How to Create Engaging Bulletin Board Displays (With Bonus Tips!)

Updated on May 23, 2018
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I've worked in school libraries for a number of years and got a lot of good firsthand experience at creating bulletin board displays.

Learn how to make a fun bulletin board display!
Learn how to make a fun bulletin board display!

Do You Want to Make a Great Bulletin Board Display?

I've had a chance to make a few displays and bulletin boards during the time I've worked in school libraries. Over the years, I gleaned a few good tips from coworkers, online, and discovered a few things myself that saved me money, time, or were just plain good ideas.

A Sample of What You'll Learn

  • How to Clean Worn and Sticky Supplies
  • How to Store Your Supplies
  • What Materials Make Good Backgrounds?
  • How to Make a Faux Bulletin Board
  • How to Make Your Own "Watercolour Paint"
  • How to Clean Glitter Easily
  • How to Create an Engaging Display

Alcohol

I'm not talking about breaking out a stiff drink after a hard day, but keeping a bottle of isopropyl alcohol (a.k.a. rubbing alcohol) handy for cleaning permanent felt marker and ballpoint pen off books or other hard smooth surfaces. Just a little bit works well to remove felt marker and many other "yucky" substances (gum, glue, etc.). Be sure to test in an inconspicuous area first, as it can sometimes lift colour and remove surface coatings on items.

  • Regular hand sanitizer is also a source of alcohol. Just pump a tiny bit onto a cotton swab, tissue or paper towel and wipe away.
  • Isopropyl alcohol is also great for cleaning telephones, keyboards, etc. during cold and flu season, especially if you share equipment with others.

If, like me, you are not permitted by your workplace to have bottled isopropyl alcohol due to safety factors in working with children, a safer and permissible source may be alcohol wipes that often come in first aid kits. Wipes can be purchased inexpensively at any local drug store or medical supply retailer and are easy to store, safe, and convenient to use. They also do a much better job at removing felt marker and ink than regular household wipes such as Lysol, Mr. Clean, etc.

Tablecloth
Tablecloth

Backgrounds for Bulletin Boards

You don't have to use just plain paper to cover bulletin boards. Try using gift wrap, vinyl, or plastic such as tablecloths and shower curtains, wallpaper, comic strips from newspapers, maps, old sheet music, magazine covers, and pages—the list is endless!

Fabric is a great choice for bulletin boards. It may cost more than paper, but it comes in fantastic patterns, is durable and almost tear-proof, and doesn't show staple holes. You'll use it for years and years.

  • Buy fabric when it's on sale or in the remnant pile at the fabric store, or use bedsheets, thin colourful towels, shower curtains, and tablecloths.
  • I buy new sheets at department stores on sale just to use for bulletin boards.
  • Garage sales and second-hand shops are also great sources for these items.

Have a blank wall with no bulletin board? No problem! Simply put up a paper bulletin board border on your wall in whatever shape/dimension you desire and fil in the middle with your bulletin board design.

What Can I Use for Bulletin Board Borders?

You can use pre-made paper border strips around your bulletin board, or you can use one or more of these ideas to add some personality!

  • Ribbon
  • Colorful notepad paper (glue it to strips to construction paper)
  • Postcards
  • Fabric strips
  • Greeting cards
  • Wrapping paper
  • Comic strips
  • Calendar pages
  • Flashcards
  • Playing cards
  • Game pieces from old games
  • Puzzle pieces (glue them to strips of construction paper)
  • Stickers
  • Postage stamps
  • Bookmarks
  • Play money (paper and coin)
  • Old cd’s
  • Silk flowers
  • Twigs
  • Silk leaves
  • Foil cupcake liners
  • Machine tape (use fancy hole punches, rubber stamps, etc. to decorate)
  • Party Streamers

Beautify Your Bookshelves

Update bookshelves in just minutes by applying something colourful on the inner back panel. Scrapbooking paper, gift wrap, bright photocopier paper, or even pieces of fabric can be used to brighten up dark shelves and attract attention to books or items displayed on them.

  • If using paper, laminate it first (or apply clear contact paper) to protect it from tearing. You can change them out to fit your colour schemes and use them again another time.

