Ideas for inexpensively decorating walls and ceilings?
February 28, 2014 2:21 PM   Subscribe

I started a School Beautification Club and I need ideas...

I started a club at the school I teach at that revolves around decorating the school. We've come up with ideas of things to paint onto the walls, but we are struggling with ideas of things to actually put onto the walls and/or hang from the ceiling. Keep in mind, this is a public school, so funds are minimal. However, my students are very creative and capable.

Any ideas are appreciated!
posted by figaro to Media & Arts (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
The ceiling tiles in one of the classrooms of my middle school were all copies of book covers painted by students. It wasn't some high art kind of deal, but it was fun, and kept me entertained during the countless hours I spent not paying attention to my teacher.

You can also source colored glass, mirrors, and ceramic from items found at garage sales and thrift stores to break up and make mosaics with.
posted by phunniemee at 2:32 PM on February 28, 2014

Try panels of patterned fabric -- you can get them for pretty cheap from the remnants bin in a fabric store.

Newspaper cartoons? You could pick a particular area of wall and cover it completely, a la certain bar bathrooms.

Go to a library sale or some other source of $1 books, find the art books, and cut out and hang up the pages. (With captions!)

Giant crossword! You could probably find a printable one somewhere on the internet.

Are plants totally out of the question? Hanging baskets?
posted by ostro at 2:36 PM on February 28, 2014

Use photos, greeting cards, artwork on paper by students, etc and create fabric frames for them.
posted by freezer cake at 3:45 PM on February 28, 2014

Best answer: I searched "photobooth backdrop" on pinterest and there are some interesting ideas for using paper or fabric to create interesting colorful, textural walls.

Jordan Ferney of Oh Happy Day blog does lots of interesting things with paper and garlands. Several cool ideas at this event she did seem like they could translate to a school setting. Here's some giant paper flowers. I've always wanted to try her recommendation of getting photos (or drawings, etc) blown up in sort of grainy poster size at a copy place, here are two projects that use this idea: 1,2. You could do portraits of historic figures, modern day people the students look up to or highlight students/teachers/community members in a giant "hall of fame".

Make lots of origami and tape and hang them around. It's fun with oversize paper as well.

This is such a great and fun idea!
posted by dahliachewswell at 4:51 PM on February 28, 2014

Collages - every student (and staff member?) gets X square feet to assemble a collage of stuff that is personal to them and their interests? Each could be done on a sheet of cardboard and those could be stapled up like tiles.
posted by Lou Stuells at 5:36 PM on February 28, 2014

I used to have a row of umbrellas hanging upside down in a rainbow across my library. The umbrellas were cheapo dollar store umbrellas and didn't fade in the two years they were up even though they were directly exposed to sunlight.

Something you might want to consider is the fire marshall and their tendancy to nitpick. My current school allows nothing from the ceiling at all due to fire hazard.
posted by aetg at 7:00 PM on February 28, 2014 [1 favorite]

yea, fabric can be attached to walls with starch - cheap, removable, doesn't damage the walls or the fabric
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 10:35 PM on February 28, 2014

Response by poster: These are all such great ideas, thank you! I will definitely check with the fire marshall but if it's allowed, I am loving the giant origami idea.

Thanks again everyone!
posted by figaro at 10:44 AM on March 2, 2014

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