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How to Make a Science Fair Display Board

Your display board is the first impression that you make
with the judges, so find out how!
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For Elementary School, Middle School, High School & College
How to Make a Science Fair Project Display Board

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Here's my motivational quote of the day:

We don't know who we are until we see what we can do!
~ Martha Grimes

Did you know that your display board is the first impression of your science fair project. It is a display that tells the story of all your efforts. So keep it simple, very neat and well organized.

CLUE No. 6
Visual Exhibit of Your Science Project
This clue will take up to 3 hours to unravel.

First Step

2nd Step
3rd Step
Color Scheme
4th Step
Title and Subtitles

5th Step
Pages on Display

6th Step
7th Step
8th Step
Display on Table
9th Step
Models and Equipment


Before you purchase any materials, read your school's guidelines. Your school may have different requirements for elementary science fair boards than for middle or high school. Also, rules change from school to school regarding sizes, shapes and material composition for the backboards /display boards /exhibit boards.

Look at the example of a display board. Notice that it is simple, neat, well organized and invites a person to visit and learn more. And isn't that what you want? For the judges to be attracted like a magnet to your project!

Teachers and PTOs, you can find standard size display boards, headers, certificates and more here...

Use your creativity. Envision in your mind how you want your board to look. On a piece of paper sketch a design that is in balance and flows - as illustrated in the above example. Make copies of your sketch. Use crayons or colored pencils to try out different color combinations.


  • A display board is made up of sturdy material, has 3 panels that fold out so that the board can stand up by itself. Do not use a flimsy poster board. It will constantly be falling down, which irritates teachers and judges.
  • You can construct a display board from pegboard, plywood, corkboard, particleboard or foam board. If you make your display board, choose a material that is light and easy to carry. A wood board is too heavy to carry.
  • A cover for the homemade display board can be contact paper, wallpaper or fabric. Use a color that is one of the three colors of your color scheme.
  • Image Elementary Science Fair Projects of Glue

  • On the back of the display board list your name, school, grade, science teacher's name.
  • Use rubber cement or double sided tape. White glue wrinkles the paper.


  • Use construction paper to make a border around your papers. Choose a color that matches the title letters.
  • Self-adhesive Titles / Letters.
    The letters for the title of the board can usually be found at Target, school supply store or teacher's retail store. Title tags, such as Problem, Hypothesis, Data, etc, Click here to look at what you will need.

Decide on a color scheme for your display board. Use no more then 3 contrasting colors : background color, color used to frame your papers, and ink used for the story of your report (black is easy to read). Do not use neon colored display boards or lettering. It takes away from the display and does not look professional.

The Title is a shortened version of the conclusion in your project paper.

Make your TITLE HEADINGS look professional. Self-adhesive letters are sharp are an excellent choice. They are available at a teacher's store or an office supply store.

You can design the letterheads on a computer. If your printer does not print sharp looking images, then copy the design to a disk or CD-ROM and bring it to your local print shop.

Make the TITLE letters larger than the subtitles. Place the title at the top of the middle panel. Display photographs, drawings, charts and tables underneath the title. You will find more information about charts and tables here...

Use a darker color for the title and subtitles such as dark blue, green and purple, royal blue, medium green and purple. Lighter colors can be used such as light blue, yellow, light green as a background for the letters, but it really isn't necessary if you have a white display board.

Before gluing TITLE HEADINGS permanently to the display board, lay them out on the board in a neat and logical order.


  • Type and print the report pages that are going to be displayed on the display board. Make the print large enough so that a person standing in front of your table can read it without squinting or leaning forward to see. Place a border around the report pages that is in your color scheme. For the border paper, purchase colored construction paper at your local office supply store.

    If you have to buy large sheets of construction paper, cut them to size. Use a ruler and pencil, lightly mark the outer margins where you will cut. Use a paper cutter at school or at your local print shop.

  • Have a focal point from which the other pages, tables, graphs, charts and photos stem. This will create continuity and flow.
To create poster size images, first draw in pencil and then retrace your drawings and sketches. Using an Opaque Projector at school, tape a large piece of paper on the wall and trace the outline of your drawing projection. It is important to make the drawings in proportion to the other materials that are on your display board.

8" X 10" or 5"x 7" are excellent sizes for your display board. Place them in sequential order. Remember to frame them in one of the 3 colors. Photo stores can enlarge them for you. Some printing shops such as Kinkos can usually reproduce them for less cost. Make one copy first to check the quality.

Follow the KIS principle - Keep it Simple!

Place each sheet of the Abstract and Project reportin individual 3-ring plastic sheet protectors. They can be purchased at your local office supply store.

Adhering to your color scheme, put the Abstract in a 3-ring folder, Project Report in a 3-ring notebook.

Print a separate label for each of the binders.

Arrange these items neatly on the table in front of your display board.

Do not let the models that you made, equipment or parts of the display hang over the table. Keep everything off the floor.

Attach three-dimensional objects to the display board at the fair - not at home.

Ask your science teacher if you are permitted to cover the table with a cloth. If so, coordinate the color with the color scheme of your display board.

Neatly arrange model and or equipment in an organized fashion, along with your Abstract, Journal /Lab Notebook, and Science Report, on the table in front of the display board.

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Kids are constantly sending in their science fair projects display board pictures (gee..that's a mouth full!), so please stay in touch by subscribing to my FREE monthly Science Fair Enthusiasts e-zine.

We have room for your display board. Contact us and we will give you the details.

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All done? Finish your display board?
Outcome achieved! Congratulations!!

Before you turn on the tube or get glued to your iPad, see what is waiting for you tomorrow...  
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How to write a science fair project research report.     How to do a presentation before your class.


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