Saturday, September 3, 2011

Library Guides

This is going to be a quick post for those of you that requested the library guides. As I mentioned, this was one of those projects with a lot of trial and a lot of error.

Hopefully I can save you from some of that error.

I started out by buying long, flat rectangles of wood from Michael's. The wood pieces were about 3 feet long. My first mistake was that some of the wood pieces were made from Balsa wood. Michael's didn't have enough of the sturdier wood pieces, and I was in a hurry, so I just grabbed the few Balsa pieces so I could get her done. I need to work on my patience, but I'm not ready to commit to it full-time.

I should have just waited patiently because the Balsa wood is a sad, sad alternative. When you paint Balsa wood, it sucks the moisture up and then bows the wood. Waste of time.

When I got the wood pieces home, Peanut Head cut each piece into three pieces so that each piece was about a foot long. It turns out that they were a little too long for my bookcases, so Peanut Head cut them a second time so that they were right sized. He's so good to me.

My second mistake was using craft paint to paint the wood pieces. It took for-EVER, and it sucked up a lot of paint. 

My third mistake was not putting one coat of Mod Podge on my guides before Mod Podging the letters on. I ended up having the red paint bleed onto my letters, so I had to sand them all off and then basically start over.

It took me for-EVER to sand the library guides, something I should have done in the first place anyway, but since I messed up so bad, in order to fix it, I had to sand the letters off and a few layers of Mod Podge.

After I sanded my waste of time off, I got a brain and spray painted just one coat of paint on the library guides. After the paint dried, I lightly sanded them. I think I'm supposed to, but I don't know why, so I just did it.

Then I put just one coat of Mod Podge on them and let it dry. Then I put on another coat of Mod Podge to adhere the letters, and finally one last coat to protect it all.

Whew! I'm so tired now.

I love the way they turned out after all that trial and error.

Oh yes, I think I should mention that I printed two copies of all the alphabet guides because I put letters on both sides of my library guides so that they could be seen from both directions.

What I love most about them is that I can move the guides as my library expands and contracts. It did a lot of contracting this week when my students started checking books out.

I used the same style of cards for my cabinets. I've mentioned before that I number my cabinets and drawers to speed up the process of sending students to fetch things. It's so much quicker than playing the whole hot/cold game.

Anyway, I put two letters and two numbers on every 4 x 6 print. Then I cut them in half so that they are 4 x 3 inches.

After cutting the numbers apart, I mounted them on red card stock and them laminated the whole shebang. Then I stuck them to my cabinets with double-sided adhesive. I'm still experimenting with the adhesive, because they aren't all sticking perfectly. Every couple of days I'll find one slipping and trying to make a break for it. I would love any suggestions you might have for a good adhesive.

Does all that make sense? If not, ask questions, please.

Click on the images below first, to get the best resolution, then save them to your desktop. The cabinet numbers only go up to 22, so let me know if you need them to go a little higher, and I'd be happy to add more.


  1. Love your classroom posts! Thanks so much for sharing! =]

  2. Have you tried sticky back Velcro to keep your cabinet labels from trying to run free?
    I love your blog - it makes me smile and inspires me to be more organized!

  3. I just found your site as a link on Sher Your Scraps-- wow! wish I'd known about you before i retired from the school library! Fun!

  4. Maybe the 3M command poster hangers would work to adhere to the cabinets without leaving goo on the doors at the end of the year. I hated cleaning up the adhesive each June.

  5. I was going to suggest sticky-back Velcro, too, since that adhesive is super strong. But then I thought of all the April Fool's pranks you would be opening yourself up to. ;)

    You'll have to let us know if you try the 3M poster hangers. I'd be curious to know how they work for you. =)

  6. Well dang.... everyone else already told you MY brilliant ideas!! Sheesh! I got the brilliant idea of re-organizing our school Book Room & our Principal gave me the thumbs up....

    The person who originally put the Book Room together has left - she was the only one who could find things in there. So now ALL teachers need to be able to find things quick... I'm opting for the boring Alphabetical Order by Author thing... you know... s i m p l e.... So thanks for the ABC Library Guides idea.... I KNOW it will help.

    How's the start of your new year going?

  7. 3M removable tape! They have multiple sizes and velcro for moving. It's AWESOME.

  8. How much were the pieces of wood at Michael's? Trying to decide if this is something we could afford.

  9. It was awhile ago, so if I had to guess I would say 30 cents each.

  10. Can you make available higher case letters also??

  11. I'd love to have your markers for #23-29.

  12. Jill,
    Thanks so much for sharing your ideas, as well as the challenges so that we do not have the same struggles. Vicarious learning (or in this case your share of your reflection) is very helpful. Regarding the numbers on the file cabinets- if they are medal, magnets might work well.

  13. Can you tell me what kind of spray paint you used? Thanks in advance