Classroom teachers across the country are often faced with decorating restrictions due to fire codes and school rules. For years, they have also tried to figure out how to hang stuff on cinder block walls in the classroom. That can present quite the challenge when a teacher is trying to create a welcoming and inspiring environment for their students complete with posters, signs, artwork and other displays. After all, it can be a little dreary to stare at blank cinder block walls day in and day out.
Fortunately, there are some great strategies for adhering posters, signs, banners, student artwork and other items to the walls in your classroom. The following cinder block walls decorating tips should work, individually or in combination, for just about any wall. Try them out and your classroom will be decorated in no time!
Tip #1: Hot Glue Gun
A low-temperature hot glue gun is a great tool for getting posters, banners, trimmers and other classroom decorations to stick to the cinder block walls. At the end of the year, the glue pulls off easily from the wall and does not do any damage.* Simply peel the glue back slowly from the wall when you want to take something down. A sturdy scraping tool, like a thin edge of a ruler, can help if the glue doesn’t come off easily.
Always use caution and only use the hot glue gun when students are gone for the day. Make sure to unplug it after you’re done using it too!
*If the paint on your classroom walls is old and flaking, there is a chance that the glue could peel some of the paint off when it is removed. Test in a small, inconspicuous spot before decorating the whole classroom!
Tip #2: Sticky or Blu Tack
Remember that blue, sticky putty that you saw fleetingly during teacher training? That was Sticky or Blu Tack. It is a reusable, synthetic rubber compound that can be stretched and manipulated to just the shape you need. While it traditionally comes in blue, the blue coloring can leave a bit of a residue (especially if you use a generic brand) so you may want to try the white depending on the color of your classroom.
The great thing about Sticky or Blu Tack is that it’s so easy to use. Even just a small dot of the putty is fairly strong, so a little goes a long way. If you use laminated classroom posters or signs, the putty will easily come off so you can rehang them in the future.
Tip #3: Stikki-Clips
Stikki-Clips were specially designed to adhere to any surface, so they’re perfect for decorating cinder block walls. They make switching out anchor charts, classroom posters and students’ work throughout the year a breeze. The unique adhesive is even good for painted surfaces, and the clips can be re-used again and again. Stock up on a few packs over the summer and you should be set for the whole school year.
Tip #4: Display Strips
Self-sticking display strips like “Cling Thing Display Strips” are removable strips that adhere to walls, doors, metal, plastic, cinder block walls and more. They allow you to display posters, anchor charts, student work, alphabet and number lines and other classroom essentials with ease. Some of them can even regain their stickiness with a light spritz of water! At the end of the year, they peel off without damaging the paint or surface behind them.
What are your favorite tips for getting things to stick to your classroom’s cinder block walls?
By Brandi Jordan
This piece was originally published in 2018.