This photo shows pink and white fabric (actually, a pillowcase purchased from a dollar store) as the background.

How to Make Big Candies and Lollipops for Your Display

Doing a bulletin board or display with a candy theme? Here's how to make some great props:

  • To make giant wrapped candies, glue two colourful plastic party plates face to face along the rims and wrap in cellophane, tying the ends with ribbon, chenille stems, etc.
  • To make giant wrapped lollipops, glue the plates together face to face along the rims with a long stick or paper rolled into a thin tube between them. Wrap the cellophane down over the plates, and bunch it around the stick where it comes out from between the plates. Tie with ribbon, chenille stems, etc.

Masking tape damage on cinderblock wall
Masking tape damage on cinderblock wall

A Good Alternative to Masking Tape

The photo above shows the damage masking tape can cause when used on a painted cinderblock wall. At the school I work in, we're forbidden from using tape on walls (you can see why!) and must use alternatives.

Sticky-Tack, also known as Blu-Tack, and many other brand names is a reusable adhesive of the consistency of chewed bubble gum. I affectionately call it "Bloo-Goo". This product is great for sticking up posters, etc. on walls where tape or pins can do damage to the wall paint or surface. However, it can do damage as well, including leaving oily smudges if used long-term.

If you're using it to hold up sign or posters that haven't been laminated, and don't want an oily stain soaking through the paper, place a piece of ordinary transparent tape, packing tape, etc. on the back of the poster where you plan to put the Sticky-Tack so it can't soak through. If you don't want tape on the back of your poster, stick a Post-It-Note on the back wherever you plan to put the Sticky-Tack, put a piece of tape on the Post-It-Note, and place your Sticky-Tack on that.

How to Use Hairspray for Marks

Hairspray (the inexpensive drugstore varieties like Finesse, Alberto, etc.) takes permanent felt marker off plastic, vinyl, and laminate surfaces such as tabletops, etc. It often works on washable walls and other surfaces as well, but be sure to test in a hidden spot first.

Hairspray is also great for "setting" items -- making chalk, oil pastel, pencil crayon and similar media a little more smudge-proof.

  • Use aerosol hairspray, not pump-style as it comes out too wet and drippy.
  • Spray item from a fair distance to avoid wet drippy marks.
  • Test on a hidden area or sample item before spraying an original. It may appear wet and drippy at first, but most of the time hairspray dries clear and tiny wet marks disappear.

How to Clean Sticky Scissors

If you cut through tape or anything with adhesive on it (such as stickers or labels), you can sometimes get a buildup of sticky goo on your scissors. There are great products such as Goo-Gone to remove them, but the school board I work for asks schools not to use it because of the chemical hazard. Besides, you don't need to buy something to clean your scissors -- all you need is an eraser! Yup, a good old pink rubber eraser will do, but better yet is a white plastic eraser (they're sturdier) to take the goo right off. Just rub it briskly on the scissor blades.

This probably goes without saying, but please be careful doing this—the blades will become so clean that the eraser could slip off and cut. This is definitely an adult job, not one for students.

Tape Residue on Posters

Rather than trying to remove sticky residue from the back of posters after they’ve been hung up with tape and risk damage, cover the residue with more flat tape, or dust lightly with any other powdery substance available such as flour, compact or loose face powder, baking soda, etc. This will take away the tackiness of the residue, making it safe to store the poster without having it stick to and damage other items.

Short stories bookshelf display
Short stories bookshelf display

Bookcase Displays

Have empty shelf space or an entire empty bookcase? Use them for displays! Empty spaces look uninviting, so fill them in with colourful displays, or remove the shelves and use the back of the bookcase as a faux bulletin board.

I put up paper with Sticky-Tack behind the shelves to add extra color, used tacks and stuck yellow yarn up like mini-clotheslines to hang pictures of shorts on with clothespins, covered the shelves with cotton pillowcases I found at a dollar store, and hung folded bandanas behind the signs on the top shelves to add colour and texture.

I also used green electrical tape around the perimeter of the bookshelf -- just another use for this great tape! These shelves are varnished wood and the tape did no damage whatsoever when peeled off a month after application.

