Make a Science Fair Board that Your Kids Can Use Over and Over

Make a Reusable Tri-Fold Display Board

From their science fair board to their cookie booth display, my girls go through a lot of tri-fold display boards. No longer!

Make a Science Fair Board that Your Kids Can Use Over and Over

If you’ve got a school-aged kid, you know tri-fold display boards. In the course of a single school year, my two kids–so multiply this by two–have a Biography Fair, Science Fair, Geography Fair, World Thinking Day festival, and Girl Scout cookie booth. Buying two display boards for each of these would piss me off, and although we will make an upcycled cardboard display board if we can, we don’t always have a nice, big swatch of cardboard to use.

I decided to solve the problem full-stop, then, several months ago, and I made FIVE re-usable display boards. Now the kids can have three display boards at their Girl Scout cookie booth, while they’re also working on their Science Fair board AND their presentation for the Geography Fair (because these are all the same month. Of course.). Or they can draw on them at home, making murals or backdrops for games. Or, since we homeschool, they can make presentations for ME–mwa-ha-ha!

It took me about thirty bucks and one afternoon to make all five of these boards, and considering that’s probably the same amount of time and money that I’d put into buying a school year’s worth of new display boards for the kids in a single year, by the time the kids graduate, I’ll be ahead by several days and a few hundred bucks.

Here’s how to make your own!

Reusable Science Fair Board

You will need:

chalkboard or dry-erase board panel. Find these at any big-box hardware store. They’re normally about $10 at ours, but they’ll occasionally go on sale–I bought my whopping FIVE panels when they were half-off several months ago.

duct tape. I thought about using real hinges for these, but it wouldn’t be worth the extra effort. The duct tape hinges that I’m going to show you will allow the display board to fold flat in either direction.

When I was first planning this project, I worried that the duct tape hinges would be unsightly, but I don’t think they’re really noticeable in the context of whatever display is put on the board. You could always choose cute duct tape and turn it into a design element, however, if you wish.

saw. I used a circular saw for this project, but these panels are easy to saw, so even your most basic saw will be fine.

Make a Reusable Tri-Fold Display Board

1. Measure and plan. Whatever the length of your chalkboard panel, you will want to cut it in half, and then cut one of those halves in half:

Make a Reusable Tri-Fold Display

2. Cut to your specifications. This is a fun time to get out your biggest and best power tools!

reusable tri-fold display board2015

3. Duct tape the hinges. Two do this, place the two pieces that you want to join approximately 1/4″ apart; I use a gridded cutting mat to help me keep everything even and level:

Make a Reusable Tri-Fold Display

Tape completely up one side and down the other, pressing the tape into that 1/4″ gap, but being careful to preserve that gap.

When you’ve created both duct tape hinges, you’re done!

After ten months of using our reusable display boards, the duct tape on one board is just about ready to need to be touched up. On another board, which was left to sit for several months after an academic fair before it was erased to be re-used, there’s some chalk ghosting that’s not too noticeable after it’s decorated for a new display. If it suffers more wear, I plan to peel off the duct tape, paint the panel over in a couple of coats of chalkboard paint, and then retape the hinges, and it’ll be good as new and ready for the science fair! Or whatever display board event is on their calendars next.

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