Using Vinyl in the Classroom
Students in the United States spend more than 1,100 hours in the classroom each year. As a teacher, you probably spend even more. Some researchers believe that a warm, decorated classroom can lead to increased academic achievement and a stronger sense of belonging. For these reasons, classrooms should be a space where both you and your students feel comfortable.
Vinyl decals are an excellent solution for teachers hoping to bring simple, customizable and affordable style to the classroom.
Why Should You Choose Vinyl for Your Classroom Projects?
Before we discuss why vinyl is the best choice for your classroom decals, there are a few different types of vinyl you should know about. The way vinyl is labeled depends on the production process by which they are created and the method used to transfer the vinyl to a surface.
- Adhesive vinyl: Adhesive vinyl is a vinyl decal with a sticky backing, which allows it to adhere to different surfaces.
- Heat Transfer Vinyl (HTV): HTV vinyl refers to vinyl decals that need to be cut and then heated before transferring to a surface.
- Cast vinyl: Cast vinyl is vinyl that has undergone a process of manufacturing that turns it from a thick, paint-like substance to a solid film. Cast vinyl is highly durable with minimal shrinkage. It is typically thinner and longer-lasting than calendered vinyl.
- Calendered vinyl: Calendered vinyl is vinyl that has undergone a process where raw materials are mixed, milled, heated and rolled to produce a thicker, stiffer film than cast vinyl. Calendered vinyl is highly resistant to abrasion and cost-effective.
The Benefits of Using Vinyl
Vinyl is simple to apply, highly customizable and easily removable, making it the ideal solution for classroom and school decals.
- Vinyl is simple: Vinyl decor is easy to apply and can withstand humidity. After you apply vinyl decor to your wall or other surfaces, you do not have to worry about maintaining anything — high-quality vinyl is durable and will not peel or fade.
- Vinyl is customizable: With so many color options, finishes and types of vinyl available, the possibilities for customization are limitless.
- Vinyl is removable: Unlike traditional stickers, vinyl products are non-permanent, and you can remove them at any time. This makes vinyl an ideal solution for classrooms, rentals and spaces you want to redecorate frequently.
How to Choose Vinyl for Your Project
If you plan to use classroom vinyl, choose a vinyl that fits your intended purpose and budget. Research vinyl suppliers and be sure to choose one that provides good customer service and offers a high-quality product at an affordable price.
- Analyze your project: If you are looking for vinyl that can withstand the test of time — like vehicle or furniture wraps — choose something durable and long-lasting. For crafty, less intensive projects, like wall decor or labeling, thinner vinyl will work.
- Determine your budget: It's no secret that teachers spend a lot of out-of-pocket money on their classroom supplies. In fact, one study reports that the average teacher in the U.S. spends nearly $500 per school year — that is why choosing an affordable vinyl is essential.
- Shop with a trusted brand: Choose a vinyl supplier that has a reputation for providing customer satisfaction and quality product. A reputable brand should also offer a warranty program so you can shop with confidence.
How Can You Use Vinyl in the Classroom?
Are you are a teacher hoping to use decals in your classroom? Use vinyl decor to decorate, organize, limit distractions, save time and as an opportunity to get your students involved.
Decorate and Personalize
- Create wall art: When creating vinyl wall decals, be sure to choose a vinyl specifically intended for interior application to protect your paint, like ORACAL® 631 Exhibition Cal Vinyl.
- Personalize furniture and cabinetry: Decorate your desk, student desks, bookcases, closet doors and cabinetry in custom vinyl decor — like 3M™ 1080 Gloss Furniture Wraps — to add style and personality to your classroom.
- Wrap musical instruments: Are you a music teacher? Wrap musical instruments — or instrument cases — in fun classroom decals.
- Demonstrate school pride: Create a school decal of your team's mascot and display it in the classroom — don't forget to use your school's colors!
Organize and Label
Keep your classroom organized with vinyl labels. Labeling items around the classroom that students use daily — like the pencil sharpener, trash can, hand sanitizer and other objects — will help your students learn to associate those words with the objects themselves.
- Containers: Label baskets of tools, toys, supplies and other classroom equipment. During clean up, students will know where to place each item and learn the importance of staying organized.
- Bookshelves: Label bookshelves according to the genre, reading level or topic.
- Student spaces: If your students have assigned lockers, cubbies, desks or coat hooks, make a label with their name on it and stick it above their space. This will prevent any confusion and teach younger children how to recognize their names.
Windows and doors can distract your students, especially if you teach in a busy school where people frequent the hallways. If you want more privacy and less potential for distraction, consider applying etched glass vinyl films to the doors and windows in your classroom.
Etched glass imitates the look of textured glass. It can also come in frosted variants, like ORACAL® 8810 Frosted Calendered Film. Etched and frosted glass can help minimize and blur the distractions of the outside world while still allowing plenty of natural light shine through.
Use vinyl decals to save you time during your school day. For example, if you start each week by writing the days of the week across the top of your whiteboard, consider replacing those days with vinyl lettering. You could also use vinyl lettering to create sections on your whiteboard, chalkboard and bulletin boards notifying students of upcoming assignments, test dates and more.