How to Add Bubbles to a Display

If you're doing a bulletin board or display that calls for bubbles, try hanging rows of very small pale blue, white, silver and/or transparent balloons on fishing line directly above or in front of your bulletin board or display area.

For a display case, fill it with various small balloons at the bottom, or adhere/prop up your display items to the front glass panel and fill the entire case will balloons.

Bulletin Board and Display Item Storage

Here's the best way I've found to store display items:

  1. Place all components of a bulletin board, display, or posters in a large plastic bag such as a Ziplock bag (they now come in huge sizes!) or a clear garbage/recycling bag.
  2. Label the outside of the bag, listing the theme, contents, etc.
  3. Place two bags back to back and clip them at the top with a pant hanger.
  4. Hang them in a closet,a long a clothes rack, or even on a clothesline. Your items will be kept clean, safe and organized.

How to Store Felt Markers

  1. Fill an old bowl with Plaster of Paris.
  2. Insert felt markers cap-side down with about three-quarters of the cap in the plaster.
  3. Let it set until dry.
  4. When dry, the markers can be pulled out as needed, and replaced in the correct cap. This prevents the loss of caps, and you can see instantly if a marker is missing.

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Clothespins

Wood or plastic clothespins can be very useful and add a colourful dimension to displays. Buy them cheaply by the dozen and use them with their natural wood finish, paint and decorate them, or buy plastic versions in a rainbow of colours.

  • Use them to clip signs back to back for a double-sided display, clip notes to containers or props, make a "clothesline" of sorts to up hang book covers (or copies of book covers), lettering, small props, etc.
  • They're a great investment as they're reusable, and they don't do damage to signs, posters, and props.

Dollar stores are a great source of a variety of clothespins both wooden and plastic so they're certainly easy on the budget. The clothespins pictured were $1 for 36 pieces and came in an adorable matching plastic basket (which will make a great prop for another display)—a real bargain!

Can You Use Crayons for Whiteboards?

Dry erase markers are great for whiteboards, but you can also use crayons! Jumbo crayons can be used on your whiteboard and wipe off fairly easily. If any residue is left behind, a quick squirt of whiteboard cleaner (or rubbing alcohol) will remove it fully.

Scissors container
Scissors container

Decorative Containers for Office Supplies

Continue a display or bulletin board theme colour or images to other areas in your library, classroom, or other areas.

Make decorative pencil cups and scissor containers using empty soup cans, inexpensive pencil cups, and other items by simply wrapping them with wallpaper, scrapbooking paper, and other fun materials.

  • The scissors container in the photo is a mesh pencil cup purchased from a dollar store and wrapped with paper printed from a design made in Microsoft Word.

These
These

Extend Your Display!

Extend bulletin board elements outside of the parameters of the bulletin board for added visual interest. Though it's difficult to see in the photo, this display extends above the top of the glass dividers in my school library.

Bookend Sign-Caps
Bookend Sign-Caps

Free-Standing Signs / Bookend Signs

Don't know what to do with old scratched up or ugly metal bookends? Need to make free-standing small signs? Make paper signs (cap-sigs) to slip over the top of bookends and give them a new purpose!

  1. To make signs, cut two pieces of paper larger than the upright portion of the bookend.
  2. Glue the top and side edges together. Otherwise, you can laminate them and leave a slight margin of plastic around the top and sides while cutting right to the edge of the bottom. The bottom will be able to be opened, and the sides will stay sealed.
  3. Pop the cap-sign on, and you're done!

If the bookends are being moved a lot and the cap-signs are sliding or coming off, stick a tiny piece of Sticky-Tack inside the cap-sign on both sides and press to the bookend. This should hold them firmly in place but be removable when needed.

Glitter Got You Down?

Who loves glitter but hates cleaning it up? It's easy to scoop up off tables and other smooth surfaces, but getting it off the floor can be difficult if you're in a carpeted classroom or library.

Here are two methods for getting it off carpet quickly and painlessly:

  1. Wrap masking tape around your hand and pat the glitter away.
  2. Invest in a sticky-style lint roller.

Both will pick up the glitter quickly and can also take it off clothing as well. Your school custodians will thank you!

