Back to School Ideas

Published on October 21st, 2013 | by Julie Finn

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# Back to School Ideas: A Project Display Board from Upcycled Cardboard

Make the Science Fair (or the Biography Fair, or the International Fair…) slightly less of a pain in the butt, AND save yourself a trip to the store to buy a cardboard or foam core display board, because crafting your own display board out of upcycled cardboard is so easy!

You can make your DIY project display board exactly the size that you want–just the thing for an event with a little space and a lot of kids–and paint it to match your theme. And since you’ve spent exactly zero dollars on it, you can toss all your kid’s hard work into the recycling bin as soon as she’s done with it… or re-use it for her next fair!

1. Source some cardboard. To make your own upcycled cardboard project display board, you’ll need a box knife, a pencil, measuring tape, and a nice, flat, wide piece of cardboard. We get all our giant pieces of cardboard from the food pantry where we volunteer–for your own giant pieces of cardboard, you might try grocery stores, appliance stores, or your own local food pantry, which I bet could use a great volunteer like you.

2. Define your dimensions. Trim your cardboard to the height that you want it (I cut mine in half to make two project fair boards, since with two kids you have to double every stinkin’ thing), and then do some playing around to evaluate width. I don’t like to trim width if I don’t have to, since that excess will go straight into the recycling bin, but you can if you’re tight on space.

3. Measure and calculate. Have your kiddo measure the width of the cardboard, then divide that measurement by four (You can also halve it and halve it again, if you’ve got a kid who’s just started fractions and hasn’t learned fourths yet, like mine). Turn the cardboard to the back side, and  have your kiddo measure and mark that distance from both sides of the cardboard, toward the center.

4. Score and fold. If possible, place your cardboard over a gridded cutting mat, and get yourself a nice, long ruler, because the straight lines that make this display board sit perfectly on the table are what separate it from a janky homemade display board that sits all sad and crooked and embarrasses your kid enough that they won’t let you do homemade anything for them again, ever.

Score a straight line down the cardboard at the distance that your kid measured from each side, completely perpendicular to the cardboard’s bottom.

Fold each of the sides in along the score lines. See how the sides meet perfectly in the middle? That’s the beauty of measuring in fourths.

This cardboard project display board is just as nice as the store-bought cardboard display boards, and even better than the foam core ones, in my opinion, because they take paint, marker, crayons and glue much better. The only limit is your kiddo’s imagination!

I'm a writer, crafter, Zombie Preparedness Planner, and homeschooling momma of two kids who will hopefully someday transition into using their genius for good, not the evil machinations and mess-making in which they currently indulge. I'm interested in recycling and nature crafts, food security, STEM education, and the DIY lifestyle, however it's manifested--making myself some underwear out of T-shirts? Done it. Teaching myself guitar? Doing it right now. Visit my blog Craft Knife for a peek at our very weird handmade homeschool life; my etsy shop Pumpkin+Bear for a truly odd number of rainbow-themed beeswax pretties; and my for links to articles about poverty, educational politics, and this famous cat who lives in my neighborhood.

### 2 Responses to Back to School Ideas: A Project Display Board from Upcycled Cardboard

1. Tina says:

Those look great!

2. Julie Finn says:

Thanks! If there’s one thing that can be said about my kids, it’s that they clearly do all their own work!