Displaying a picture memory board is a good addition to your graduation open house and a great way to honor your graduate.
Choose a display board like the kind required for science fair projects. Office supply stores sell several kinds of tri-fold display boards. You can purchase a foam core board or one less expensive made of corrugated cardboard. These standard presentation boards are self-standing and work quite well to display pictures of your graduate from birth to graduation. I suggest using one tri-fold board for the pictures up until the graduate’s senior year. A second board could display pictures of senior year activities, sports, prom, and graduation (if your open house is scheduled after graduation). The first board can even be finalized in the fall or winter of the graduate’s senior year. The second board can be partially completed and then finalized the month before your celebration.
Select pictures from your photo albums or photo bins with your teen (if they’re willing). It’s nice to have a wide variety of pictures including pictures of your child by himself/herself, pictures with siblings, parents, special friends, other relatives, and pictures of each sport or activity in which your child participated. It’s great to include cute and funny pictures, but your teen will appreciate it if you leave out any embarrassing pictures.
Once your pictures are gathered, lay the board down flat and set the pictures on the board in various patterns until you decide on the best design. A collage, where all the pictures are overlapping, gives a nice effect, but guests can better view pictures that are spaced apart. Handwritten captions can be written on the board with fine point markers, or computer-generated captions can be designed, printed on white or colored paper, cut-out, and glued underneath pictures. Be brief in your picture captions as guests will want to spend most of their time visiting with others.
You can then either glue the original pictures in place, or make copies of the pictures at a department or photo store and use the copies for the display board so your originals are not altered. Glue sticks work well for attaching photos, but be generous, making sure to spread the glue to all outside edges and in the middle of the pictures. Double-sided tape is an alternative to glue. Photos with a matte finish, rather than glossy, will be easier for your guess to see from all directions without glare.
Accents can be added to the display board between pictures. You can use colored construction paper or other colored paper, preferably in school colors, to decorate with words or shapes. Or colored paper can be placed behind the pictures to frame them. Fun stickers picturing graduation hats, diplomas, or graduation gowns or stickers representing the sports or activities your child participated in can be placed around the board to fill empty spaces. Items like graduation tassels can be taped on the board to add a 3-D effect.
If you want to be even more creative, you can create professional-looking posters using the Snapfish website. Go to www.Snapfish.com You can upload photos and create up to a 20×30″ collage poster of your favorite pictures, adding titles and personal messages. You can improve photos (removing “red eyes”, etc.), crop, arrange the layout, and choose the background. This amazing masterpiece will preserve your child’s memories for years to come. If you mount the poster on a foam core board, they will stand on their own and won’t easily get damaged.
After your open house you may choose to save and store the pictures boards, or, an alternative is to take pictures of your boards with a camera, section-by-section and as a whole, so you and your graduate can enjoy them without keeping the large boards.