This method is also great for picking up little paper scraps, bits of laminating plastic (custodians detest the stuff as it clogs their vacuums), and especially when you're emptying your paper three-hole punch and someone breezes by, sending a flurry of confetti everywhere (I can't be the only person this has happened to!).

How to Make Glue and Tempera Paint Dispensers

  1. Use an empty pump bottle from liquid soap or hand sanitizer and fill it with white glue or paint.
  2. Pump the needed quantity onto plastic picnic plates, coffee can lids, etc.
  3. If using paint, drop into a plastic tub or sink of water to soak for easy cleanup later.
  4. If using glue, let the glue dry. The next time the plates are used, the glue picks off easily (and it's kind of fun!).

By the way, don't forget to label your bottles. It's a messy surprise for someone if they mistake glue or paint for hand soap or sanitizer.

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How to Use Hot Glue on Glass

Putting up signs, posters or pseudo-bulletin boards on glass walls or indoor windows? Use a hot glue gun! A little dot of hot glue will hold signs up easily until you take them down. The glue is easily picked off the glass with a very flat metal spatula or paint scraper without scratching the glass. If there is any residue (some cheaper hot glue sticks may leave a smudgy bit of goo behind), it comes off with a good window cleaner product.

If you plan on gluing up posters, signs, or bulletin boards elements you wish to use again, laminate them first, or place a piece of transparent tape on the back and apply glue only to those spots. This will save your item from being tearing when you take them down.

  • Important: Don't use hot glue on Plexiglas—It could cause pockmarks. Don't use on windows that face outdoors, or are outdoors. Cold temperatures could make the glue fall off, and hot temperatures could make the glue gooey and your items will fall down.

How to Sharpen Your Hole Punch

If your hole punches (the 3-hole type and the shapes type) become dull and don't punch well, try punching through several layers of tin foil repeatedly. If you your hole punches need more sharpening, punch several times through fine-grit sandpaper, then turn it over and punch through several more times.

If your hole punches seem to stick, try punching through several layers of waxed paper to lubricate them.

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Should I Laminate or Not?

Laminating bulletin board elements and signs is a great idea—most of the time. It helps them stand up to wear and tear if they're in a high-traffic area.

However, laminating can sometimes be detrimental. The lighting in my library is older and quite bright - suitable for reading, but not suitable for glossy displays in some areas. A sign or bulletin board can lose effectiveness when there's a glare coming off it. Viewers should not have to shift around to avoid glare when reading a sign or looking at a bulletin board. I've seen viewers lose interest in what they're looking at because it's uncomfortable to look too long.

Consider carefully whether to laminate or not. I've noticed that in my library most of my bulletin boards and signs don't get touched much, so my bulletin board elements don't really get damaged. As well, there are some display elements that won't be used again, so why bother laminating them? There are exceptions of course - some items are in a place where they can be easily ruined or are very difficult to replace, so laminating is essential.

  • In my photo, you can see how the glare from overhead lights is reflecting off the surface. The glare is the same even when hung up, not on a table as in the photo. I didn't use a flash when photographing this—this is the glare from the lighting and was the best photo I could take. The other photos were worse.

What Are Some Laminating Alternatives?

Below are two alternatives to fully laminating items that may be helpful.

1. Laminate only the back of your sign or bulletin board elements. This will help keep them strong, but not have glare. If you have a laminator that does both sides at the same time, put your sign/element face down on a larger piece of paper and run through the laminator. Use a cutting blade or scissors to slice around your element and lift off the extra paper. The back will be laminated and the front will be plain.

2. Use a self-adhesive clear matte-finish vinyl covering over your sign/element. Rubbermaid used to make a great product called "Con Tac", and there are likely many other companies who make a similar product. It's often found in the housewares section of department stores or hardware stores.

Hook a Book!
Hook a Book!

Letter It

If you don't have a Cricut, Ellison die cutter or other manual/electronic machine to cut out lettering for bulletin boards and displays, you don't always have to buy pre-cut letters. Use your word processing program to print out individual letters and cut them out by hand. Download free fonts from the Internet, and you have a whole world of fancy fonts to choose from.

