Our students are starting their history projects that are due in December, so that they can revise them if they would like to enter them in National History Day. In order to inspire them and give ideas for their topic choice, I’ve made this display with the 2016 NHD theme, “Exploration, Encounter, Exchange”.
The challenge with this display was making a large piece of white paper look like parchment. I decided to stain it with tea. I hadn’t ever tea dyed a normal sized piece of paper, so this was pretty ambitious, I think.
First I had a student help me crumple up a big piece of white banner paper. I took this home over a weekend. Then I experimented with a small piece of paper and different types of black tea. Once I got a color and strength of tea that I liked, I found a small bucket and a big sponge. I put the cooled down tea in the bucket and used the sponge to apply it to the paper. I did this outside on my small deck. As it was drying I noticed there were still a lot of white spots, so I reapplied it. I did have to walk on the paper in my socks, but it seemed to have survived just fine. I like how the paper turned out.
You may notice that I have some finely cut out items on the sign. I invested in a Cricut machine this summer. After a small learning curve, I can easily cut out letters or any shape out of any material. My administration supported the purchase of this machine, knowing how much effort I put into making these displays. I figure I can share it and teachers and even students can use it if they want to.