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14 Unusual and Incredibly Fabulous Bulletin Board Borders

I love bulletin boards.  Have I mentioned that?  I love making my bulletin boards art.  I love putting art on my bulletin boards.  Heck...I'll put almost anything on my boards!  Here are a few ideas for quick and funky borders using some non-traditional items that you may have laying around your house.

Poker Chips

I use poker chips for several different things in my classroom, so I have quite a few on hand.  They make a great border, don't they?  If you have a metal edged board, you can use a glue gun to attach them.  If you are working with a board with a wooden frame, the hot glue may damage it.  Use glue dots.  I like to layer them for more visual appeal.  This bulletin board is a free download which feature the old national music standards.

Poker chips hold spray paint well.  I've spray painted them gold to use for the gold at the end of a St. Patrick's Day rainbow before and was pleased with the result.


I did a movie theme in my room once upon a time.  It was so fun to find new ways to use popcorn boxes and bags.  They are inexpensive to purchase (I got mine on Amazon.) and could be reused.  Popcorn boxes would be great for movie themed bulletin boards, popcorn words, etc...

I have plans to do something similar with small Chinese takeout boxes with my Instruments of China board.


It seems that it is completely impossible to keep a full deck of cards at my house.  Any kind of cards!  That's okay, because they look GREAT as borders for bulletin boards.  Uno, Phase 10 and regular playing cards work great for math bulletin boards, rhythm or time signature bulletin boards or maybe even a great trim for a bulletin board that showcases your daily schedule.

This set is from a Go Fish set of cards I picked up at the dollar store.  Love that they work so well with an ocean or beach theme.  Kids love to stop and look for matches even when they are displayed on a bulletin board.

Cupcake Papers 

This is one of my go to looks for making a display really pop.  There are so many varieties of cupcake papers available that you can find any color and any theme that you may need.  Flatten them out and staple them to your board. 

I've found that buying complimentary patterns and layering them can really be beautiful. 

When working with my rock star theme I wanted something metallic that would be a little flashy.  It turns out that there is a cupcake paper for that!  These little baking cups are so cute at the corners of my rock star alphabet display.  I added some glittery foam stickers to embellish them a little.  (Classroom teachers see the rock star theme HERE.  Music teachers see it HERE.)

Duct Tape 

It doesn't get any easier than this!  Look at what a great job duct tape does to cover this older bulletin board.  Check out your local discount store for tons of duct tape options.  The bulletin board above is from my Number Posters - Rock Star Theme.

This is another example of the versatility of duct tape.  This is a light blue glittery duct tape.  It is displayed on my Soar Into Music board.


This is SUCH an eye-catching display!  The bulletin board is Minecraft inspired and the Legos (or are these Duplos?) go with the building theme.  I used Scotch tape to attach them to my board.  For some of the pieces I just laid them on top of one piece and then taped the next block on it so that not every block is taped.  This may work better on a board that students can't easily touch.
(Classroom teachers take a closer look at the board HERE.  Music teachers HERE.)

Pool Noodles 

Those of you that have been following my blog for a while know that I have a great love for re-purposing pool noodles.  I've made ponies, steady beat swords and even workstations.  I also just cut them up to make great bulletin board borders!  For this fishy bulletin board I wanted them to imitate bubbles.  I've attached them with glue dots.  You could also use a low-temp hot glue gun to attach them.  This bulletin board is called Making Music Together.


They aren't just for note taking!  I often use these little gems to add content to bulletin boards.  They also make a great (and inexpensive) border.  The iPod pad shown above came from Wal-Mart and the composer bulletin board can be found HERE.

Paint Chips

Paint chips are free and are a perfect way to add visual interest to any bulletin board.  On the border above I chose to use two different kinds of paint chips and to create a pattern with them.  Paint chips look just as great mixed up and stapled in any order.  Staple them so they hang over the edge of the board and overlap.  You can learn more about the Let's Talk bulletin board HERE.


Even more than I love pool noodles in the classroom, I love plates!  When I packed up my room this year I marveled at my collection.  I have Zoo Pals (photo above), baseball plates, basketball plates, beach ball plates, watermelon plates, heart plates, square plates, Santa plates and more.  I also have colored plates in 3 different sizes and every color you can imagine.
I use them for movement and composition activities, but LOVE using them on bulletin boards.  I pick them up at discount stores, dollar stores and party supply places.  Here are a few examples.

The What's Cooking in Music board can be downloaded HERE.

The watermelon plates are so fun!  This year I found them in a larger, oval size.  This bulletin board is part of my Music Burger writing display.