  • Don't want black edges around your letters? Many printers have a "mirror", "flip", or "coloring book" mode that makes the letters print reversed. The black lines will be on the back. If you're using paper with color or pattern on one side only, be sure to print on the opposite side.
  • Printer doesn't have these features? A photocopier might. Print your letters out as usual and photocopy them reversed onto your colored/printed paper.
  • The photo shows two types of lettering, both created using this method. Printed pages were laminated prior to cutting out. Large letters were made using the font "Boulder". Small letters were made using the font "CAC Pinafore".

Fishing for Fiction
Fishing for Fiction

How to Perfectly Place Your Letters Every Time

Here's a tip for perfectly positioned letters on bulletin boards:

  1. Apply a piece of low-tack tape (such as masking tape) to the back of a ruler (or metre stick/yardstick), allowing approximately 1 cm (0.5 inch) to overlap the edge
  2. Turn the ruler over and place letters along the ruler edge, very lightly sticking them to the tape (make sure they can be taken off the tape later!).
  3. Make sure the letters are lined up along the ruler's edge. Use the measurements on the ruler for accuracy when spacing the letters.
  4. Lift the ruler and letters up carefully, and hold against the bulletin board.
  5. Staple the top of each letter to the board.
  6. Carefully remove the letters from the tape on the ruler at the bottom.
  7. Finish stapling the letters to the bulletin board.

For placing letters in a circular or curved path, cut Bristol board (poster paper) to the desired shape or curve, place tape on the back, and place your letters. For smaller lettering jobs, you can also use flat household objects for this purpose, such as a dinner plate (put tape on the top surface of the plate, not the back).

This tip also works for placing other pieces on your bulletin board both horizontally and vertically.

Use Pins to Put Your Letters Up!

Use dressmaker pins to put up parts of your bulletin board, such as lettering. Pin the letter to the bulletin board pushing the pin only partway in, and tugging the letter forward to the pin head so it appears to be popping off the board.

Use "T" pins or heavy corsage pins to hold up props on bulletin boards. In the display in the photo, I used a real fishing rod I purchased at Wal*Mart for $6 and propped it up in Garfield's hands using pins. I strung yellow yarn through the rod and tied a real fishing bob on the end that was also supported by a small pin.

How to Make Lines and Grids on Your Display

Create semi-permanent lines, grids, and patterns using colored electrical tape. Electrical tape is durable, but it comes off easily without damage when you need a change. You can create them on whiteboards, plexiglass, windows, and laminate countertops or doors.

It also works okay on very low-pile carpeting in very small pieces in low-traffic/no-traffic areas (duct tape works better).

How to Create Lines to Align Your Letters Vertically

Need to align posters, etc. vertically on a bulletin board or wall? There's an easy trick to help you keep things straight. All you need is a thumbtack or pin, some string, yarn or thread, and a small piece of Sticky-Tack.

  1. Tie one end of the string to the tack and mold the Sticky-Tack around the string at the other end.
  2. Stick the tack into the bulletin board or wall just above where you want to hang your posters, allowing the string and Sticky-Tack to hang freely.
  3. When the string stops moving, push the Sticky-Tack to the wall.
  4. Use the string to vertically align your posters to the bulletin board/wall and remove your plumb line when done.

Don't have any Sticky-Tack? A small piece of masking tape would likely work as well. Just stick it to the end of the string and press it to the wall after the string stops swinging. If you don't have masking tape, even a Post-it-Note (sticky note) might work, and who doesn't have one of these in their library or classroom?

"Chick Lit" display
"Chick Lit" display

Fun Idea: Monochromatic Colour Scheme!

Choose one colour for a display or bulletin board and feature props, books, etc. in various shades of that colour.

Pucker Up!
Pucker Up!

Use Oil Pastels for Bulletin Board Displays

Use oil pastels to colour your own images for bulletin boards and displays. The images will last for dozens of years without fading from artificial light or sunlight. Images coloured with oil pastels also can be laminated to make them last even longer.

