How to Make Display Panels for a School Art Show

Display PanelsWhen I decided to have a school art show, I didn’t have a clue how to display the student art work. My school had concrete-block walls and acoustical tile ceilings.  Nothing could be taped or nailed to the walls.  The hallways were narrow and therefore freestanding panels could not be used.

My budget was pretty slim. I needed inexpensive, lightweight display panels that could hang against the wall from the ceiling tile frames. The panels needed to be reusable. After a lot of thought and input from several other teachers I came up with a design for some panels that I used for over a decade.

The following materials were used:

15 – 40″ x 60″ foam core boards
30 – s hooks or large paperclips
1 large roll of  36″ wide white paper (You need 2 pieces 66″ long for each panel.)
150 feet of fishing line
staples and stapler or clear packing tape
hole punch

My plan was to make the panels hang with the 40″ dimension running vertically and the 60″ dimension running horizontally.

Here is how I put the panels together:

1. I wrapped the foam core panels with the white paper from the roll.  This was done by cutting two pieces of paper 66″ long. I overlapped the two pieces and folded the extra to the other side of the foam core. The side with the folded paper became the back of the panel. I stapled or taped the folded paper to the foam core back. If stapling, leave the stapler open as you staple from the backside.  That way the staples do not show in the front. The staples do not fold over on themselves. You may find it easier to use tape instead. I did a little of both for my panels.

*NOTE: The whole purpose of covering the foam core with paper is to protect the panels. If art work is taped directly to the foam core, the panels will get torn when removing the art work. I learned this through experience. It is next to impossible to take the work off without damaging the thin paper covering the foam core comes with.

I suggest covering the panels from the start. Each year, if necessary, replace the white paper.  But, if you want to skip this step, you can probably use the panels a few years without having to cover them with the rolled paper. You can also use colored paper if you want.  I prefer using white or black in order which does not to detract from the art work.

2. Punch two holes through the foam core and the white paper. The holes need to be 12 inches from each side and 2 inches down from the top of the panels. Each panel will have two holes.

3. Cut two pieces of fishing line 60 inches long.  Run the line through the punched holes, make a loop and tie into a knot. Now the panel has 2 loops of line for hanging.

4. Mount the artwork to the panels. I will discuss this in my next school art show article.

5. Place a s-hook or large paper clip on each fishing line loop.  As one person holds the display panel in place, another person will hook the s-hook or paper clip to the ceiling tile metal frame.  This takes some practice and patience. Play with the placement of the hooks in order to get the panels level. I usually have my older students do this.  A step-ladder or ladder will be needed when hanging the panels.

The display panels will look amazing when the student art work is mounted. Depending on the size of the art work, you should be able to put 9 to 12 pieces on each panel. So, you may only need 10 panels or you might need 20. If you want to organize a school art show, these panels might be exactly what you need.

Read more about similar topics:

Why Organize a School Art Show?
Rewarding Student Participation in a School Art Show
How to Mount Artwork for a School Art Show

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5 Responses to How to Make Display Panels for a School Art Show

  1. school of arts says:

    your school arts panel is very useful and really creative.

  2. Mazaheri Law says:

    I was looking for something exactly like this and it will prove very useful for me. I am subscribed and bookmarked.

  3. Gary says:

    This is a really cool site, good job and I am glad that I came across it.

  4. Pingback: DIY: 10X10 Display Panels | writenow101

  5. abbey1990 says:

    Your panel was very unique and it’s very usable. Thanks for sharing this post.

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