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  • 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.


October 2009 is Dinosaur Month. No need to say that a display with the large ancient animals who’s name means: ‘fearfully great lizard’ will rouse the fantasy and make one wonder how it must have been to live in a world with the flying Pterodactyl,  the Brachyceratops or the Deinocheirus. SCARY probably!!!!!!!!!!

What you need:

  • Fabric for the background (Geoff’s emporium)
  • Fabric for the flying dinosaur (Geoff’s emporium)
  • Images of dinosaurs, enlarged and laminated. I enlarged the yellow and green dinosaurs several times on A3 paper. After having the pieces laminated I used strong tape (at the back of course)  to fit the pieces together so you end up with very large images
  • Feathers (two dollar shop)
  • Letters for the banner adorned with small dinosaurs and laminated to give it a bit more body
  • Green/yellow/brown card for the palm trees

What to do:

Geoff’s emporium in Dominion Rd, Auckland is a treat to visit. Not because it is a pretty shop (not at all) but because it is like a garage sale; you never know what surprises you’ll find. Most of the fabric they have is very cheap and they have a huge variety. Here I found the fabulous printed camouflage fabric and the very thin silky fabric with the feathery pattern for the flying dinosaur.

Flying dinosaur above the display board:

First of all I had to create a flying dinosaur to cover up the background above the display board. I used the base for the dolphins (see: Sea life display) but you can create your own base using a similar shape for above the display board. 

I have used the board for several displays and this time it became the base for an airborne Pterodactyl. Make the head of the flying dinosaur a couple of days before ‘display’ day (if both sides can be seen it needs to be mirrored). Also make the legs and tail. The National Geographic magazine showed some amazing flying dinosaurs and I copied the head of one of them and used my imagination to make it more colourful. A couple of torn-off metal rods from old folders were used to support the head and neck and over that I pasted the card and fabric.

To make sure the wings will cover the ‘dolphin base’ and the numerous layers of paper and card that covers it, I staple newspapers over it. I just use one or two staples per sheet (remember to do the staple at an angle for easy removal – see: Display Tips) and use tape to connect them. With a Velcro I follow the shape of the background and draw in the centre the body of the bird. Subsequently I remove the newspaper from the background, put it on a workbench and cut it to shape.

I cover the wings with white A3 and a layer of beige A4 and I border the top part of the wings with black card. (staple only the top edge because the fabric will be attached under the black card) The image of the flying dinosaur shows it had a large tail with a fluffy tip and a pair of thin hanging legs. I use my imagination and a bit of coloured paper to come up with something that could have been an exact copy. The tip of the tail I cover in black feathers.

On ‘display day’ I staple the body and wings to the board. Standing on a table I attach the head to the body and make sure the metal rods are taped securely to the background. Now the bird comes to life. Then it is time to attach the feathery fabric to the wings and body. The silky fabric can easily be shaped under the black border. A couple of staples secure it and now I can cut the fabric in the shape of the wings, not in a nice and careful way but random and ragged. For a feathery look I staple little feathers to the top part of  the wings.  The legs and tail can easily be attached and the dinosaur is ready to take off.


Type the letters DINOSAURS in Word.  Do one letter per A4 page using a very large font to fit the page. Choose a font colour to match the display and print it. For each letter print an image of a dinosaur in the same scale so that they fit with the letters. Cut out the little dinosaurs and shape them around the letters. For some I cut a little slot in the letter to give the impression the dinosaur crawls around the letter. Paste the dinosaur to the image of the letter. Have the letters with dinosaurs laminated and cut them to shape.

Display board:

Cover the board with the ‘army’ printed  fabric. Just a few staples will do. Attach the dinosaurs, both at one side of the tail that reaches from above the board halfway ‘til the middle of the display board. (remember to staple the images with ‘bubbles’ instead of flat, this gives a much more authentic look) Attach the banner to the board. Drape the legs or tails of the dinosaur above it around the banner. Attach the other (smaller) dinosaurs. Cut the green/yellow card into palm leaves and staple a couple of them together. You can do this a couple of days before the display day but I came up with this idea during the making of the display. Using a hole punch make two holes approx 3 cm from the end. Cut the tree trunks and give them some horizontal strips in a different coloured paper to give an authentic look. Attach the trunks to the board and connect the palm leaves. I used wire and attached the leaves upside down so that they wave out from the base. Staple the rest of the leaves under the display shelves to create a tropical atmosphere. With lots of books about dinosaurs to show, this display will easily take you a couple of million years back in time.

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

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