Those who haven't used oil pastels before will quickly discover their merits. A few tips for new users are:

  • Place a clean piece of paper under your arm and hand when resting your arm over a portion that has been coloured to avoid smudging onto your skin,
  • Use varying pressure to strengthen the colour being laid down, but remember you can always blend and smooth out areas,
  • Use a tissue (or cotton swap for very small areas) to rub down and blend coloured areas. You can cover an area quickly and lightly, going over it again after blending if more colour is needed,
  • Use a permanent felt marker to retrace over outlines after colouring.
  • Preserve your work by laminating, or spraying with art sealant or aerosol hairspray.

Test hairspray on a piece of scrap coloured with pastels before spraying your item. Let it dry thoroughly. The fish shown in the photo was laminated with a rolling heat laminator and it worked very well, even though very inexpensive pastels were used to add colour (dollar store purchase).

  • It is recommended that if using a heat laminator, use the rolling type and don't stop in the middle of the process -- run the item through as quickly and at the lowest possible heat that will still laminate to prevent any possibility of the oil pastels from melting and running.
  • If you're unsure about your laminator, colour a very thick layer with a pastel on the same type of paper you plan to use for your project and laminate as a test sample.

Painted Windows

Decorate glass or Plexiglas panels or windows with tempra paint and wash it off when you want a change. To make it easy to get off, mix a little dishwashing liquid to tempera paints before applying. The dishwashing liquid makes the paint very easy to wash off. Just add water and start wiping.

Galaxy of Great Books
Galaxy of Great Books

Photos

Did you put up a display or bulletin board you'd like to do again? Make sure you take a photo of it and store the photo with the items when they're put away. It's so much easier to put up a bulletin board again when you know exactly where everything goes. As well, it allows someone else to put it up with little or no direction so they can help you, or take over if you're no longer doing it.

The other benefit of taking photos of your work is that you can share with others. If you're inpsired by someone else's work, you should let them know how you used their ideas. You may also inspire someone else with your creativity, so please share. Collaboration between people who are working towards common goals is so valuable! There are many free websites to post your photos, including Squidoo, of course!

Placement on Glass

Plan out where you wish to place posters, lettering, etc. on glass by drawing on the BACK of the glass with a whiteboard marker. Adhere your items then wipe off the marker from the back. This is a great tip for placing lettering in straight lines.

Make Pockets for Your Bulletin Board

Make pockets on bulletin boards to place literature and other fun items! Simply staple or adhere along the sides and bottom edges, and slip documents in.

Just a few ideas for pockets are:

  • Envelopes
  • Traditional library book pockets
  • Real pockets from old jeans
  • File folders with a folded edge on the bottom
  • Wide ribbon
  • Pieces of bulletin border
  • Leftover laminating film

Summer reading
Summer reading

Props

When doing displays or bulletin boards, use props when possible. Three-dimensional objects attached to bulletin boards or as part of a display will catch eyes and draw people to check it out.

Props can come from many sources: your home, your garage, your workplace, second-hand stores, grandma's basement, etc. I raided my closet for the towel and my garage for this classic folding lawn chair in the photo.

My personal favourite source for small props is our local dollar store. The photo shows just a few of the items I picked up such as the umbrella, giant sunglasses, blow-up pool ring, lei, beach grass (a grass hula skirt spread out), bamboo placemat, and more that isn't shown in the photo. The great part about these props besides the price is that they can all be used again and again in many different ways.

Student helping with book display
Student helping with book display

Risers for Displays

When displaying books or items, use different sizes of boxes and cover with a tablecloth or fabric on a table or shelf, or wrap a box with paper to use as risers. Having items at varying heights adds visual interest.

Displays books or items at varying heights using a riser of some sort. Having displays with mixed heights is visually appealing and helps viewers see everything available. It also helps prevent items being blocked by other items, or being inaccessible.

Where do you get risers?

  • Purchase commercial risers from stores specializing in retail visual merchandising. I purchased clear acrylic risers from Eddies Hang Up Display Ltd. (www.eddies.com).
  • Use boxes of varying heights and spread fabric or paper over top.
  • Wrap boxes or stacks of old unused books.
  • Large drink powder containers can be covered with paper.
  • Props such as buckets and other colourful containers can be filled with items on display or turned over with the items displayed on top. The student in the photo was helping me set up a summer reading display and was stacking books on top and around the buckets.

