Elementary education teachers are responsible for educating children and supporting their development. Bright and creative designs are more important for younger and older students. This is why elementary classrooms often have bright colours. Teachers can find decorating classrooms expensive, especially if they have to spend their own money.

We’ve compiled the most affordable classroom decor for elementary school teachers. Each item on this list is less than $20 because teachers value every dollar!

1. Balloons

You can buy a bag of balloons for less than $5. But the possibilities are limitless! A cloud made with white balloons to study weather conditions or a hungry caterpillar for decorating your classroom walls. An “Up” themed bulletin board or door will welcome students daily. Red balloons can also be made into cherries, apples, or pumpkins by adding green construction paper “leaves”.

2. Tissue Paper Pom-Poms

You can easily make pom-poms from tissue paper that you find at big box retailers such as Walmart and Target. Can make your own instead of purchasing premade poms at the party shop. You can colour code your pom-poms according to your classroom theme, or you can change them during holidays.

3. Windows – Tissue Paper, Electrical Tape

Window displays are a great idea for your classroom. To create a stained glass effect, jazz them up using tissue paper and electrical tape. You can keep it simple with large, colourful squares or go wild with a Mondrian-inspired design. Even better? Even better?

4. Shower Caps and Ribbon for Jelly Fish

A classroom themed under the sea is incomplete without some jellyfish. It’s easy to make your jellyfish. Grab some shower caps (or from a previous hotel stay) to make your jellyfish, and add curled ribbon legs to each cap. For maximum effect, hang your creations from the ceiling. 

5. Crayon Clock

You can make a classroom clock with a few crayons and a hot glue gun. Your students will be able to recall it. For a more portable crayon wreath, glue your crayons onto a template for a wooden wreath (available at craft stores for $3-$5 per piece).

6. Ribbon/Fabric Classroom Curtains and a Tension Rod

This DIY curtain will bring colour and style to any classroom with a window. You can make a curtain by simply attaching ribbons or scraps of fabric to a tension bar ($5-10 at big box stores and home improvement stores). Are you out of fabric? You don’t have to spend much money to make beautiful fabric from old t-shirts.

7. Book Fireplace

This book fireplace is perfect for winter holidays but can also be used year-round. It was made from colour-coded construction paper and books. You may find different books in your school library. If not, you can always look at local garage sales for inexpensive books. You can cover your books with construction paper if you cannot find colour-coordinated ones.

8. Christmas lights

Holiday lights can be used all year to add sparkle to classroom ceilings and frame bulletin boards. These lights also help to keep the classroom from going completely dark after the overhead lights are turned off. This is a great idea for younger students who may still be afraid of the dark.

Pro Tip: In the days following Christmas, Christmas lights can often be found on sale at steep discounts. Make sure to stock up on holiday breaks!

9. Fabric for Bulletin Boards

Classroom bulletin boards are often covered with butcher paper. Fabric is best if you want to add some pattern or texture to your bulletin boards. A typical classroom bulletin board requires 3-4 yards of fabric. If you’re creative with your fabric selections, it will cost less than $15. You can save up to 70% on fabric when you shop for anniversary and holiday sales. You may be able to buy a whole bolt of fabric starting at $20. This will give you enough fabric for many years.

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