Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Creating Staggered Signage

 Hang-Mate ceiling hangers replace the ceiling hooks of yesterday. They retract signage to the ceiling for you, keeping you safely on the ground.

The "Thinking Strategies" signage displayed on Pinterest and our Hang-Mate Ideas page was created for Highland Park Elementary School in Lee's Summit, MO. Teachers in this lovely school teach children to think about their learning in order for them to be more active in the process. Though this signage took a little time, it was not hard, and I loved the look. 

The instructions that follow also relate to the "Celebrating Student Excellence" wall made for Campbell Middle School, a school filled with remarkable colleagues with whom I had the pleasure to teach.

Foam Core: Hobby Lobby, frequently on sale, 20” x 30”, usually $4 a sheet.

·         Cut 5” x 20” strips for the Thinking Strategies display; I used a metallic gold.

·         Cut the foam core in half (15” x 20”) for the  Celebrate Student Excellence display.

Adhesive hangers: I used our Saw-Toothed Hangers, which are super sturdy, but you can also get by more cheaply with Adhesive Eyelet Hangers. You will want to be exacting in placement of these hangers. If they're not placed precisely on identical spots on each piece, the cascading sections will not fall squarely beneath each other. I used a protractor to square to the corners before marking the spot. (The top section of the display will also need adhesive hangers for connecting the signage to the Hang-Mate. In the illustration of the Thinking Strategies signage, I used two Clear Plastic Locking Extensions and after connecting each to the back of the first panel, connected them to each other forming a vertex to which the Hang-Mate would connect. In the Celebrate Excellence display, the extensions hooked directly on a Hang-Mate positioned on the wall rail.)

Chart paper: I used the 19 by 25.5 lightweight colored paper from Hobby Lobby…Usually $1.69, 40% coupon online. Cut it in 19”x4.25” strips for the Thinking Strategies display. 

Magnets: Sold in larger packets, 50 per packet at Hobby Lobby, $6.99, rarely on sale...also good for that online 40% coupon. I wash these in soapy water before using them, as they have an oily-dirty surface that sometimes contaminates the papers. You'll be permanently mounting magnets on the back of every section. Magnets placed on the front will hold your signage/papers in place. You will want to be precise in placing these on the Thinking Strategies signage, but can be random for the wall display. Check out images to see what I mean~~you'll see that I added stars and flowers to the magnets on the wall display.

Adhesive for magnets: Adhere the magnets to the back of the foam core with foam tape (hot glue may work, too~~check to see that it doesn't interfere with the magnetic force). We have Heavy-duty double-faced tape at our website for $2.09 since we can buy in volume.  

Linkage between sections: Our Clear Plastic Locking Extensions work beautifully to link sections together while allowing for flexibility in positioning. Choose two for each panel you're creating. For the Thinking Strategies display, choose our 6" Extensions; for the Celebrate Student Excellence display, choose the 18" Extensions between panels. Think about how you want the end result to look. Do you like the staggered effect on the wall rail? Then you'll want to vary the length of the extensions. They come in 6, 12, and 18 inch lengths.

Lettering: If you have access to an electronic cutter, your life will be infinitely easier. (In my opinion, every school and library should own one.) When I was shopping for mine, the Cricut Expression was the best for the price. At that time, the cheapest version was available at Walmart. It’s also available online at a variety of spots and at Joanne’s and Hobby Lobby. Checking around, the difference between these offerings was in the number and kind of cartridges offered. The cartridge that came with mine is called Plantin SchoolBook, from which you can cut a variety of letter and number types. 

Lettering paper: card stock decorative 12 x 12 papers from Hobby Lobby. Usually 59 cents a sheet, frequently on sale. 

For the Learning Strategies signage letters, I used: 2.5” Shadow and 2” Tall Ball. For the word strips on the Celebrate Student Excellence display, I used 3.25" Roly Poly. 

 Before cutting those letters, I decided to adhere an adhesive to the back of every sheet of card stock, rather than glue every letter in place individually. Sizzix makes sheets of adhesive that work beautifully. If you decide use the Sizzix adhesive, apply the adhesive to your card stock per their instructions, and put card stock adhesive-side-up on the cutting mat (otherwise it won’t stick properly). Also, check to  see that Paper Saver and the Flip buttons are depressed before cutting. 

Sizzix adhesive sheets: 12 x 12 sheets applied to the back of card stock makes adhesive letters or numbers for easy application to chart paper; two types are available, permanent and repositionable. Sizzix Permanent Adhesive sheets work, but they're gooey and troublesome for the Cricut. I prefer the Repositionable variety. You can buy these in pkgs of 8 online for $10 + shipping, or you can buy them from us.  Interested in ordering from us online? Go here: Sizzix Repositionable Sheets

That's it! Now you just need the time to pull it together. You can post other materials on the back of the Learning Strategies display, as I have done on the Geomety Display. All you need is a new set of signs and a few extra magnets. Light-weight linkage needs just one Hang-Mate, but the more sections you add, the more HMs you'll need. (If you decide to add extra sections to the "Learning Strategies" sign,  put the HMs side-by-side on the t-bar, and hook them into the same loop at the top of the extensions.)

I love the professionalism of this kind of signage, and its a great project for a PTA helper! If you choose to laminate your work, it will last for years. Questions? Write me:


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