TIP: Use a tiny piece of Sticky-Tack on the rims of buckets help keep them from slipping apart when stacked.

Scratch & Win Tickets You Can DIY

Having a contest in your school, library, or workplace? Make your own scratch and win tickets!

  1. Simply print out your tickets (heavier paper, like card stock works best).
  2. Cover the area to be scratched with clear contact paper.
  3. Mix two parts silver metallic acrylic paint with one part dishwashing liquid (like Palmolive, Sunlight, etc.).
  4. Paint over the clear contact paper areas and allow it to dry.
  5. If you can see through the paint after drying, paint on another coat and allow to dry.
  6. Use a coin or something similar to scratch the tickets.
  • Contact paper is that sticky-backed vinyl stuff people use to line shelves. It's usually available at stores like WalMart in the housewares section, often in the kitchen organization, plastic baskets, or Rubbermaid organization products section.

Book stacked in display
Book stacked in display

Stacked Books

Display books in various ways for visual interest. Have them upright with spines facing out between bookends, stacked, etc.

Be sure to encourage people to take books from any part of your display as they otherwise may feel like they're going to mess things up. Most of the time it's a good idea not to display every book you have on a certain theme, subject, etc. as it then allows you to refill your display as books are borrowed.

Telephone Books

Don't recycle your old telephone directories when a new one arrives. Tear off the cover and keep it handy to place the book underneath projects when using glue, felt markers, or paint. It will catch leak-throughs or run-overs, and you can simply tear off the pages that are wet or sticky and have fresh paper underneath for next time. Magazines and catalogues also work okay for this, but ones made with glossy paper may not be as absorbent.

Make Temporary Floor Patterns and Arrows

Use colored duct tape to create temporary designs, words, or directional arrows on low-pile carpeting. Test on a small hidden area of carpeting to make sure it adheres and does not damage.

Signs placed in empty shelves
Signs placed in empty shelves

Too Tall Bookshelves

If you have bookshelves that are too tall to reach items at the top, and sit empty and unattractive, create small displays in them, or put posters or signs up to fill the space.

These shelves are also great as hidden extra storage for items you don't use often. Place items to store on the shelves, then stand up background paper and signs or posters in front of them (as in the photo), or make a display in front of them.

(click on the photo to see it in a larger size)

How to Make "Watercolour Paint" for Free

Don't toss out old felt markers when they dry up. Save them, and make watercolour paints for your students or children at home! Stand felt markers tip down in a few inches of water in a sealable container and let the remaining colour soak out of them. Be sure to put only one colour per container unless you're mixing coloursl

Zip Ties

Nylon zip ties, also known as cable ties, are handy to have around. I use them a lot to tie together display items that need propping up, or (I hate to say it) be stolen.

They're also great for tying cords together behind computers, tying computer mice cords and headphone cords to other computer cords so they can't be removed in a school computer lab, using several looped together like chain links to extend hanging signs, making key rings, hanging tags, and more.

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    • profile image

      Vandna Sharma 5 months ago

      Children learn as they play, Most importantly in play, CHILDREN learn how to learn. Thank you so much for sharing fanciful idea's to grab the attention of students.

    • tfsherman lm profile image

      tfsherman lm 5 years ago

      I looooove these tips. So many great ideas to choose from. Thanks for assembling them all. I'll be backk!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      great ideas!

    • Lee Hansen profile image

      Lee Hansen 6 years ago from Vermont

      Fantastic ideas for library or classroom organization. You ARE extremely creative!

    • OrganicMom247 profile image

      OrganicMom247 6 years ago

      Nice Lens! Thank you

    • TeacherRenee profile image

      TeacherRenee 6 years ago

      Holy cow, I wish I had this seen this lens back when I was still teaching! What a fantastic collection of ideas. I just emailed a bunch of my former colleagues who are still teaching a link to this lens. Thank you!

    • Virginia Allain profile image

      Virginia Allain 7 years ago from Central Florida

      I always took a look around any library I visited to see what their displays looked like. Found lots of good ideas that way.

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