Monday, June 17, 2013

Tips for Creating Eye-catching Bulletin Boards (Please view my "Bulletin Board Masterpost" for more images of bulletin boards.)

I am not an expert on creating bulletin boards, but I can tell you from experience which type of bulletin boards receive the most positive comments. Bulletin boards that are colorful, in 3-D, and are relevant to what's popular at the moment, draw the most attention. A clever spin on funny TV ads, movies, games or billboards, always captures the attention of middle and high school students. I like to reuse bulletin board ideas, so I take pictures of each bulletin board and keep a history of the bulletin boards from year to year. I try to recycle the idea every 5 years if possible. I have listed some tips I have found helpful for creating bulletin boards.

Staple remover
Thumb tacks
String or thread
Bulletin Board paper
Construction paper
Glue gun

Best Materials to Create the Scene:

The most eye-catching bulletin boards use brightly colored construction paper (or tissue paper) to create the scene. Those people who do not have artistic painting or drawing skills (like me) can create colorful bulletin boards by cutting and gluing pieces of construction paper together. The first bulletin board below was created solely from bulletin board paper and construction paper:

Notice the brown vine made from twisted bulletin board paper and raised leaves, provide a 3-D effect for the second bulletin board. The "Welcome" letters were cut from old animal calendar pictures. Be sure to take pictures of random things when you are out, because they may come in handy later when you create bulletin boards, i.e. animals at the zoo. Don't be afraid to reuse the same solid colored background for the next bulletin board you create. (I hate wasting a good piece of bulletin board paper and have used the same background on 3 consecutive bulletin boards. I had to carefully place objects over the areas where there were many holes from staples.)

Choosing the Phrasing:

Sometimes, I look for current popular phrases and buzz words to create a library version of a phrase. Other times, I start with an idea for the picture or scene that I will create and then develop an appropriate phrase that matches. The following summer bulletin board began with an idea for the sun before the phrase was created. I knew I wanted to create a 3-D sun and the phrase just evolved. I sometimes try out my bulletin board phrases on my senior high library assistants for input. The sun was created separately from 3 sheets of poster board taped together and cut to form a sun. The sun was then covered with orange and yellow construction paper as a background, and then circles and squares (cut with the Ellison SureCut die) were folded in two and hot glued to the poster board. Sunglasses were glued on later. The sun is thumb tacked to the bulletin board to keep it in place.

The bulletin board below came from an insurance commercial being aired at the time of its creation. I added a library spin, of course.


The Ellison SureCut Die machine creates perfect letters. Laminating whole sheets of construction paper and using a letter cutting machine provides shiny durable brightly colored letters. Lettering may be shadowed by cutting duplicate letters from two different shades of paper for dimensional writing. I will even purchase foil wrapping paper (solid silver and other colors) at half price after Christmas to use for metallic looking letters. (Don't use aluminum foil, it might dull the blades on the SureCut Die machine.)

When I am ready to place the letters on my bulletin board, I use a string that is attached to two thumb tacks to create an invisible line for straight lettering. I thumb tack the letters in place, stand back far away to see if it looks straight, remove the string, and staple the letters permanently. Last, I remove all thumb tacks from the lettering. (Purchased letters are also an option.)


Purchased borders are great. I have an assortment that I have laminated to use over and over. I usually place the borders on, before I place the scene on the board. I temporarily attach the borders with thumb tacks in case I want to put something under the border. In the pig scene above, I have trees that are stapled under my cloud border. I have such a tiny bulletin board that I must make sure the lettering will fit inside the border, hence the border is in place before the scene and lettering goes on the bulletin board.

Think outside the box:

I started utilizing the wall past my bulletin board square a couple of years ago. The 4'x4' bulletin board is sometimes too small for what I want to place on the board. If you are creating a huge 3-D tree or other objects, don't be afraid to let them spill off the board or go above the top of the board. The phrase may fit best on the wall above or around the bulletin board.

Simplicity and Neatness:

During my high school years I took a poster making/calligraphy art class that taught me a valuable insight, keep the poster neat and simple with very few words. I apply this principle to bulletin board making. Thank you Mrs. Edmunds!


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  2. I'm inquiring about your "Fish into a good book" did you make the dock the legs are sitting on and how did you make the legs?

  3. The dock legs are constructed from laminating rolls that were hot glued to the bulletin board background paper. The top of the dock was constructed from an old card board box fit to size. This was also hot glued and given stability underneath with thumbtacks that have a plastic head on them. These thumbtacks stick out about 1/4 of on inch. The legs of the person have nothing inside and the shoes were taped and pinned from the back end of the shoe to the back of the pant legs. Straight pins are always good to use for extra stability for 3-D objects used. A glue gun is also a must for 3-D objects.