• Pages

  • Activities and Competitions

    Organizing activities and competitions is fun but there are times you need some fresh ideas. In the activity drop-down menu below, you can find heaps of ideas. What about a Paper Plane Competition?
  • Activities

  • TIP: Keep an action list

    I wasn't particularly good at it myself - I'm an ad hoc person - but it was one of my recommendations when I gave display workshops: Make a rough sketch of how the display will look like Write down what materials and tools you'll need Create a time-line / checklist: This week copying and laminating - Next week: buy or beg materials - Two weeks: covering display boxes with matching paper - Three weeks: collect books matching the display etc. till you reach D-day and start getting nervous....
  • TIP: Staple at an angle

    Removing old display items will be much easier when you hold the stapler at an angle when you tack items to the board. The staples will stick out at one side - perfect to get hold of and pull them out when you change displays.
  • TIP: Use a glue gun

    Glue guns are the most fantastic tools for creating displays. You can attach all sorts of materials like hard plastic, metal, fabric and everything else you can think off. Be careful with your fingers (blow - blow) the glue is very hot and you easily get blisters
  • TIP: Create a 3D effect!

    Create a 3D effect by hanging objects in front of the display board, like fish in a Sea Life display or lanterns in a Spring or Garden display.
  • TIP: Don’t overdue it!

    Too much text, images or books on display too close together distract the eye. It all becomes a blur. Each object needs its own space. Think of a shop window that is more than full with appliances, you can’t distinguish one object from the other, while carefully placed objects attract the attention.


2009 is the YEAR OF ASTRONOMY, reason enough to make a display that shows planet Earth and the surrounding planets with plenty of books about astronomy, the universe, space/time travels and science fiction. 

To create a ‘space’ background  I use the dark blue look-through wrapping paper the college uses as wrapping paper for presents. It gives a lovely shiny sparkle over the aquamarine coloured wrapping paper of the previous display (see: Sea Life display) but normal dark blue wrapping paper will work as well. I then staple the half round shape of planet earth to the bottom of the display board to make it look like it is rising above the horizon. Shaping it over the two iron bars of the left and right side boards makes it even more dramatic. After that it is easy to put the planets in place.

From a magazine I copy a rocket with a man pointing his finger upwards and I enlarge it in different sizes. I also copy the same image in reverse to make the rocket and the finger point in the opposite direction. The previous display had a couple of jumping dolphins above the board and I use the same board to symbolise the Milky Way.

I wrap the dolphins in silver coloured wrapping paper and staple dozens of illuminating stars in different sizes to it. The Christmas lights make the stars sparkle in all kind of colours.


What you need:

  • Display heading printed out 
  • Names of planets printed out
  • Blue wrapping paper
  • Silver wrapping paper (or blue if you like)
  • About 15 A4 images of different parts of the earth taken from space
  • Images of the planets, enlarged if necessary
  • Images of rockets or space shuttles
  • Illuminating paper
  • Christmas lights (see: Display tips)

What to do:

Earth and planets: To create a 150 cm wide and 60 cm high half round earth I paste a few days before ‘display day’ lots of images of different parts of the earth  together. I don’t worry about the accuracy of the geography.

Our library has a book called ‘Orbit: Nasa astronauts photograph the world’  and I copy lots of pictures from that book. The round topped images I use for the top part of the earth give a natural look when all images are pasted together.

Because you see the straight lines of the edges of the pages very clearly you have  to cut out smaller images in different shapes and matching colours and paste them over the original edges to cover up the straight lines. You’ll be amazed what a difference that makes.

Make copies of the most common planets, enlarge them if necessary, and have them laminated to give them more body. It is handy to write the names on the back of the image as  some of the planets look quite similar and you don ‘t want to mix up planets and names, again you can do all this way before ‘display day’ to make the actual day less stressful.

Staple the blue wrapping paper to the board and staple the planet earth on the bottom as if it is halfway rising above the horizon. Staple the display heading in place above the earth. Make sure the heading is in a straight line. Use the pin-cotton and blu tek- technique described in display tips and when you’re viewing the tips have a quick look how to staple images to the board.

Staple the planets and their names in place. Attach the space shuttles or rockets in the empty space between earth and the planets. I used some of the pointing fingers to emphasize the names of the planets.

Milky Way:

Use the illuminating paper to cut lots and lots of stars in different sizes. This also can be done a few days before display day. Laminate them. Wrap the silver wrapping paper (or blue if you prefer) around a frame attached to the display board and staple it in place. I used the dolphins of the previous Sea display to create the Milky Way. I just wrapped silver wrapping paper around the dolphins and stapled it to the board.

Attach the shiny stars all over the silvery paper and hang the Christmas lights in place. Connect the power and the stars will sparkle and shine in beautiful colours.

Arrange the books on the shelves and on the floor in front of  the display. Big half open standing books with a flat laying book on top can be used as a book-display stand to show a smaller book and to create different levels of displays.  

To view larger images of displays click on:                                    http://www.flickr.com/photos/gr8displays/

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