and Acco will help keep things organized and your materials all in one place. If you are in the market for something with a more unique design, check out the signature binder collection from Russell and Hazel, which includes a dry erase board in the inside cover and can be personalized with a range of inserts and accessories like to-do lists and calendar sheets.

Protractor: Students taking algebra, trigonometry, calculus and more will likely need one of these essential tools, and Chartpak makes a durable and stylish protractor that is acrylic and transparent tinted.

​College/University

Bedding and Linens: Along with notebooks and pens, students heading off to college also are going to need bedding, including for those Twin XL beds popular in many dorm rooms. American Made Dorm & Home offers a wide range of stylish Made in USA comforter sets at a variety of price points, along with accent pillows, shams, curtains and more. The ABC Blanket Company, which we profiled back in June, also is a go-to option, especially for students looking to bring along a fleece or throw for the colder months. 

​Bed Risers: Here's a tip from current college students everywhere: You are going to need more storage space. Dorm Smart's bed risers come in both black and white, creating 10 to 13 cubic feet of storage under Twin XL beds.​

Storage Bins: Another helpful tip? Invest in heavy duty bins that can keep your stuff tidy, like this American-made Rubbermaid bin with a clear drop-down door to retrieve items. 

Did we miss any of your favorite American-made school supplies? Let us know on Twitter via @KeepitMadeinUSA.