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  • Activities and Competitions

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

  • TIP: Think inside the hat!

    Party hats, store-bought or made from pages of an old book or scrap paper are very useful for a display. You can staple the hat to the board as a container for whatever you want to showcase. Or hang them in front of the board filled with little notes, poems, toy animals or whatever takes your fancy
  • 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.

Sea Life

New Zealand is surrounded by sea and the outer boundaries of its landmass are carved with inlets and harbours. The beautiful ocean with its colourful marine life is never far away. Yet often we don’t think of what is going on under the surface of the pristine turquoise-calm or the choppy-grey surface

With this Sea Life exhibition I wanted to emphasize the beauty of our underwater world.  One of the main attractions of citizens and tourists are the dolphins and whales. Especially the playful behaviour of the dolphins jumping out of the water is spectacular. Bottlenose boogie!!!

With that in mind I asked our maintenance team if they were willing to cut the three connected dolphins from plywood if I provided them with the paper pattern I had copied from a library book and enlarged several times. They were with that and from there on the rest was simple.

The bookshelves attached to the top of the display board form a natural layer between water and air. This way I could devote the complete display board to the colourful marine life with its blue and orange fish, green seaweed, red coral reefs and yellow, pink or blue anemones.


Shopping at the cheapy shops became a party and attaching the black and and silver layers of paper to the plywood bottlenoses sometimes a party puzzle. I learned that there are three ways to attract attention: movement- colour – lights

I also asked the maintenance team if they could cut me 6 soft board shelves to attach under the metal shelves for stapling items to or hanging materials from creating a 3D effect. And I could attach Christmas lights. The team is fantastic and they granted my wishes.

What you need:




Images from dolphins enlarged and shaped in a half-circle matching the display board. Don’t forget that the first and third dolphin are only halfway out of the water. The tail of the first and head of the third need to be stapled to the board. They don’t need to be of plywood but can be made of card

Plywood and screws to attach it to the metal bar of the board (if you have a low ceiling you can hang the dolphins from the ceiling or if you have the display against the wall you can attach them to the wall)

Black and silver paper to cover (both sides of) the plywood dolphins Double-sided tape

Glue stick


Display board:

Aquamarine wrapping paper. Images of NZ fish, seaweed and other sea animals/life enlarged and laminated to give them a shiny, wet look (this can be done before the actual day to make working on the display less stressful). Colourful fish (two dollar shop) to hang in front of the board for the 3D effect. Sea creatures; optional (I used magnets). Shells, (don’t forget to bring a plastic bag when you’re going to the beach) or little pieces of driftwood. Cardboard boxes to put in front of the display board to create 3D effect. Christmas lights. Netting (I used plant netting from a nursery)

Soft board for under the display shelves

Velcro to attach the core-board to the display board

What to do:


Put pieces of black paper under the plywood dolphins and draw the contours of the dolphins. Cut these pieces out. Use the silver paper to create the light underside of the dolphin and match them up with the black top sides. Don’t be afraid that it isn’t exactly right, once attached to the plywood and up in the air the dolphins will look fantastic, but make sure the tail and head and lines of the silvery underbelly of nos. 1 and 3 match with the rest of the body. If you use both sides of the plywood than be sure to reverse the image on the other side when pasting the silver paper to the dolphins. Laminate the black and silver dolphins with Duraseal to give them a wet, shiny look and paste them to the plywood with double-sided tape. Attach it to the board.

Display board

Cover the display board with the aquamarine wrapping paper. Also cover a few boxes with the same paper to create a 3D effect. Of course you can use other colours of paper to create rocks or reefs or sandy contours. Staple the tail and head of dolphin no.1 and 3 to the board, make sure their lines match. Put the shelves (with the core-board underneath) in place. Staple the laminated images of fish and sea life to the board. Don’t staple it flat but let the images bulge a bit, this gives a much more natural look. Staple at an angle (one corner sticking out) for easy removal of the staples when making a new display. Attach nylon strings to the Christmas light string and staple the strings to the soft board, make sure the plug is close to the electricity box. Put the boxes in front of the board and staple some images to the boxes. (let them stick out a bit on top or sideways) Arrange shells, driftwood or whatever you want on top of the boxes. Attach nylon strings to the fish (I drilled little holes in them) and staple the string to the soft board. Make little clusters of fish instead of every now and then a fish. I had a few little rubber toy fish which I stapled directly to the board. Attach nylon strings to the sea creature magnets (optional) and attach them to the metal bars of the board. Secure them with the nylon strings to make sure they can’t be easily removed. Drape the netting around the bars or staple it to the board and wrap it around the boxes and put shells and driftwood or even some fish on and under the netting.

Step back, walk away, look again and squeeze your eyes to get the big picture. Re-arrange and re-hang or remove if necessary.

Arrange the books on top of the shelves and in between the boxes at the bottom. Look at matching book covers or contrasting colours and re-arrange till satisfied.

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

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