Wednesday, August 7, 2013

crafting in the classroom

I've been spending some quality time with my classroom over the past couple weeks....not full days, but for good chunks of time I've been productive.*
*When I'm not getting distracted by Bloglovin, Pinterest, Facebook, or....basically anything else that seems more interesting at the time. 

So just to prove that I actually have been getting things done, and to make myself feel better about spending my summer days working, here are a few things that I've accomplished. 

Project #1- Bookcase Backing
This bookcase, which I believe I got at Target a few years ago, needed a little face lift.  The backing came off when I moved it at the end of the year so I thought that was a sign to do something fun with it. 



All I needed was some cute contact paper from Home Goods and a little patience.
I laid out the backing, measured and cut a length of the contact paper and sloooowwwly smoothed it down.

Unfortunately, the contact paper wasn't wide enough for the backing, so I had to do two pieces.
I tried to line up the pattern, but it was harder than I thought.

Here it is with everything back in the bookcase. 
Yes, I do realize that most of the beautiful paper isn't visible when I load up the shelves like this, but until I find a better home for my reference books, that's just how it has to be.  :)

Project #2- Table Cover
In the front of my classroom, I have a rectangular table which houses my Elmo, projector, and DVD player.  This is how it used to look:
Technically, there's nothing *wrong* with this.....I just wanted to (a) put something on it to hide the mess of cords underneath the table and (b) have another excuse to use my chevron fabric.

I just measured the fabric to make it long enough to go down both sides, and it was the perfect width to cover the top of my table as well as hang about halfway down the back.

My mom sewed the two side hems the same night that she sewed my four chevron pillow covers.

I just used Scotch brand foam mounting table on the edge of the table to secure the tablecloth in place.  If I do this again, I will probably use Velcro so that I can take off the fabric to wash it every summer.  Another teacher at my school did that with fabric she put around her front table, and I thought that was a brilliant idea!

But...I bought this and it will get the job done....for this year at least.

Yep, I put one loooooonnng strip of the tape down the edge of the table, removed the backing and pressed the fabric onto the tape.  Easy schmeasy!

Okay....I promise, no more chevron.
(Well, no more chevron fabric at least!)

Project #3- Filing Cabinet Makeover
When I first moved to this classroom from the middle school about eleven years ago, my filing cabinet had this on top of it:

It looked like someone left some photocopy or transparency on the top, and the ink transfer is permanently stamped on there.  I tried covering it with some fadeless paper and double sided tape, but after eleven years it was looking pretty ragged.

Enter my fabulous contact paper to the rescue!

After I measured and cut the piece, I used a ruler to really smooth down the paper as I adhered it to the top.

SO much better!

I also had a few other details to add to this makeover, including removing some old worn stickers.

And creating some new labels for the drawers (a.k.a. index cards cut and covered with the contact paper).   Someday, when I finally break down and buy a label maker, I'm going to make some labels to put on these.  For now, they can just sit there and look pretty.

And lastly, I couldn't help it.  I had some extra black and white polka-dot washi tape and just had to make a sweet border to finish off the cabinet's new look.

And here's the "after" picture:

Project #4- New Cubby Numbers
As I said in my last post, I used to have a "fish" theme in my classroom.  Once this slowly faded away, I decided that I wanted to change my cubby numbers since they.....of course....were on little fish.  While this seems like it should be an easy change, it actually took longer than the other three projects in this post.

First of all, I couldn't go the easy route and just buy new shapes to number by, I had to MAKE them.  Maybe I'll just put them on Teachers Pay Teachers at some point and that will make it all worth it.  :)

Secondly, I made circles.
Which, after laminating them, I realized are a PAIN to cut out.
Literally, my hand cramped up.  How lame is that?

Here are all thirty.  Even though I have 29 students, I decided to make an extra....just in case someday we go up to thirty students. 

And here they are....finally on the cubbies.

UPDATE:  I have uploaded these labels, along with a few other things I made with the same design, to my Teachers Pay Teachers store.  If you're interested in purchasing them, go here.

Sidebar Alert:  If you are a teacher who uses clear contact paper to attach things, you may understand my source of frustration here.
I almost lose my patience (that is HARD to do-- honest) when I use clear contact paper.
Whenever I cut it into small pieces to cover something, I can not for the life of me "find a corner" where I can easily remove the backing.  It.  Is.  Irritating.
Okay....sidebar done. 
Seriously though, if you have a better way of doing it....please share!

All of that hard work did pay off though.....I love my new cubby number tags!

Okay, so I was going to add one of the projects I did today (my new jobs board) to today's post, but after looking back at (a) the length of this post and (b) how much I really could just fall asleep right now, I'm going to postpone that for another day.
Something for you to look forward to!  ;)


Unknown said...

I love the top of the file cabinet!! It is inspiring me to do something similar with all my boring metal desk/computer tables in my room.
Would love to find awesome contact paper ... have to start looking!

Unknown said...

It's such an easy fix, too....and not permanent in case you ever change classrooms or schools. :)

Unknown said...

I didn't think to do that to my filing cabinet! I did use my zebra print contact paper today that I got from Walmart to make my old paper tray come to life again.

Unknown said...

Great idea, Brandy! Cute contact paper is such an easy way to make old, plain things cute and fresh looking. And the best part is that it's so inexpensive!

Miss Kindergarten said...

Everything you did is amazing!! I love it!!

Unknown said...

Thank you! I've been having so much fun changing a few things in my room this summer! :)

SpeechLanguagePirates said...

Where does one but Washi tape?!?

Unknown said...

The tape I used on my filing cabinet is actually a craft tape that I got from Target (it was near the "Smash" books in the craft/scrapbooking section). I have bought washi tape from Michaels and online shops on Etsy and I'm sure there are other places, but that's where I've bought mine.

Amanda said...

Cute! I like laminating items and hot gluing them...easier than contact paper

Unknown said...

Great idea....I actually decided to do that on some drawers that I was labeling because the contact paper wouldn't stick. I'm definitely going to go with that method more now! :)

Unknown said...

I absolutely love the print of your contact paper! Where did you buy it? I can't seem to find many creative looking designs :(

Unknown said...

Cassandra- the contact paper is from Home Goods. I bought it this past summer, so I'm not sure if they would still have that print.

Ms. K said...

I love this! I'm so inspired...especially after I saw loads of tape at Office Depot! I'm linking to your post!

Unknown said...

Thanks so much! If you do some projects with your tape, I'd love to see them! I'll check out your blog, too! :)

Unknown said...

File cabinet was my fave!

Unknown said...

I am an organized chaos kind of gal--meaning I can't see the top of any desk or file cabinet in my room. I think if I bling out these items, I may keep everything in a more orderly fashion so I can see the pretty! Thanks for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Hi Michelle,

I hope you still receive comment notifications for this post! I work for the advice site and we're working on a slideshow of fabulous ideas for decorating office cubicles. I would like permission to use one of the above images in our article(

Thanks so much in advance. Feel free to reach out to be at Kat at Lovetoknow dot com. I look forward to hearing from you soon!

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