Let’s Make Ceiling Tile Art!

I know y’all are probably swamped with back-to-school activity, but if you have time to squeeze in a little DIY project, make yourself a cheap and easy piece of ceiling tile art for your classroom!  They add a personal touch to your room and are completely customizeable to your theme or color scheme πŸ™‚
First off, gather yourself the following supplies – many of which, I promise, you have in your supply closet or at home πŸ™‚  Also, my pictures are awful, as most were shot at night with my point-and-shoot, so bear with me!
  • Ceiling tile (I bought mine at Home Depot for around $6, though I bet if you asked the manager and dropped the “I’m a teacher…” card, they’d totally spot you one for free! B picked mine up for me and he can’t quite bat his eyes like I can πŸ˜‰  Ha!
  • Paint (I used black Tempera paint for the stripes on mine and acrylic for the other colors)
  • Paint Brushes
  • Painters Tape (if you want to make stripes or straight lines)
  • Pencil
  • Measuring Tape or Ruler
  • Ribbon optional
  • Glue Gun optional
Tell me you’re not completely jealous of my *signed* Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Sharpie.  My dad got it for free at a Nascar race and thought of me when they were passing them out.  What a dad!

If you want to do stripes, do a few quick measures to space them evenly and apply the painters’ tape.  If you want to leave the background white, add polkadots or paint it a solid color, just skip this step and do your thing.

Next, I applied the black Tempera paint with a flat foam brush, leaving the ledge around the perimeter white…

I’m impatient so I removed the painters’ tape pretty quickly after I finished painting, and was left with this…
It’s totally not perfect, but I’m not a perfectionist when it comes to art.  I choose to adopt The Nester’s philosophy that “It doesn’t have to be perfecet to be beautiful,” instead πŸ™‚  Also, ceiling tiles are bumpy and grooved, so the amount of “bleeding” beneath the tape is expected.
After it dried overnight, I decided to lightly sketch my design over top with pencil and then fill it in with acrylic paint using a smaller brush.  I also learned that painting over black is not easy! 
After the paint completely dried, it was time to embellish!  I hotglued a decorative ribbon border to the perimeter and then added the ribbon hanger.
To make the holes for the ribbon hanger, grab a plastic pencil or pen which is perfect for poking and is, incidentally, the perfect diameter for the hole size.  It will be easy to push through with a little muscle, and will leave some “ceiling tile crumbs.” 
I cut a length of ribbon about 4ft to make the hanger.  You’ll want a decent size length so you can double knot it and adjust it accordingly.  I like the knots to show, but I guess you could always pull it through the opposite way if you want.

Now, double knot each side to create a big, thick knot that won’t pull through the holes…

Aaaaaaand, voila! You have yourself a cute hanging sign for your classroom πŸ™‚

They hang up easily with 3M Command Adhesive Hooks onto cement block walls. 

Here are the first two I ever made…

If you have any questions, leave them in the comment section and I’ll respond there πŸ™‚

If anyone makes one, I’d love to see your finished product!!!

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Abby is a former kindergarten and first grade teacher who channels her passion for education into creating engaging activities and resources for the kindergarten and first grade classroom. When not dreaming up or working on her next project, you’ll find her enjoying her family – most likely in her minivan on the way to a soccer field.


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Hi, I'm Abby

Hi, I’m Abby! Thanks for stopping by. I love supporting kindergarten and first grade teachers with engaging, skill-based activities that are easy to use in their classrooms. Let me help you be the best teacher you can be!
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