Inexpensive Classroom Makeover Ideas

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Transforming your Sunday school classroom into an
exciting learning environment for kids can be tough on a budget.
Here are 19 ideas that’ll cost you next to nothing…

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Ugh. The bleak walls. The boring layout. The stale carpet. The
blank bulletin boards. You have a job ahead of you — transforming
your Sunday school classroom into an exciting learning environment
that kids will flock to. But just as you let your imagination roll,
reality reminds you that (of course) there’s always The Budget to
consider.

You can transform your room on a tight budget — and here are 19
ideas that’ll cost you next to nothing and make your students say,
“Wow!”

Dynamic Doors

  • Back Pockets — Storage is often an issue in
    classrooms, especially those prone to clutter. So purchase (www.spacesavers.com) or sew a hanging
    over-the-door pocket bag. To sew the pocket bag, you’ll need a
    7X2-foot piece of durable fabric. Cut out pockets of different
    fabrics in varying shapes and sizes, and sew them on the larger
    piece.
  • Outside the Box — Don’t just decorate your
    door, make it part of the big picture! Use butcher paper for a
    temporary scene or latex paint for a permanent scene. For example,
    re-create John 20:1-9 by making your door the tomb entrance. Make
    your door the opening to the tomb, and create the scene outside the
    tomb on the walls. Then write the verse above your door.
  • Cliffhanger — Choose an event from the Bible
    and illustrate it on your classroom door — storyboard-style. For
    example, depict four scenes from Noah’s Ark. Leave the conclusion a
    mystery, and tease visitors with a sign that says, “What happened
    next? Come in to find out!”

Creative Ceilings

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  • Border — Have kids lend a hand — and
    character — to this fun ceiling decoration. Create a handprint
    border around the top of the wall or the ceiling using several
    different colors of tempera paint.
  • Mobiles — Mobiles are an easy way to liven up
    any drab room, and they make a creative class project.

Wowser Walls

  • Colors Galore — Trade the institutional white
    on your walls for something more contemporary. A trip to a home
    improvement store will give you an idea of the vast range of cheery
    color combinations available. Recruit parents or preteens to help
    as you give your room a face-lift.
  • Go Dark — Dramatic colors can add depth and
    interest to your room, and they make the perfect background to
    display kids’ art projects. You don’t want to paint every wall and
    the ceiling magenta, but a single dark wall with a display at the
    back of the room is inviting and will draw people into your
    room.
  • All Aglow — Glow-in-the-dark paint (www.hometownpaint.com) and stickers (www.spacetoys.com) are a less obvious way to
    spice up your room, but kids love them. You can design a biblical
    skyline or scene, then decorate the walls and ceiling with stars.
    Kids will be captivated as you dim the lights to read passages from
    the Bible.
  • Sticky Stuff — What will they think of next?
    Magnetic paint (www.teachersstore.com) is a unique addition to
    the painting palette — and you can cover it with your color of
    choice. Consider “striping” your room with the paint. You can
    easily attach pictures, art projects, and decorations with magnetic
    sheets.
  • Murals — Murals never go out of style, and
    they’re always a fun, cooperative effort. You’ll need an artistic
    person to create the outlines of the mural, but just about anyone
    with a paintbrush can fill in the rest. Or bring your classroom to
    life with a custom-painted mural from www.wackyworld.tv or www.painteroffun.com.

Winning Windows

  • PVC Surprise — PVC piping (available at home
    improvement stores) is cheap, light, and versatile. To make curtain
    rods, cut sections just longer than the width of your windows.
    Drape each section with fabric, or cover the pipe itself with glue
    and fabric.
  • Glass Stain — Windows are wonderful, but
    sometimes what’s going on outside them distracts kids. If you want
    to keep the light but lose the distraction, “stain” your glass. For
    stained glass kits, go to www.artcity.com or www.dickblick.com.

Fantastic Floors

  • Remnants and Rugs — Cover worn-out carpet or
    soften tile with carpet remnants or inexpensive rugs. Breaking up a
    basic floor color with rugs also breaks up the room. You can create
    a cozy storytime area or designate an activity area with varied
    carpets.
  • Paint Me a Path — If your floor is
    forgettable, make it memorable with a new paint job (uncarpeted
    floors only). You can go wild with wacky designs and tons of color,
    or you can stay sane with a single sublime shade.

Funky Furniture

  • Crates — Crates can do double duty as storage
    and bench seating. You can spray paint older crates to spruce up
    their appearance, or cover them with fabric. To make benches,
    simply cut a piece of plywood to cover the crates. Glue foam to one
    side of the plywood, and finish the bench top by covering it with
    fabric. Staple the fabric to the bottom of the bench top with a
    staple gun.
  • Mini Beanbags — Beanbags don’t have to cost a
    lot. Visit a thrift store and stock up on sturdy pillowcases.
    Stockpile plastic foam packing peanuts at home, or visit office
    supply stores and department stores to see if they’re willing to
    let you have their leftovers. Stuff each pillowcase full of plastic
    foam peanuts, then sew shut the open end of the pillowcase to make
    a mini beanbag. These are great for kids ages 3 and up to lie or
    sit on during storytime or activities, and they stack for games and
    easy cleanup.

Tables and Chairs — Chances are, you probably
have a roomful of tables, chairs, and desks. But if you’d like some
cheap but distinctive additions to your classroom furniture, go to
www.ikea-usa.com for a catalog.

Erase the bland look of classroom furniture with some brightly
colored fabric. For example, cut tablecloths from remnants of
fabric, new shower curtains, and oversize tablecloths. If your
chairs could use improvement, go back to the thrift store and buy
more pillowcases. Have kids decorate the pillowcases with fun
designs and pictures. Slide the pillowcases over the backs of the
chairs and tie large ribbons around the bases of the
chairbacks.

Puppet Alley — PVC works wonders for puppet
stages. Stock up on sections of PVC pipe and several corner
connectors. You can interchange the sections to fit your stage
needs, then drape fabric over the piping for curtains.

Focal Teaching Point — Every classroom comes
with a place to write, such as a chalkboard, dry erase board, or
flip board. But if you’d like to expand your wall-writing options,
apply chalkboard paint (www.hometownpaint.com) to an entire wall. Subscribetoday


Jennifer Hooks is managing editor for Children’s Ministry
Magazine. Please keep in mind that phone numbers, addresses, and
prices are subject to change.

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