Thursday, August 11, 2011

Fire Code Schmire Code: Cute Classroom Tips & Ideas

I have been getting a lot of emails lately that read something like this, "I love all of the ideas I see for classrooms, but we have strict fire codes." Well, this post is for you...and anyone else who is crafty and likes color. I've brainstormed a few ideas that you may be able to use to make your room fun and inviting without the fire department taking a hose to it.
And on a sidenote, I find the whole thing kind of silly. Schools are stocked with books and paper. It doesn't get more flammable than that. But, I digress.
  • Brightly colored baskets and bins!
  • Spray paint your trashcan. I just repainted mine. Easy peasy!

  • Paint your bulletin boards...ask first, I suppose.
  • Duct Tape: Have you seen Duct Tape lately. Oh the colors! Oh the designs! Use it as borders by taping it onto the boards or around your whiteboard.
  • Plants! Not only will plants and flowers add color and pizzazz, but how cute would snazzy painted pots be?

  • Vinyl Wall Clings
Oh my, I heart these. I have some in my twins' room. They stick on. They peel off. They are cheap and easy.

  • Funky Frames:

Even if you can't wall mount them, how great would it be to have a snazzy frame for each kiddo lining a shelf. Paint them fun colors. The more mismatched the better.
  • Fabric Chair
Please tell me that they are at least giving those of you in the strict fire code school an upholstered chair of sorts. Recover it in super fun fabrics. I can't sew to save my life, but you would be amazed at what you can do with a hot glue gun and a stapler.

  • Homemade Vinyl Rug-
Oh friends! This one is just way. too. cool. It's a vinyl tablecloth coated in a sealer to make a rug of sorts. Wipes clean and looks amazing. LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!

  • Tape Flooring
Not into the vinyl tablecloth rug wannabe above? Well, how about vinyl tape put down to create an awesome look all its own?

  • Paperless Bulletin Board:
A picture frame with clothesline nailed to the back. Extremely cute even if you aren't restricted from paper and fabric goodness on your boards.

  • Clipboards
I had posted about using clipboards to display work on my other blog back in the spring when I scored some super cute decorative clipboards that would have been complete crud to use as a clipboard to write on. If you can't find them in cool designs then I suggest you make friends with some scrapbook paper and a jar of Modge Podge. Don't know what Modge Podge is? Google it and prepare to have your life changed for the better.

Let's pool together and help our fire code restricted friends out. Leave comments with any other ideas you might have for them to make their rooms cute, colorful and all that good stuff.
If you are one of those fire code restricted folk...well, first of all I'm sorry...but, feel free to leave a link to photos of your classroom and inspire others in the same situation.

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  1. I love those ideas!

    I made a drop cloth/rug for our house when my daughter started eating on her own. I made it out of oil cloth. It wipes clean and covers our carpet. It works perfectly!

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! When I first started at my current I asked if could paint the big bulletin board in my room. I did and other teachers began to do the same. I totally agree about all the papers and books in a school. Some fabrics are safer than paper for covering bulletin boards, and think of the designs. The main reason I haven't made any of the crate seats that everyone is making, is because I can't think of anything to cover them with.

  3. I was able to paint my bulletin boards in exchange for not putting up paper. I also use tons of duck tape...everywhere! I have a jungle themed room and so the zebra and cheetah duck tape are my FAVORITE! I cover everything from my supply pins to my pencil holders in that stuff. I also spice up my front board by putting bulletin boarders up which is legal.

    Check out my pics here:

    Melissa :)

  4. I got busted even this year with a fire code violation, apparently paper laterns torch quite quickly! Solution, fire retardent varnish. I am trying it now, let's hope it works!
    Plus I LOVE vinyl clings on cabinets, don't use them on cinder blocks. Believe me it will chip of paint on to your decal. I know we have to take ours off for summer cleaning.

  5. Such a good idea! Also we have strict fire codes and we just take down the stuff the day the fire department comes and remove all things from the bathroom. We have big bathrooms that can double as storage.

  6. Sometimes I think they forget we use paper at school?? geez!
    we have the fire marshall from...well, you get it. We can't have more than 20% of our walls covered and have to use flame retardant cloth (or we can spray), no outside furniture (but I do anyway). HOWEVER, if you hang things from the ceiling with fishing line, it's ok?? who knows! =) But take what you can get. I always live by better to ask forgiveness than permission

  7. Wow! I don't have restrictions on what I can put up, but these ideas are GREAT and SO CLEVER! Love them!

  8. Teaching in New Zealand makes me shake my head at the fire codes North America has to deal with. We aren't without SOME restrictions but what I am reading is absurd! "Can't have more than 20% of the walls covered"?? What a shame! we are encouraged to fill our classroom environment with as much MEANINGFUL content and student work as possible. I can't imagine what I would do if I came head to head with these restrictions but I guess I would start with this post. :)

    Thanks for sharing these ideas!

    ✪ Liam ✪
    Twist of Liam

  9. I love these ideas Jodi, they are perfect for the classroom!

    The only thing I do that changes my room a lot and doesn't fall under those fire code restrictions is the contact paper on my desks (actually, now just tables!). The contact paper makes a HUGE difference in the room.

    I am eyeing that rug idea, it is too cool!!
    Kristen :)

  10. Sigh... I am one of those fire-code-restricted folks. No more than 20% of the walls covered, no outside furniture, no upholstered furniture (I sit in a straight-backed, plain wooden chair) no pillows, no fabric, no curtains, nothing stored on the floor (including crates), absolutely nothing hanging from any part of the ceiling, PLUS I'm in a portable, so I am not allowed to paint the bulletin boards or use pushpins, staples or nails in the walls. I have to use the Command adhesive or sticky-tac. I am, however, going to be a rebel and spray paint my trash can!

  11. You always have the best ideas!! That tape floor is INsanely amazing!!! Genius!! The fire marshall doesn't like us too well at our school...we tend to use A LOT of paper and other flammables :) I'm sure it'll change one day, so I'm tucking these ideas away to use in the future!! Thank you!!!

    Cara :)
    The First Grade Parade


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