It is even possible to make these letters and decals by hand. After designing and printing your school decal or other logos, the only supplies you need are:
- A clean surface
- A sheet of self-adhesive vinyl
- An Exacto knife
- A squeegee or application card
- Masking tape
- About 15 minutes of spare time
Get Students Involved
Consider using vinyl in classroom craft activities. Unlike traditional stickers, you won't be stuck scraping adhesive vinyl off their desks at the end of the day.
You could also decorate your classroom together. This is a great way to connect with your students and give them a chance to play an active part in creating a conducive learning environment. Give your students a voice by encouraging them to:
- Vote for a decorating theme: Let your students come up with possible decorating ideas — like a popular book series, television show or color palette — then let them vote on which theme to use. Your students will learn about collaboration and the importance of voicing their opinions.
- Choose how to organize or divide: Let your students decide how to organize or divide classroom supplies. This is especially useful for young students who are just learning how to identify and categorize everyday items.
- Design their own label: If you use labels to identify each student's personal spaces, like lockers or cubbies, let your students design their own labels. Give them paper and coloring utensils and encourage them to be as creative as they would like.
No matter what project you choose — whether container labels, school decals or classroom wall decals — the important thing is that your learning environment is not too distracting, but enjoyable enough to help the school year run as smoothly as possible.
Get Inspired With 10 Ways to Use Vinyl in the Classroom
Are you looking for a little classroom vinyl inspiration? Here are 10 ways you can use vinyl in your classroom this school year.
1. Use Line Up Dots
If you teach young children, you probably already know that getting your students to stand in a straight line can be a challenge. Make the task easier by using vinyl to create line up dots and then place them on the floor in front of your door — one dot for each student. Line up dots are used to help your students know where to stand when it's time to line up for lunch, recess or other out-of-classroom activities.
2. Stay on Task With a Wall Calendar
A large, wall-sized calendar will help keep you on task and let your students see what is on the agenda from week to week. A wall calendar can also remind students of upcoming events, like tests, project due dates or field trips. Use vinyl to create a border for your calendar. Then, use vinyl lettering to label the month, the days of the week and to number the boxes on your calendar. Because you can easily remove vinyl, you can change your wall calendar each month to use seasonal colors.
3. Decorate Your Door
Decorate your classroom door with eye-catching visuals and your name to help students and parents find your classroom easily on the first day of school. If you teach a specific class, like language arts or math, put that on your front door as well. If you have decorated the inside of your classroom according to a theme, preview that theme on your door.
4. Label Your Desk
In addition to sprucing up your teacher's desk with a furniture wrap, use vinyl lettering to display your name in a large, legible font. This will help young students pick up the spelling of your name quicker.
5. Celebrate Students With a Birthday Board
Create a vinyl wall decal for your classroom to keep track of your students' birthdays. As a student's birthday approaches, you can also use vinyl letters and numbers to create a countdown and help each student feel celebrated and important.
6. Create a World Map
Use vinyl to create a world map and place it on the wall. To help your students learn geography and country names, label each country and use different colors of vinyl to indicate where borders and bodies of water are. Consider creating small vinyl dots and placing a dot in each location your students have traveled. Use the world map to fuel class discussions about different cultures or to bring history lessons to life.
7. Celebrate the Holidays
Craft holiday decorations out of vinyl to bring the festive spirit to your classroom. After the holidays have ended, clean-up will be a breeze with vinyl decor. If your class is making holiday crafts, use vinyl to personalize projects. For example, vinyl letters can be a great way to decorate Christmas tree ornaments or Valentine's Day card boxes.
You can also use vinyl decals to celebrate other events, like the changing seasons, world events, sports games or learning milestones.
8. Label Binders for Substitute Teachers
Make things easier for your substitute teacher by using vinyl lettering to label binders and other important resources. Separate lesson plans from student profiles, homework assignments, graded tests and other work. As a substitute teacher, it can be tough to learn each teacher's specific teaching method and classroom rules. Labeling and separating binders will make their task easier and allow them to spend more time teaching your students.
9. Inspire Students With Motivational Quotes
We have all seen those motivational posters that hang in schools or work offices — make them your own by creating a custom vinyl wall decal for your classroom. Use a motivational quote to inspire your students to work hard and persevere. You could also pull quotes from stories your class is currently reading, or display a mnemonic device — like Please Excuse My Dear Aunt Sally — to help students remember science or math principles.
10. Create a Hall Pass
Use vinyl to create a hall pass for your classroom. Make sure your hall pass is large and brightly colored, so it is not easily misplaced or forgotten. Label each hall pass with your name and classroom number. You might consider creating multiple hall passes for different destinations, including the restroom, office, library and more.
Tackle Your Classroom Projects With Rvinyl
Rvinyl offers high-quality, affordable vinyl to help make all your classroom decorating dreams come true. Whether you are creating wall art, organizing supplies or just want to add a touch of style to your space, Rvinyl has you covered. Are you unsure of which type of vinyl you need for your classroom decals? Contact one of our vinyl experts and tell us about your project. We are happy to help you make the best decision.
Our products are the perfect combination of style and affordability, and everything comes with a three-year warranty against cracking, peeling and fading. Shop our selection of craft vinyl today.