Friday, June 29, 2012

Decorative Clipboards for the TEACHER

So, I tried the whole decorative clipboard DIY with the scrapbook paper and Mod Podge. I have to say that I didn't really care for it. It worked out well with maybe a bubble or two, but the finish felt tacky, and I couldn't see myself using them on a daily basis in my classroom, especially since the room temperature is always unpredictable. Mod Podge is a glorified glue, so heat will make it melt. I was thinking body heat might even make it stickier. The clip also sticks a little, so I thought there would eventually be a nice (ugly) dent in the finish where the clip rests. So rather than "wait and see" about the whole stickiness theory, I tried again and came up with my own solution for the clipboards because I really liked them. Here are the finished boards, front and back. Instead of Mod Podge, use sticker paper!

The first one with the trees and stripes was one I did with scrapbook paper and Mod Podge. I am going to keep this one and use it on a minimal basis, like as my drill clipboard. You can see it turned out alright, so if you like the idea of using decorative papers go ahead and try it. The last three with the animals are my own design that I think are more durable and less tacky.

For those I used digital scrapbook designs that I downloaded from the internet and purchased off of Etsy (love the site!). I created my own pictures using those materials and then printed it off on sticker paper! I use sticker paper for lots of things in the classroom. My favorite is to stick them on the covers of their interactive notebooks and writer's notebooks. Then they have a cover they can design themselves. I let the kids know that it should look good enough so that they can recognize their own notebook right away. It helps when passing them out (I don't let them keep them in their desks because we know how much they love to shove things in there!) here's what you will need for the clipboards:

1) MATERIALS: clipboards (obviously, Staples sells them in 3-packs, and they're just as cheap as from a dollar store, but they have the clip style shown in the picture, which I like better), sticker paper from your local office store (I noticed Staples has it but Office Max does not. Also, be sure that you get the correct paper for your printer, laser or inkjet.), digital scrapbook designs, photo editing software, scissors, paper cutter, corner trimmer, and a hole punch.

2) Use your photo editing software to create your design. The animal pictures, I created. The patterned paper, I just printed as is, so if you don't feel like being "artsy" by making your own designs... The pictures were sized to 8.5"(H) x 9"(W). If you create your own pics, don't get anything too close to the edge because you might need to trim. (Back to the "artsy" comment, if you ask me, if you're going to make these clipboards, you are "artsy" even if you don't make your own designs and you don't feel like an artist, just so you know. "Art is what you make it", and "Stick people are people, too." Save those phrases for when your kids tell you they can't do art.)

3) After I was finished with the pictures, I inserted them on to a word document so I could play around with the positioning on the paper and the size. If you do that, be sure the picture maintains its original size (see above dimensions). Use landscape orientation. To get the pictures to the original size click "reset picture" in the formatting menu. Click "in front of text" in the formatting menu under "text wrapping" so that you can move the picture around. Position the pic and print. I let the printer create the top and bottom margins.

4) Trim the paper to the size you need for the clipboard. You'll need 2 stickers for each side. For the back, I used a hole punch to go around the metal fasteners. That way there are no bubbles or dents in the sticker. For the front, trim a space for the clip. I rounded the corners of the paper to match the clipboard. For a standard size clipboard, you can keep the height of 8 inches. You'll have to trim the sides to about 8 and 7/8 inches.

5) When you've done with the trimming, peel and stick. You're done!

I didn't use any finisher. It makes it too permanent, and I wanted to be able to peel the stickers off and make a new design when I get bored with the current one. It also gets rid of that tacky feel, and, I thought, for as much as I use clipboards in the classroom, the finish will only make the clipboard last about a month longer, then you have to sand it down to do it again (but in reality, I'll just throw it away). With the stickers, just peel them off and do it again (Much easier! I can do that in my "oh, so much spare time," lol). They're durable, and most importantly, usable! Enjoy!


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