DIY Classroom Decor

It's that time of year where I start to think about my classroom theme for next year.  I change it up every year and I've never repeated a theme (yet, anyway).  I will admit, in the past few years I have simplified what I do to decorate and coordinate display items in my room (hey, mommyhood will do that to you), but I simply LOVE the fun of deciding upon, and bringing my theme to life.

I make all my own decorative pieces.  Actually, this is a school thing.  We all make our own boards and decor and it is preferred that you not use premade store bought stuff.  There are about a million and one ways to make your own decorations, and not one of them is better or superior to the next. When I make my own pieces I do so in one of two ways.  I'll cover the first way today.

First, I choose a theme I like and find some pictures (clip art, scrapbooking stickers, etc).  I am using a forest animal theme next year, so I found some great clip art from KPM Doodles.  I print the images I like on a transparency and then use an overhead projector to trace the image onto scrapbook paper.  Please note that at one point a friend and I consulted with a well respected library back east on the the copyright issues behind this and we were told it falls under personal use.  In years past I created very large pieces and made my own textured paper out of butcher paper and tissue paper. The look is amazing, but I can never get a perfect enough trace line (which drives me crazy), so I went in search of a different medium.  Enter scrapbooking is perfect, for me.  No weird bumps when I trace, no tearing, and it's much faster. 

Today I will show you how to make a cute display piece using 1 piece of scrapbook paper (a bit more if you include the accents).  Due to the size of scrapbooking paper my pieces can be more limited in size, but I'm OK with that, and there is a way to make bigger pieces (see tomorrow's post).

Let's begin!

1.  Display the image via an overhead projector onto a piece of scrapbook paper.  Use a pencil to trace the image.  For this deer, I traced the outline of the body onto the color you see here.  I then traded out the "iced cocoa" paper for white and traced the spots of fur.  Finally, I used another shade of tan to trace the face, hooves, and inner ear.  Essentially, you are creating a puzzle.  You do have to think about what needs to be traced and what colors you need to use to do so.

2. When you are finished tracing with pencil, trace over those lines with marker.  (You don't have to trace with marker, I just like how it looks).

3. Cut out all the pieces.  

4. Next, glue each piece in place.
5. Cut out the whole image and.....ta da!  A cute little accent piece to display in your room!

This little guy will be paired up with another deer.  I plan to position them so they are facing one another and holding a cute garland in their mouths.  They will help showcase my citizenship wall.

Please note that I did attempt to trace this and other pieces using an Elmo but I found it to be inferior to the "outdated" technology of the overhead. The overhead allows you to make the image larger or smaller; the Elmo only makes it bigger.  And, the overhead does not distort the images.  Case in point, I went to trace an oval shaped tree, but the Elmo kept projecting it as a circle.  Useless!  I tracked down an overhead and was able to get exactly what I needed (Thanks L!).

You can make as many or as few pieces as you like and use them to create cute vignettes, place them in the corner of bulletin boards, use them to fill empty spaces, etc.  The possibilities are endless!

Tomorrow I will show you how to use scrapbook paper to make larger pieces.
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  1. I absolutely love this! I'm gonna hunt down and overhead and try a couple this summer!


  2. I hope you find one! Most of ours had been put in storage, but a neighbor had decided to hang on to hers, just in case. Thank goodness she did!


  3. Is there a template for making all your forest critters?? I've been hunting them on your blog; I know these posts and comments are old, so if you can email them to me I'd LOVE you!


  4. I would also love the templates if you have them! These are adorably fantastic!!


    1. I'm sorry, but there are no templates to share. As shown in the post, my templates essentially become my decor pieces. I shared my process of making decor in hopes that others would be inspired to make their own pieces. :) It's lots of fun, and I hope you decide to give it a try. The clip art I used was purchased from KPM Doodles.




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