Backgrounds

Being somewhat "bulletin board challenged" I didn't use anything except solid color paper for my bulletin boards for the first couple of years that I taught. These are some great ideas for expanding the creativity and appearance of your bulletin boards. The best thing about these ideas is that most of them are really simple and inexpensive.

Cover it with fabric. Fabric keeps a bright color for a long time and sometimes you can use a solid color all year and just change what you can staple on to it. (Thanks Mimi!)  I even know of some folks who laminate material before using it.  Helps prevent fading and preserve fabric life!

Cover it with a tablecloth. This is a great idea for an announcement type bulletin board that you will staple or tack calendars and reminders to.  I've used animal prints, colorful flowers and checked tableclothes.  They last forever!

Cover it with a shower curtain. I love to recycle household goodies and this is a great idea for that! Shower curtains are durable, washable, easy to cut and easy to mount onto your bulletin boards and very inexpensive (especially if you're recycling!).

Cover it with newspaper or magazine covers. Headlines such as "Hot Music Right Off the Presses" or "Noteworthy News" may be appropriate with this kind of background. Try using the funny pages for a background. You'll be surprised at the attention it will get.

Cover it with wall paper. This can be a permanent thing if you're tired of of changing the backgrounds on your bulletin boards or it can be a way to add a spicy 3-D or textured effects. Imagine that woodgrained wall paper with graphics, info, etc on it. If done correctly wall paper and or contact paper could really revive your bulletin board blahs. Some interior decorating or home improvement places may have sample books of wall paper that you can have for free.

Don't cover it, paint it. I have a bulletin board in my kitchen that I use for recipes, messages and such. I painted it with spray paint and painted the border with a different color and it looks great. You would probably want to use a different kind of paint if you board is already hanging in your room, but after that first painting you could add sponge painting designs, stencil art or student hand prints.

Cover it with felt. This may be a good idea if you have felt board materials that you use occasionally. It can serve two purpose throughout the year.

Cover it with wrapping paper. Paper for every occasion can be found at a variety of card shops and discount stores. (Wal-Mart is my favorite.)

Cover it with canvas, plastic canvas, burlap, brown paper bags, sheets of bubble wrap, old rugs or drapes, aluminum foil, sheets , trash bags or denim for a cool 3-D and textured effects.

 

Borders

I have a tiny budget and some years there is absolutely NO money for "frivolous" items such as classroom decorations. These borders are inexpensive and add that final touch to your bulletin board.

Wide ribbon or lace adds a festive look to a bulletin board. Check the stores after Christmas and Valentines Day for great bargains.

Glue movie or concert ticket stubs to strips of construction paper and laminate. You may want to make and print your own for a more personal touch.

Try using individual sheets of memo paper. There are tons of cute notepads that make great bulletin board accessories. You may even want to laminate strips of them to use over and over.

I bought several bookmarks (about 2 inches wide) and stapled them around the bulletin board. When I took the board down I gave the bookmarks away as prizes.

Postcards--leave loose or connect several and laminate.

Laminate strips of fabric. Yep! It really works.

Cut old greeting cards to the same width, connect, and laminate. Try cutting out the left 2 or 3 inches of the right hand side of envelopes (look for interesting postages stamps), connect and laminate.

I like to print graphics from Print Shop in columns onto card stock paper to use as a border.

Wrapping paper or pages from magazines can be cut to size and then laminated (maybe with construction paper or card stock underneath).

Try stapling mismatched socks around the board. I used this one with a bulletin board that had shoes on it. Wow! What an attention getter. Winter gloves may work as well.

Try layering borders for an interesting look.  Make them match.  Make them clash.  Be creative!   I assume that if it is wavy you would match the waves up. If you have a LARGE bulletin board this may be an idea to take up space.

I have seen a bulletin board that used a large world map for a border. OK, not the whole map! They cut the large (4 feet long) map into strips that were about 2 or 3 inches long, laminated them and then used them for border. I thought that was a pretty neat idea.

 

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