creative things to do with clipart | Teaching in the Tongass

Thursday, February 11, 2016

creative things to do with clipart


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So, if you haven't experienced the fun that comes with clipart, this tutorial is for you. The first clipart I ever bought was on a CD and had a massive amount of school related clipart on it. I used that puppy for everything. I've compiled a list of ways you can use clipart that don't involve commercial use. I have TONS of FREE clipart to get you started HERE. This one below is a great starter set--FREE! If you like it, please be kind and leave feedback right there on TpT--it's the polite thing to do ;)
 If you write a class newsletter, whether you send home a printed one or email a PDF, you can easily add clipart to it if you aren't already (click here if you need help with how to insert clipart)! Create a basic template you can use each time, or change out the clipart to make it relevant to your topic or the season! I recommend using black and white clipart as it looks better when you make copies, but if you're sending a digital version to parents, color looks great! Here is an example of what that might look like with borders and miscellaneous clipart:
Did you know you can print clipart reeeeeallly big? Yep! Whether you're making a welcome bulletin board for the beginning of the year hallway, adding a bit of decor around some showcase pieces in your room or decorating your door for a special event/holiday--clipart can be the perfect solution! Here's a worm/pencil from the freebie set above. I printed him at poster size (4 pages), as you can see when he's next to a large pair of scissors--he's a perfect addition to any writing center area! Click here for directions on how to make clipart big enough for bulletin boards and other decor!
FREE Worm on a pencil clipart found here.
One of the easiest things to do with clipart is to create coloring pages for personal use! Again, these directions apply. I use my own clipart at home with my toddler whenever he gets the "coloring bug"--I pop some clipart into a blank Powerpoint page, print and BAM--a bug coloring page appears like magic after nap time! Easy peasy!
Bug Clipart found here.
If you have time, and let's face it, not a lot of us do, this is something that can actually make your life easier (especially if you are an elementary teacher)! For instance, this Parent Volunteer Binder. If I were to ask a student to get it for me or look for it in their backpack, I might say, "Can you bring the white binder with the flowers to me, please?" Or, in the case of telling a coworker where to find something or even in my sub plans, I often have descriptions on what the binder looks like as well (i.e. "You'll find the Guided Reading Binder with the green bookworm on it in the book tub by my chair").  You get the idea. Not only can clipart make things aesthetically pleasing, but it can serve a purpose--which I AM ALL ABOUT.
Frame clipart found here, Flower clipart found here.
Writing letters to parents, coworkers, volunteers, and organizations is just a part of being a teacher. Sometimes regular white paper on your school letterhead is perfectly acceptable. Or maybe you're not a teacher and you want to make your own letterhead, envelope labels, etc. I don't want anyone to think I am crazy and only give written things on pretty stationery. That's not real life. But, on the rare occasion that you want to put something down on pretty paper, you don't have to shell out money for hard goods that won't last forever. Bonus: if you're type A, you can make it matchy matchy! These are my own stationery pieces, but you get the idea. Find some clipart that fits your personal style, pop into Powerpoint and find a pretty font that you use on each piece, and either print when you need it (that's how I roll) or keep a stockpile handy in your drawer.
I don't sell my fireweed clipart, but you can find other cute flowers here.
Valentine's Day is just around the corner! I made these a few years ago for students that forgot to bring cards--and am still using them! You can find FREE Valentine's Day clipart here. You can also create thank you gift cards/tags for volunteers and coworkers--the possibilities are endless! 
If you go through a lot of cards or want to do something unique for a special celebration, you can make your own card or certificate! Quick story. Last Spring, I wanted to do something for my mom for watching my kids for free for the last few years while I was at work (she is the BESTEST MOM!!!). My dad had just retired and they were planning a railroad/roadtrip across America in the fall. I settled on a cruise since they'd never been on one and made reservations near the end of their roadtrip. So, I took them to a Mexican restaurant and gave them their card until I could send them the real details via email. It was so fun to see their reactions and I love that I was able to make it a little more fun with my own card. Even if I had to use Titanic clipart for a cruise ship...
In the classroom or at home, this is a cheap and easy way to add a bit of color and whimsy to your decor. Here's a little printable I made for my youngest son, and subsequently, I now have something to print and pop into a frame for each baby shower I go to. Ta-da! 
Baby clipart found here, heart border clipart here, and frame clipart here.
There are so many possibilities when printing clipart on 4x6 photo paper flashcard-style. Create your files in Powerpoint and save as an image---print and done! I had my classroom alphabet printed as 5 x 7 photos and LOVED them.  Also, Shutterfly often has FREE 101 print promotions, so that's also a cheap alternative (tip: have them made and waiting in your cart so you can just checkout when the promotion happens)! Here's my toddler with a couple of the flashcards I made for when he was learning his first letter sounds. 
You can find Alphabet clipart here.
If you teach in an elementary school (or homeschool for that matter), chances are your kids like stickers as much as mine. They're magic. They wield some sort of power. I use them to bribe my 3 year old to do something he doesn't want to do ALL. THE. TIME. And he holds me to it (i.e. "I listened really good at storytime...where's my sticker?"). You can buy these sheets and print a page of clipart (I dragged these into a Powerpoint page and print/cut). Ta-da! Special stickers! And even cooler, you can make them BIG 8.5x11 ones for special occasions or decorating!
You can find Medieval clipart here.

Along the same lines as stickers are felt story pieces. You can use this paper to add any clipart to a piece of felt, cut it out and you're done! I made a flannel board out of a 16x20 picture frame and a piece of flannel (you can use blue for sky/green for the ground if you want--it's up to you!). The felt pieces just stick right onto the flannel board and you can get as creative as you'd like (you don't have to stick with the traditional retelling a story idea--as you can see here with my Aliens and Underpants color matching set. Forest Animal clipart can be found here and Down by the Bay clipart can be found here.

If you are in the classroom, you have labels. Why not make them fun? When you're prepping for name labels or supply labels, add some clipart alongside the word or name! And you obviously don't have to use sticky labels, plain paper and tape will work for lots of situations :) 
School Supplies clipart found here.

So those are just a few things you can do with clipart that you might not know about. I hope you are feeling creative and confident about using clipart now! Feel free to leave a comment below if you know of another creative way to use clipart! 

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11 comments

  1. Thanks for sharing these ideas! I never thought of enlarging clipart and using it to decorate - I'll be trying that one out. Happy weekend!

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  2. I never thought of some of these uses. I also loved seeing how you laid out the pages. Thank you!

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  3. Wonderfully written Tips for Using Clip Art!!! Your examples made me pop into a creative mood!!!

    Susan

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  4. SQUEEE -- how cute! Looking at the stickers makes me think ..... you could even do pieces for a felt board, too! Laminate them, add a wee bit of velcro or scrap of felt, and ta da!

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  5. I love reading tutorials! I get so many great ideas. Thank you. I've just started expanding my clip art uses.

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  6. I've done TEN out of your Eleven! I love it! Going to try to make the stickers! I love that idea! and someone in the comments said fel boards...and YES! I've done that and it works GREAT!

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