Giant Classroom Wall Tree

One of the best things about having a school-aged kid is the fun projects. Yes, I’m going to be coming back to this post in a couple years, after drowning in school projects, and laughing at my former self who got excited when teachers asked for help. But right now, in this moment, it is pretty awesome. I love helping out in my son’s classroom, and this is one of those fun projects.

Little Moore’s teacher is a self-described non-crafty man. I offered to help out with some crafty projects, as needed. He wanted a big tree in the hallway that could be changed out for the seasons. Basically, just the trunk and branches. I told him that not only would I make it, but it would be awesome. Because I’m a lot of things… but humble is not one of them (however, awesome is totally one of them – ha!).

I’m not giving you a step-by-step here because I’m pretty sure that the demand for giant tree tutorials isn’t worth the time it’ll take me to edit the photos… but I’ll give you the highlights.

Classroom Tree with my Kindergartener

I prepped the trunk at home. I used Foamcore cut into the right shape. The “carving” on the tree is a piece of styrofoam. I carved the heart and the word “school” into the heart, then covered it in Smooth Finish. After the Smooth Finish hardened, I painted it brown, with the carving a lighter brown so it would really stand out.

Tree trunk with Styrofoam Smooth Finish Carving

At the top of the trunk, I put a piece of cork. This way the teacher can easily switch out things in the hole in the tree.

Classroom Tree Cork Board

I lined up my foam core, styrofoam, and cork pieces, and Duck Taped them together. I used some extra cardboard on the back to give some extra strength to the seams. Then I added on the bark.

The bark is crumpled up paper from a Fed Ex Box. It was already crumpled up, which was perfect. I just wrinkled it more, and used a TON of Mod Podge to secure it onto the tree trunk. Lots and lots of texture. Once that all dried, I used a sponge and some brown paint, lightly went over the whole trunk with the brown paint in spots (more texture!). Then gave the whole thing a thick coat of Mod Podge. So thick that it isn’t fully dry in these photos, and you can see some of the white!

The branches were fun to do.

Classroom Tree Branches

When I put the rest of the brown paper trunk on, I left 5 long pieces hanging off of the top, then took the trunk to school. I used a staple gun to secure the tree to the wall. Then I twisted the brown paper branches into place, using the staple gun to secure them. I tore off any extra, and added sub-branches off the 5 main branches. Once all the branches were up, they got a quick swipe of brown paint sponged on, and then a coat of Mod Podge.

It took about 5 hours at home, and about another 2-3 at the school… but this tree looks awesome.

Any volunteers to try to take it down at the end of the year?

Mod Melts Butterfly Decor

This post was sponsored by Plaid.

Mod Melts Butterflies hang from ceiling

Like most boys, my son loves bugs. But thankfully, he’s not very into spiders. Instead, he loves ladybugs and butterflies. If we’re at the park, he’ll find the only ladybug poking through the grass. And he has had a fascination with Butterflies lately. The ladybugs land on him – why won’t the butterflies?

I decided to make him his own butterflies that could hang from his ceiling. That way he could enjoy them, even if he can’t catch them! The Mod Melts made this very easy to do.

Plaid sent me some paint, a spouncer, the Mod Melts, and Mod Melts molds. To this I added some orange paint so that I could make the butterflies Monarchs, and some string to hang them with.

Mod Melts are easy to use – just insert them into a high-temp glue gun, and squeeze into the mold from the center out.

put melts into mold

I filled the mold about halfway, then added a string with a knot in it (so that it won’t pull out easily), and then filled up the mold the rest of the way.

insert string

After 10 minutes, I could pop out the butterfly, and he was ready to paint.

I tried painting him black, then adding the orange accents, but it worked better the other way around. First, I painted the butterflies orange, and let the paint dry.

paint base coat on butterflies

Then I added a thin layer of black paint to the spouncer and lightly tapped the black paint on. This painted the raised area, but kept the back area orange. Much easier than trying to get that detail with a paintbrush.

paint butterflies

I tied a thumbtack to the other end of the string, and hung the butterflies. My son loves it!

mod melts butterflies

I also made some simple paperclips! How will you use Mod Melts?

You can learn more about this fun new product if you catch up with Plaid on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or on the Paint Me Plaid Blog.

Check out these other fun ways you can use Plaid’s Mod Melts!