Setting the SceneI have a small shelf in the front of my classroom that I use to hold materials for the students to use. I keep the class table bins on this shelf when they are not in use as well as their folders that go home every day and a few extra sets of materials (scissors, markers, crayons, and pencils) that belong to me, but are sometimes shared with the students.
I previously stored these items in brightly colored boxes. The boxes worked because they were bright enough, but they were very flat and not particularly fun. Here is a "Before" picture of the shelf with my old baskets.
Despite my best efforts with the camera, my green shelf looks radio-active. It's actually a very pleasant lime green.
Gather SuppliesDesperate to jazz things up, I purchased some clear plastic paint pails from Michaels for about $5 eachand a few sheets of adhesive vinyl from Jo-Anne's. (I tried to find directly online links to these products for you, but was unsuccessful. My best advice is to ask an associate at Michael's where the paint cans are. You can find sheets of vinyl for about $3 each in the scrapbooking aisle at Jo-Anne's.)
One of my beloved classroom volunteers owns a Cricut and she took the vinyl home to cut for me. Then the real fun began- DECORATING! My friend Meggan and I had a crafty get-together and she helped me jazz up my supply buckets. The decorating process is pretty self explanatory: simply cut, peel, and stick the vinyl cutouts onto the plastic containers. (UPDATE: Since writing this blog post, I have purchased a Silhouette Cameo for classroom projects and it is perfect for projects like this!)
Planning and executing an effective method for placing the letters in a straight line that were properly centered on the bucket was a bit more complicated. I worked out a simple system for this task and I'll walk you through the process.
Letter PlacementTo begin, place a strip of tape on the bucket to be your guide for laying the letters in a straight line. Test the tape ahead of time in a discrete location on the bucket to be sure it won't leave residue behind when you remove it.
Next, select the letter from the MIDDLE of the word that you will be labeling on the bucket. This task is much easier if you start at the center of the bucket and work outward. You want to place the letter above the middle point of the strip (midway between the two paint handles). Use your best judgement to determine the center of the tape strip.
In this example, I am spelling the word Crayons. I didn't want the bottom of the 'y' to stick to my tape guideline, so I gently curled the lower part of the 'y' up and let the sticky part hold it in place while I worked on the remaining letters. Here is a closer view:
Add more letters, moving outward from the center of the word. Here, you can see a bit more of the word Crayons forming.
When the word is in place, gently remove the tape guideline. Uncurl any letters once the tape is removed.
Add colorful dots to finish jazzing up your cute new storage bin.
By the end of the night, Meggan and I were feeling a little silly. We used the vinyl scraps to label ourselves. As you can see, I am the fancy one :) Meg's label says "Regular." It's ok. I still love her!
But back to the cutest-ever supply pails...
They also carry smaller pails at Michaels that are tall and narrow. Perfect for storing pencils. We decorated this one with a different polka dot style.
Here is the full set of finished supply pails. So stinkin' cute!
You may be wondering what the white background is in these photos. After I added the supplies, it became apparent that the inside of the pail looked kind of busy and the dark pink letters had lost their "pop". I solved this issue by lining the inside of the buckets with trimmed sheets of white cardstock and taped them in place. Voila! The pails got their "pop" back!
Here is the "After" picture of the supply pails back on my lime green shelf:
I know. Cutest. Pails. EVER.
Speaking of cuteness...My classroom is a finalist in the Schoolgirl Style Challenge for Best Classroom of 2012 and I could REALLY use your help! Please stop by my classroom feature page at Schoolgirl Style and vote for me. Voting is super-simple! Just leave a comment at the bottom of the feature page saying that you like my classroom and it counts! Plus, you get to see more pictures of my classroom projects :)
Thank you so much!