School Quilts in Place of Bulletin Boards

This post is for all the amazing school teachers out there, especially those who sometimes don’t know what to put on their bulletin boards. Don’t get me wrong, teachers make the cutest bulletin boards with the sweetest puns and cutouts that are beautiful and inspiring – if that’s you, congratulations! But this level of classroom art is a standard that I cannot live up to, nor worth my energy and time trying to emulate.
May I suggest making room for a classroom quilt?! Over weeks, your students can take turns adding a piece of appliqué onto the quilt. This avenue of agency for creativity will also likely become a great topic for discussion – are we forming any patterns? What should we do with the quilt when it is made? etc.

Here’s How I Do It:
1. I have some empty wall space by my door that I like to get creative with. There is no bulletin board. (bulletin board or no bulletin board, either situation works)
2. I am going with a light, low-volume fabric. Since my walls are beige, I choose to prime the wall with white butcher paper before stapling the fabric over the butcher paper and onto the wall.
3. Just staple the top side of the fabric as needed, then staple the outer sides onto the wall when adding borders.

There is no need to staple all around yet – when it is time to add borders, that will be enough.

This is my ‘bulletin board’ for the start of the 2023-24 year!

4. Appliqué pieces: students can get involved here – you can either have appliqué shapes ready to go and let the students place the shapes onto the quilt, or hand each student a square and let them cut out a shape for appliqué. Either way works!

With this quilt, I let the students cut out their shapes, but I ended up doing the placement of the shapes at home.
Here, I had already cut out appliqué shapes, then let students choose one and place it on the quilt for me to staple at the moment. Staples have now been replaced with basting pins (step 6)

5. I don’t have time to press the pieces when they go on the quilt. Since I typically use this as a short routine at the end of music class, (we take turns with one student per class will adding shape to the quilt when the class is lined up to leave) I just staple the piece onto the fabric + wall at that moment.
6. Weeks later when all pieces are on the quilt and it is time to baste, I take off the border, and slowly/gently peel the background fabric off the wall. The staples will keep the appliqué pieces in place. Replace each staple with a pin or a basting pin.
7. If you want a larger quilt, add borders around the edges.
8. When it is time to baste, redo the basting pins to include batting and background fabric, and add more if necessary.
9. Quilt and finish!

What Do I Do With Classroom Quilts?
There are certainly many options, including keeping them in your classroom! I end up putting the quilts up for auction with my school community so that a family/student ends up with the quilt, and the rest of the students benefit from proceeds of the sale which are spent on new instruments in the classroom.

Are you thinking about making a classroom quilt? Ask me questions below, or comment to let me know how it goes and what you end up doing with the quilt!


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