Search on SLJ.com ....
Subscribe to SLJ
100 Scope Notes
Inside 100 Scope Notes

Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 1624 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

We did something cool in my 3rd and 4th grade library. And by “we” I mean “mostly not me” – all credit for this project goes to library assistant Nancy and aides Tina and Mary. I helped, but they had the vision and the painting skills.

About a year or so ago my school district was giving away some of the furniture from recent renovations – including some 70s era folding auditorium seats. We snatched up a batch of them (batch = seven), with our minds set on painting book characters on them. This led to a few questions:

  1. Which characters?
  2. How do we paint them?
  3. How do we install the seats when they’re finished?

Question 1: Which Characters?

This part was tricky. We wanted characters that worked for boys and girls, so that everyone felt comfortable sitting in any chair. We wanted some classic characters that aren’t lame, and some new characters with fairly stable popularity. We settled on:

  • Cat in the Hat (younger than this age range, but if I know one thing, it’s that the Cat can hang with  any crowd)
  • Bad Kitty (kind of a new one. I see these books sticking around for a bit. Note to Nick Bruel: keep writing them)
  • Judy Moody
  • Wimpy Kid (impossible to deny this one)
  • Harry Potter
  • Captain Underpants
  • Spiderwick Chronicles (this book is part of our Battle of the Books competition, so kids are very familiar)
  • Goosebumps (kickin’ it old school! Spooky is always a crowd-pleaser, and the Goosebumps books still circulate like crazy at this school)
  • Thing 1 and Thing 2 (why not?)

Why nine if there were only seven seats? Two of them had end pieces on the sides, which allowed for a couple bonus characters.

Question 2: How Do We Paint Them?

Characters determined, it was time to get them on the chairs. We turned images of the characters into transparencies (you can do this on most standard copy machines), slapped them on an overhead projector, and got to work tracing. I like the idea of calling upon a nearly obsolete technology for one last job. We made a projector very happy in the twilight of its life.

IMG 0293 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

Once we had the outlines drawn, out came the acrylic paints. Nancy, Tina, and Mary worked wonders here, beautifully recreating the book covers (and in the case of the Wimpy Kid chair, adding a “five books in one” twist).

IMG 0204 373x500 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0653 373x500 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

When the painting was finished, we coated them with a clear acrylic spray a whole bunch of times to prevent chipping. More in-progress photos:

IMG 0200 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0201 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0202 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0203 373x500 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0205 373x500 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0206 373x500 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0207 373x500 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0208 373x500 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0210 373x500 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0212 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0652 373x500 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0654 373x500 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating EditionIMG 0656 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0655 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

Question 3: How Do We Install the Seats?

Before making these things permanent, we had to decide on the configuration – we toyed with a few different arrangements

IMG 0773 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0775 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0776 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0777 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0778 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0779 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0780 373x500 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 0781 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

We tried a circular organization, but it seemed to block traffic too much. We ended up with chairs against the wall and rounding a corner.

We had them bolted to the floor. This took some convincing, but was the best way to go.

IMG 1629 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 1592 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 1593 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 1621 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 1622 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 1623 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 1625 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 1627 373x500 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 1628 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 1632 373x500 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

IMG 1633 373x500 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

Now any self-respecting home design blog would have a beautiful before and after shot. This is not a self-respecting design blog. So what you have is many after shots. Trust me – better than the before. Students approve.

IMG 2550 500x373 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition

share save 171 16 Extreme Library Makeover: Seating Edition
About Travis Jonker

Travis Jonker is an elementary school librarian in Michigan. He writes reviews (and the occasional article or two) for School Library Journal and is a member of the 2014 Caldecott committee. You can email Travis at scopenotes@gmail.com, or follow him on Twitter: @100scopenotes.

Comments

  1. Katie Davis says:

    I am FREAKING out over those chairs! I love them! You guys are geniuses!

  2. Zoe says:

    This is VERY cool! I love it! Well done to everyone involved!

  3. Elizabeth says:

    Love it! Thank you for sharing!

  4. These are Great! Really impressive.

  5. Well done, thoroughly impressed!! (Slightly jealous as well to be honest.)

  6. Tara says:

    Absolutely brilliant, and you have some amazingly talented staff!

  7. Sharon says:

    These look wonderful! A perfect addition to any library!

  8. Kelly Ramsdell Fineman says:

    SO. GREAT!!!!

  9. S.W. says:

    Brilliant idea. Great job.

  10. jules says:

    So. cool.

  11. Jo says:

    Awesome! Love it and I can tell your patrons do too. =)

  12. Shannon says:

    Awesome idea and fabulous painting! I really enjoyed seeing all the pictures.

  13. Charlotte says:

    Those are Utterly Amazing!!!!

  14. Deb Bonner says:

    Did you have to get permission from the publishers/authors/illustrators to be in compliance with copyright law? How did you go about doing this, just want to know in case others may want to do this project too.

  15. I echo the comments and appreciate the detailed pictures AND how-to’s!

  16. marjorie says:

    Ahh-MAH-zing!! Lucky kids!

  17. PragmaticMom says:

    Wow, those are freakin’ amazing! I am sure they took a ton of work. Your school is so lucky to have your team! Please come to my school! We need cool stuff too!

  18. Joanna Stone says:

    How beautiful! Kids would be excited seeing these chairs in your library. Hard work, but it is surely worth it.

  19. Josiah's says:

    Beautiful!! Well done. What a welcoming corner you have now.

    I too would be interested in the answer re fair use.

Speak Your Mind

*