Puzzle Pieces 

Shhh! Don't tell my daughter but sometimes I swipe her old puzzles for school projects!  In this instance, it was a jumbo Barney puzzle that had several missing pieces.  For the display below I just attached them to the board with glue dots.  You might be able to use Scotch tape too.  I have painted them before to match a bulletin board.

Tissue Paper 

Like many teachers I have created flowers and pom poms to decorate bulletin boards.  They have a huge visual punch and are relatively inexpensive to make.  It's very easy to just scrunch it up together and staple it around your board.  Creating enough tissue paper flowers to use around the edge of a bulletin board is also pretty, but time consuming.  Braiding long strips of tissue papers creates an interesting look and lets you coordinate your border with whatever colors you may need.

Odds and Ends  

Really, I'll put anything on a bulletin board.  I've used socks, fishing poles, candy, lights, my son's overalls and more.  For this movie themed bulletin board I used a few View Master reels to accent the corners.

Wrapping Paper 

In my bulletin board kits I often talk about using wrapping paper as a background for your bulletin boards.  It can be found in many themes and patterns and often stays bright and colorful without fading for several months.  Reversible wrapping paper can also be used to create borders.

As you are stapling the paper in place, leave about two inches overlap on each side.  Fold this down to reveal the back side of the paper and staple into place.

What unusual things have you put on your bulletin boards?  I'd love to hear about them or see a picture!

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  1. These are brilliant and such fun! Thanks for sharing. :)

    1. You are welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed them!

    2. You are welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed them!

    3. These ideas are Awsome!!!! Just what I was looking for, Tank you!!!

    4. These are fantastic. I can't wait to use some!

  2. Love the ideas, will definitely try some of them!

  3. Great ideas! Thanks from Greece!

  4. Very innovative! I plan to try some of these.

  5. Wonderful ideas, thanks

  6. Not as a border, but instead of paper background, I painted the board a dark blue. This made changing my board a breeze! Never mess with the large paper roll again, and goes with most themes!

  7. nicely done~!!! Great ideas. Proud of you!

  8. thank you so much for this post! I am instantly inspired to start decorating my class bulletin board:)! I was a little worried that i would run out of ideas! #lifesaver

  9. What great, brilliant and innovative ideas! Can't wait to start decorating my class bulletin board! Thanks for sharing :)

  10. These are so clever! I'm glad you shared!

  11. I use plastic tablecloth as background instead of paper. No fading...

  12. Love it. Love you for posting these creative borders. I love to use recyclables. What can I do with clear plastic egg cartons.
    Thanks Much,

    1. Ooo! Those could be really fun! I think they would be perfect for sorting centers. Like sorting instruments into their families or notes into a carton with a certain number value. For decorating it might be fun to write student names in them (or use pictures if you have a means to getting them) and post on a bulletin board called "Grade A Students" or something like that.

  13. Thank you so much for sharing these wonderful ideas. I will definitely be using some of them and look forward to seeing the student's reactions in September!

  14. I use fabric as the background. Doesn't fade or rip and I can use for many many years.

  15. These are so great. Thank you so much for sharing. This is actually one of the most creative and unique blog posts about bulletin boards I've seen in a while! I'm your newest follower! :)

  16. I usually use fabric from Hobby Lobby, and one year I also used wide ribbon as the border. This year I bought two twin-size flat sheets from Walmart to cover my four bulletin boards and cut them to size. The fire marshall would kill me for most of the above ideas, but the playing cards would be pretty cool. Also, I just saw someone sticking duct tape to wax paper to use as removable borders. I love getting new ideas.

  17. Very creative and fun! I will definitely rethink my borders this year!

  18. Thank you for sharing. Once I made a board to showcase our whole school. I took black and white head shots of the kids and used the pics as a border. It looked so cool. I love your ideas. It would be so fun to see all your past creations.

  19. For small boards I have used ric rac for a border. Thank you for the other ideas!

  20. Thank you for the wonderful ideas and your beautiful bulletin boards!

  21. Wow! Lovely and original! Thanks

  22. I work in a nursing home and one summer we did a virtual vacation theme. I made a cruise ship out of Little Debbie boxes and covered it in white paper. I tried to make all my bulletin boards 3D

  23. I use raffle tickets (Be a winner). They look great.

  24. You're such a creative genius! Those paint swatches really got me -- HOW AWESOME!

  25. Out of school for one week and already looking for bulletin board ideas for the fall. Love your ideas. Thanks for sharing! Can't wait to try. :)