Once again, I'm using FREE paint stirrers from Home Depot to make shelf markers for our school library. I like these shelf markers because:
(1) They are sturdy and they last all year. The fancy shelf markers I purchased never held up to all the use/abuse they took.
(2) They are sturdy and they hurt if you slap them against your leg. Rules that enforce themselves just make our lives easier, so we have time for other things. You know that sound that the flimsy shelf markers make as the kids slap them against their hands or legs as they browse? They learn quickly with the wooden shelf markers that the painful smack is not worth repeating.
3) Without much effort, I can decorate these to match our library theme for the year. I think that having a theme makes the library more inviting for everyone on campus!
Here is the step-by-step, detailed how to:
Step 1: Go to Home Depot (or your favorite hardware store) and ask the nice person at the paint counter if you can have about 30 paint stirrers for your school library. I think my nice person gave me extra. :D
Step 2: Buy your paint and scrapbook paper. I always buy a pad of scrapbook paper at Hobby Lobby to set the colors for my library theme. I use the paper when I create decorations and bulletin boards. It costs $19.99 for sixty 12 x 12 pages, but I buy it when it's half off or use a half-off coupon.
Here's the paper I'm using for my camping theme. I really like the owls and the bright colors!
I use a solid color from this pack of scrapbook paper for the color that I will paint the paint stirrers all over. This year I chose a bright red, and found a big bottle of tomato red paint for $2.99.
Step Three: Choose one page of scrapbook paper that has lots of little items on it. These will be what you Mod Podge onto the handles of the paint stirrers/shelf markers. I chose a page with colorful owls, and cut them apart. Hint: This would be much easier to do with a paper cutter than it was with scissors and a ruler.
Step Four: Use a foam brush to paint the front, backs, and edges of all of the paint stirrers. This takes a while, because you obviously have to let one side dry before you can paint the other side. If there is any wet paint on the bottom of the paint stirrer when you set it on the newspaper, it will stick to the newspaper and be ugly. Don't even ask me how I know this.
This is not the time to invite the Better Homes and Gardens photographer to your house.
Step 6: Paint the handle (one side only) with Mod Podge, stick your picture on the Mod Podge, then Mod Podge over the top of the picture. The Mod Podge under the picture holds it onto the stick. The Mod Podge on top of the picture is a protective coating so that the paper doesn't get torn when it's held in a
Mod Podge on stick
Picture on Mod Podge on stick
Mod Podge on picture on Mod Podge on stick
I do this all at once, without waiting for the first layer of Mod Podge to dry. Then I let everything dry for a day or so before I take them into school.
Here is the finished product! Ta-da!
I made a set of these shelf markers last year for my space theme, and they lasted all year without a problem. It does take time, but you can do this and watch TV at the same time. I have fun choosing the paint color and the picture and making these look just like I want them so that they match my library decoration theme.
I hope you are having fun making your school library a special place for your teachers and students!