Decorating on a Budget


Colorful classrooms make me SMILE and my classroom is obnoxiously colorful. I try to use my wall space purposefully by displaying high-frequency vocabulary, rejoinders, and other useful information. If you’d like a tour of my classroom check out this post: Inside the Piñata. 

As this school year came to a close I realized I wanted to re-organize my space, emphasize some of my displays and update others. So down it all went except for the items beyond my reach. It was super strange to see the bare, beige walls of my room but I get excited every time I think about the changes I have planned. And the changes will only cost me paper and time.

The black bed sheets and chili pepper fabric have been laundered and rehung (with the help of my husband) and are awaiting their new displays. Fabric is such a great way to add texture and visual interest to a wall. Plus it can be super inexpensive and used over and over. The bed sheets I use cost less than $5, hold up way better than bulletin board paper and look great as the background to my colorful signs. I recently found this beautiful fabric on clearance for $3. Not sure if I’ll use it for one of my bulletin boards or for an apron but I’m excited!


Except for some posters I purchased from Amazon and Teacher’s Discovery most of my signs and decorations are free. I made my own Day of the Dead masks with paper mache and craft paint and the Papel Picado banners are made from tissue paper. My signs are various freebies and homemade creations. Here are some inexpensive ideas you can use to brighten your classroom.

Paper Poms!!!

I LOVE these! You’ll need scissors, tissue paper, and fishing line. By varying the colors, textures and sizes you can create some beautiful and fun decorations. Check out this fantastic tutorial on YouTube:

Papel Picado Banner!!!

For this craft, you’ll need scissors, glue, tissue paper and string. Finding a good template is worth the search. Here are some good sources:

Papel Picado Template from Cultural Care Au Pair

Happy Thought has an amazing Día de Los Muertos Party Kit here: for just $5. I know we like FREE but this bundle is really cute, plus you’ll have the templates and everything else forever. If you sign up for their newsletter you’ll get access to all kinds of awesome freebies each holiday.

From Mami Talks: A complete tutorial with three free PDF templates ranging from EASY to ADVANCED.  The author of this blog is a graphic designer and Venezuelan native.

You could also have your students design their own templates! Just imagine the banners you’ll end up with to span your wall space.

Paper Flowers!!!

I love making paper flowers. This is a super easy, budget-friendly craft you can do with your students. Break out your scissors, chenille stems and tissue paper. I buy my tissue paper from one of those stores where every item really is $1. There are 40 sheets in each pack which I cut into quarters. One pack of tissue paper makes close to 30 flowers. The bargain store also carries the chenille stems (usually 20 per pack) but I prefer to buy them in bulk from Amazon. You can get 1,000 stems for under $20.

I’ve used paper flowers as a border for my bulletin board as well as wall hangings. You can also use the extra chenille stems to make sculptures similar to the modeling clay activity some teachers use at the beginning of the year. Provide students with 1-3 stems each to create a (school appropriate) sculpture. You can use these sculptures as a jumping off point to introduce each student to the class share some basic biographical information. Basically, Ben Slavic’s Circling With Balls sans the drawings.

String Lights!!!

Check out these fun ideas for all those extra holiday string lights you or your family and friends may have. My friend, Christie uses Twinkle Lights behind a sheer curtain in one of the corners of her classroom and the result is beautiful.

Student Art!!!

This is a no-brainer. Remember to leave a blank bulletin board for your students to decorate for you. There are so many fun activities and ideas you can use. Something as simple as an autograph wall can be beautiful. The last week of school my students took turns signing the black paper left from the display outside my classroom. They used construction paper crayons and it was awesome! You can also hang color sheets around the room and let your students color for 30-60 seconds as a Brain Break. I learned that trick from Annabelle Allen, La Maestra Loca. 

Remember to follow school policy and fire codes when you’re decorating your classroom.

See you at the next Puente. 



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