Library Hack #1: Making Water Damage Pretty

I have worked in older libraries my entire career and there is always at least one thing that they have in common – water-stained ceiling tiles. Water-stained ceiling tiles, to me, show students the lack of care taken by the school district to provide them with a nice area that is their home away from home. 

You may have guessed from my hair color, but I am obsessed with bright colors.  Unfortunately, my library is currently a blah taupe color, which doesn’t match the creative, inspirational vibe I’m going for.

In a few years, my library will be renovated, so for right now, I have to live with what I have.  But that doesn’t mean I can’t hide some of the ugly!

To hide those tiles while at the same time bringing some color to the space, I purchased the $1 plastic tablecloths from Walmart in multiple colors. Then my students and I removed the water-damaged ceiling tiles. We folded the tablecloths in half to make them darker and the colors brighter. Using pieces of duct tape, we taped the plastic tablecloths around the edges of the ceiling tile, making sure to pull it tight.  Then we put them back up into the ceiling. 

I love it because there are now random spots of color in the library. The kids love it as well. They have told me they love the “pop of random colors” that they bring to the space and make the library feel “cozier.” This was a simple, cheap, and effective way to turn the blah and icky tiles into something pretty and creative that better fits the vibe I want in my library space. 

Once I have a new space, I will be recruiting students to paint on the ceiling tiles. I just didn’t want to waste their amazing talent this year. How do you plan to spruce up your water-damaged tiles?

The tools that I used.
The final product.

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