The standard tri-fold display board is a staple for school projects, from science fairs to research presentations. After putting together several of these displays, the design and layout may become monotonous, featuring the same elements with slightly different details. Keeping your display design fresh and interesting is crucial to creating a presentation that will stand out from the others and keep your audience interested. Paying close attention to various design elements will help you to create an awesome end product that will stand out from the crowd.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Tri-fold display board
- Coloured paper
- Rubber cement
Read the guidelines for your school project carefully. Your teacher may have provided specific instructions as to what headings need to appear on each section of the board. Many science fairs provide strict rules regarding display boards. If you are competing in a school science fair where you have the possibility of moving on to a higher level, such as a state science fair, obtain guidelines for this fair as well. Although you will not be held to those standards at your current level, creating a board that adheres to the stricter guidelines of upper level displays is more likely to impress judges. It will also save you the time and energy of re-creating your display if you do progress to the next competition.
Sketch out the display layout on a piece of paper. Organise the information for your display into small sections. Arrange these sequentially on the board, beginning in the upper-left corner and working down the left panel. When this space is filled, begin placing information on the centre panel, from top to bottom. Place your conclusion and other final thoughts on the right panel.
Print your section headings in a font that is 24 points or larger. Use a standard font such as Times New Roman or Arial to make the text easy to read. The headings should be readable from a distance of ten feet. Black text on a white background is easiest to see.
Trim the headings down so there is about half an inch of white space around the words. Mount the headings on coloured construction paper or scrapbooking paper. This will help each section stand out, without adding excessive decoration. Use only one colour of backing for the headings.
Print your information, charts, pictures and other features on white paper. Your board should both show and tell your information. Short paragraphs and bulleted lists will tell your viewers what you learnt. Pictures, graphs, pie charts and other visuals will show them.
Mount your informative pieces on a different colour of construction paper from the headings. You can keep all of your features on a single colour, or place text and graphs on one colour, with pictures on another. Use no more than two different colours for this to keep the display from looking too busy.
Make a title for your display board. You can use stencils, stickers or a computer printer to create the title. Use a font larger than any other text in the display. Do not draw the title directly onto the board. Print it on a separate sheet of paper and mount this on coloured paper, or cut each letter out of coloured paper individually.
Lay the various elements of your display out on the board. Use a ruler to keep each element straight and make light pencil marks to indicate where everything should go. Keep an even distance between sections and elements. This simple rule will make the entire piece look much more professional. For example, keep two inches between one section and the next, and one inch between various elements within the same section.
Apply a thin layer of rubber cement to the back of each item for your display board. Let the cement dry for a few seconds until it is tacky, but not wet. Lightly press each piece onto the board.
Stand the board up and survey it from various distances. If any pieces are uneven or out of place, gently pry them off the board and reposition. Rubber cement is ideal for this type of project because pieces can be removed fairly easily. If the paper tears in the removal process, print a new copy. Rub the rubber cement on the board with your finger, back and forth, until it rolls up and comes off, leaving a clean surface for reapplication.
Tips and warnings
- Never use stickers, borders and decorations that do not have anything to do with the project to take up space or brighten the board. These elements will detract from the important information.
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