Monday, June 27, 2016

Organizing your Classroom Library with Paint Sticks

I have been waiting since March to do this!  I just made this fairy garden this week but I've had the idea since March.

I LOVE the summer when I can make all the things I have dreamed up, pinned, and or needed to re-do.  Sometimes it goes great.....other times..... it's a complete flop.

This project was a little of both.

I am so grateful to Tara from 4th Grade Frolics for hosting Monday Made It every Monday during the summer months. 

Last week, I made pencil shoes, this week...a fairy garden.

It looks easy, right?

How to Make an Inexpensive Fairy Garden

and it was...for the most part. Except for this part....

How to Make an Inexpensive Fairy Garden

I saw these bird houses on sale for $1 at Jo Ann's and thought they would made great fairy houses.  I should have stopped there.

I thought they would look great covered with rocks/pebbles.  Pebbles, Julie. Pebbles. Not rocks. 

I spent 10 minutes in the adhesive aisle.  I spent almost $7 on this

because it said it was used for wood, metal, leather, plastic, stones, glass, and more. Sooooo.... hello?!

Not so much....

I would have taken a picture but my fingers were stuck together and my husband was coming and I didn't want him to see the huge mess in the kitchen.  It was just downright embarrassing. 

Luckily, I had some moss in the house. I covered it up.

Unluckily, this adhesive did not come off my hands for about 3 days.  Seriously?!

4 days later...I found this

How to Make an Inexpensive Fairy Garden
at The Christmas Tree Shop. Slap to the forehead. Wish I knew about this stuff before. Oh time...

The picket fence was from JoAnn's: $5
The Fairy was $7 from JoAnn's.
The larger stones were from my parents garden (shhh. Don't tell them.)
The chairs and tables were old doll house furniture of mine. When I say old....I mean....old. Trust me.  I have NO idea where they came from.

My classroom library is always a work in progress, it seems. My teacher books, I am trying out a new system.

Whoever designed these cabinets in my school should be subjected to bus duty and recess duty every day consecutively for a 6 month minimum.

These cabinets are like a foot wide.  It's just not practical. You can fit a stapler in there and maybe be able to shut the cabinet. It drives me bonkers. 

I believe shelf space should be for the students. For them to access books, manipulatives, and materials. So I took my teacher books off my shelves and moved them into my cabinets and that worked great

Until....I couldn't shut the doors.

Oh great! Now what?!  Well...don't tell the custodians but I jammed rearranged the books so they would fit and made to for the remainder of the school year.


I made these....

How to Organize your Classroom Library with Paint Sticks

I know....Martha Stewart....move over.  Home Deport gave me 50 of these for FREE.  FREE, people!!!!  I could have made them all pretty and spray painted them but I really don't have time for all that and I knew they wouldn't be seen anyway. So I used some Duct Tape and letter stickers and now I can organize my teacher books by topic and actually see where they go.

How to Organize your Classroom Library with Paint Sticks

I can also organize by theme.  Again...nothing fancy. But I think it looks nice.

How to Organize your Classroom Library with Paint Sticks

And the custodians are probably happy they won't have to fix broken cabinet doors anymore.  :)

What projects are you working on?  I love hearing about and seeing what others are making!


  1. I am in LOVE with your fairy garden. It is absolutely ADORABLE! I must make one...definitely! Thank you so much for sharing about the little bird house! I feel your pain on squishing your books in a cabinet. I have done the same thing...and I need a new system!
    Rockin' and Lovin' Learnin'

  2. Love your book organization ideas! That bright green tape really stands out! YES, to Home Depot!!! Those paint stirrers are SO useful to teachers! One year we needed 200+ of them for a Kinder performance. I had to visit quite a few Home Depots in the Southern California area, but I picked them all up for FREE!
    Kay @ Sommer’s Lion Pride

  3. Love the fairy garden! Great way to organize your books, it's on my list of things to do.


  4. I am pretty convinced school designers never talk to ANY teachers! We have the weirdest storage in our rooms! Looks like you came up with a good solution!

  5. Julie, I love your fairy garden! It's adorable and makes me want to make one myself. The kids will have such an easier time finding their books too. Great idea! :)

  6. Ha ha. Bus duty! That's hilarious. I love how you turned it into a positive! I am in a new room next year and have no idea what my shelving will look like! I enjoyed reading your blog post! Pam from PJ Jots.

  7. I don't know what is worse-short cabinets or deep cabinets??? Ours go back so far it is hard to organize without constantly moving things back and forth. I agree with The Teacher Studio that they should consult the teachers before they design schools! Love the fairy garden!

  8. Gah!! I love your fairy garden! What an adorable idea!

    I spent the last two days of school, getting my classroom library organized, too. It was so nice to leave for summer vacation, knowing that all of my shelves were tidy and my books were labeled.

    So happy to have found you!

    Shafer's Shenanigans

  9. Ha I love your humor! Fairy gardens are so intriguing to me... perhaps I'll give one a try. I love things all miniature so this would be right up my alley! Nothing like having all your mentor texts organized for the year- looks like that system will work wonders!

  10. I love fairy gardens. They are so much fun, and yours turned out great! I have a lot of work to do in my classroom library. I moved classrooms this year, and I won't be able to get to my boxes until the end of July. At least that gives me time to find some good tips like yours. I love the idea of using the paint stirring sticks to help keep books organized.

    Thank you for sharing, and have a great week!
    Elementary Engagement

  11. I love your solution to your cabinet problem! The colors are great :)

  12. I can't believe as much as I garden that I don't yet have a fairy garden!!! I have about everything That is adorable. I am always drawn to that section in the nurseries I visit and then get overwhelmed by all the cuteness and where to start and have a meltdown and! Love the paint stick idea for library organization! Brilliant!!! Thanks for linking up:)