Friday, August 23, 2013

Birthday board

The countdown is on... T minus 4 days til teachers have to report back to school. Needless to say, I had to complete just one last craft project... I have just had so much fun crafting this summer. 

Not too long ago, I came across "Birthday boards" when I was surfing Pinterest. The ones I saw were mostly for families but with a little creativity I transformed mine into a classroom birthday board to match my decor. Here's how I did it:

- 6" x 25" board
- 1 1/2" diameter wooden circles (12 + enough for your class and a few extras)
- Acrylic paint colors of your choice for board and lettering
- Black chalkboard paint for class circles (I bought a 4oz craft sized bottle)
- Alphabet stickers
- Modge Podge
- E6000 adhesive
- 9mm jump rings (enough for 2 per circle- not including months)
- 12 eye hooks
- 2 Sawtooth picture hangers (optional)

I started by painting my board black. I used a latex-based black paint (I had left over from painting my bookcases) and gave it several coats to get a nice dark black. To do the word, "Birthdays!" I used my computer and found a font that I liked and then printed it out so that it was 4" high by 22" wide. After printing it, I used sidewalk chalk to chalk the backside of the paper, blew off the excess, laid the paper on the board where I wanted it and then traced over the letters so the chalk outline was left on the board. This left a great outline for me to follow as I painted the letters and when all done, any extra was easily wiped away. I painted my letters with Apple Barrel white acrylic paint

Next, I painted  the front side only of 12 of my circles in the color scheme of my room. After giving them several coats of paint, I added the stickers for the monthly abbreviations. (Many of the boards I found online did just the first letter for the months but I wanted by kiddos to see the abbreviations. I then gave these 2 coats of Modge Podge to give them a glossy appearance and to protect the stickers. After everything was dry, I used E6000 to adhere my month circles to the board. The next day, I then sprayed the entire piece with a clear polyurethane to just give some added protection. You wouldn't have to do this but I felt that it gave a nice overall sheen to the board as well. I used a satin finish polyurethane. I also drilled 1/16th inch starter holes in the bottom of the board at this time to make screwing the eye hooks in easier.

With the remaining circles, I drilled 1/16th inch holes in the top and bottom. I painted them with black chalkboard paint I want an easy way to change names every year. I gave them several coats and did both front and back. After a little experimenting, I decided to use chalk markers to write my students' names. These work great, come off with water, and made it easier to fit the longer names and birthday dates on the circle. They also come in some fun colors- I of course, used neon colors. Last, I added the jump rings to the circles and attached them to the board. I happened to have some blue cording that I attached with hot glue that really made the board "POP!" and Ta Da!!! there you have it, a reusable, unique, classroom birthday board!
Depending on how you are going to hang it, you can add 2 sawtooth hangers to the back, staple ribbon or in my case, I am going to use Command Picture Hanging tabs since I have cinder block walls. If you haven't seen these they look similar to velcro and work like the command hooks with the removable tabs.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

It's the little things...

Summer is definitely beginning to wind down; always a double-edged sword~ I'm excited to start back to school and meet my new class, see friends and colleagues and get back into a routine, but sad to see my family time take a hit and to not have the flexibility and time to continue doing all the little projects that this summer has brought. I have so enjoyed being crafty- something I haven't done on this scale since before I had my boys and I'll be sad to put it on a back burner again. 

That being said, I FINALLY finished my Pinterest-inspired project that I blogged about last month. It has taken that long for the ideas to percolate, but it was so worth the extra thinking time as I am beyond thrilled with how it turned out and it looks fantastic in my new and improved classroom, not to mention it is going to be totally functional and easy to use for both the kids and myself. Instead of doing numbers or names, I chose to use my students' pictures to make it easy for them and for me to see who is out of the room quickly. I felt this would also be helpful for a substitute teacher. It was easy to do, I simply printed off my kiddos' pictures and then used packaging tape to adhere them to a business card magnet which I then cut to size. I was able to get 3 per magnet. The cookie sheet is from the dollar store and I modge podged some of my fabric on to it and then used E6000 ( my new best crafting tool) to adhere the lime green ribbon to the fabric. I found out after lots of trial and error that painting these pans is a pain as the paint chips and/or scratches of easily so instead of painting, I used colored duck tape for the outside edges. I also used a bit of my fabric for the hanger and glued that on with a bit of E6000 as well. All in all (not including the percolating time) this project took about 2 hours to make. 

Check out the my mountain of baskets!  I also bought all new baskets for my classroom library. I have been wanting to do this for some time now but either couldn't find the right kind of baskets, the right color or they were just too darn expensive (especially when you have 80 different baskets!  Yes, I have an addiction to books!) Well I hit the jackpot and found the right ones, the right color and the price was perfect- 2 for a $1.00!!! Wahoo! I'm excited to take my cracked, hodge podged baskets and replace them, not to mention they match my new color scheme too. I was one happy camper yesterday as i went from Dollar General to Dollar General to get enough baskets. Doesn't take much to make a teacher happy!!!

I'll try to post pics later in the week of my completed room. I am sooooooo excited about how it is coming together and how all the colors and BB's flow together.