How do you make old classroom furniture look nicer without paint?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by live, Aug 15, 2013.

  1. live

    live Companion

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    Aug 15, 2013

    I have a bunch of old furniture in my new classroom. I'm so happy to have the extra furniture, but I'd still like to create a cleaner look. The furniture that's looking a little ragged: an old brown teacher desk, long folding table, little round table, and scratched up wooden cubbies.

    I can't paint, so I'm trying to think of how I could cover these and have them look nice, uniform, and still usable.

    So what do you use? Do you cover with contact paper, table cloths, paper, or some other mystery material? Anyone have any creative things they do? I'd love to hear about it!
     
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  3. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    You squint your eyes. No products needed. :D
     
  4. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I put table cloths on the tables. I use long ones so I can hide stuff underneath. I used sheets to make a skirt for my desk.
     
  5. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    You can use fabric as "wallpaper" with liquid starch. It's a little messy, but easy and peel right off. Plus contact paper. Here's a picture of my desk that I just finished. That's fabric covering metal and white contact paper on top.

    (ignore the pink mess, that one's half-done :p)

    [​IMG]
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Nice job!:thumb:
     
  7. live

    live Companion

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    That's great! When you peel it off, does it leave any sticky residue or does it come of pretty clean?
     
  8. live

    live Companion

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    I was thinking about table cloths. The hidden storage would be so nice.

    Sheets are a good idea; I always forget about using those for the classroom, but I can imagine you could get some cool prints that way.
     
  9. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Totally clean. Liquid Starch is just water + cornstarch ( I made my own), so there's really nothing there. At most maybe a quick wipe-down if you went really heavy on the starch.
     
  10. live

    live Companion

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    Awesome, thanks!
     
  11. terptoteacher

    terptoteacher Connoisseur

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    I just covered an ugly old filing cabinet with contact paper today!
     
  12. MzMooreTeaches

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    I love the idea of the fabric and cornstarch. How much water/cornstarch combo do u use? I could imagine that I would make a mess so I want to get the right amount of each. The contact paper is also a nice fix. Think I'm going to take advantage of that this year.
     
  13. scmom

    scmom Enthusiast

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    Are you not allowed to paint or just don't think you can? You could use cans of spray paint that do well on plastic. Or blackboard paint.
     
  14. HistoryVA

    HistoryVA Devotee

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    Here's the recipe I used (although I tripled it since I used large swatches of fabric):

    What You'll Need:

    1 Tbs. cornstarch

    1/4 cup cold water

    3 3/4 cup tap water


    Mix It Up:

    Bring 3 3/4 cup tap water to a rolling boil.

    While waiting for water to boil, mix the tablespoon of cornstarch into cold water. Stir constantly until cornstarch is completely dissolved.

    Once water boils, slowly stir in cornstarch mixture.

    Remove from heat and let cool.



    Tips-
    Let it totally cool before using it.
    Totally submerge the fabric and then wring it out well.
    Place the fabric on the surface and then use a pushpin (if it's a wall) or a magnet (if it's metal)to hold up a corner while you place the other half.
    Use a large smoother (I got a large paint one for about $2) to smooth out all wrinkles
    If necessary, leave magnets overnight- they won't leave an impression
    Carefully trim excess the next day
    If any parts didn't stick, just spray heavily with starch and use a magnet till it dries.
     
  15. LMichele

    LMichele Cohort

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    I covered the sides of my desk with bulletin board paper. I'm debating if I should just leave it plain, or add a quote the piece on the front.

    I love the idea of tablecloths! I have 2 big ugly tables that I've tried sneaking out of my room & they keep coming back in. (The custodians are on to me!) One will be used to work with students and the other to hold my fridge/microwave & other stuff, with storage underneath. This weekend I am going to buy a tablecloth to cover the storage table & make a ruffled skirt to hide the storage underneath it, since last year it drove me crazy how I could see all the "stuff" under it! For the student table, I'll have to find some pretty contact paper.
     
  16. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Aug 16, 2013

    If you have a yucky old wooden or metal desk, cover the front with white board - either a real one or the kind hat comes on a roll.
     
  17. paperheart

    paperheart Groupie

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    I am covering the top of my desk in fabric and cornstarch. I bought a clear desk mat at ikea to go over it. I looked around for contact paper for the to instead but did not like the selection. For the sides, I am covering them in butcher paper and students will write cool facts they find in informational texts. The desk is not the typical desk. The sides are very tall and kids won't be near my personal things when they write on the butcher paper.
     
  18. MzMooreTeaches

    MzMooreTeaches Cohort

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    Thanks History_Va. I have so many projects I want to do! Just not enough time. I said I should pace myself and only focus on the important things. We shall see what happens though. I look forward to trying your recipe.
     
  19. live

    live Companion

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    Great ideas! I love how you're covering the top of your desk with the fabric and clear mat, paperheart. And also the butcher paper idea. I'm trying to come up with more ways that I can use space for learning.

    I'm the same way. I've got so much to do, but I'd actually be fine without doing a lot of it!
     
  20. live

    live Companion

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    I was thinking about using chalkboard paper somewhere in my room. Didn't think about the white board paper, though it might be more convenient than getting dusty chalk everywhere. My desk is pretty yucky and one of the things I'm trying to cover up, so maybe that'd be a good spot.
     
  21. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Aug 17, 2013

    I spray-painted my 1970s-era harvest gold desk with black, and covered the top with woodgrained contact paper. It looks pretty darn good. I love the starch and fabric technique--I've got three ugly orange wall panels under my interior windows; maybe I can find some neat fabric to cover them.
     
  22. Ms.SLS

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    Does anyone have experience in covering up stickers? Will contact paper work or no because it's not a completely flat surface. Peeling them all off would take hours... My classroom came with this godawful podium that's covered in ridiculous bumper stickers. I'd like to use it as a book stand when we're reading but I cannot get over the bumper stickers.
     
  23. live

    live Companion

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    Aug 21, 2013

    I probably wouldn't want to spend that much time peeling those off either. That'd be so tedious!

    I think contact paper might cling too tight and show the outline of the stickers. I used contact paper on a desk and there were some small imperfections that showed through. It's not a big deal since they were so tiny, but bigger bumps (or in your case, bumper stickers) would show quite a bit more.

    Maybe use bulletin board paper or fabric? Or posters/charts maybe? Those would be a little thicker and not pull so tight onto the surface. Fortunately I've never had to cover stickers; sorry I can't offer more suggestions!
     
  24. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

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    Aug 21, 2013

    Maybe cover it with a textured wallpaper?
     

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