Monday, August 8, 2011

DIY- Large Print Magnetic Poetry

Image via Magnetic Poetry

I'm sure you've seen these great little Magnetic Poetry kits. Click here for their website- they have so many fun looking kits. Magnetic Poetry for every mood or interest and it is a fun, low stress way for our residents to express themselves and share their thoughts. Maybe you also noticed that with the exception of the Really Big Words kit for kids, the magnetic word strips in the kits are incredibly small, as in .375" high. What, how much is that? More than a quarter, less than half an inch. That's the magnet, not the type print. The strips are hard to read and could be hard to handle as well since they are so small. The magnetic strips in the Really Big Words kit are 1.5" high and that's a more do-able size. Most kits have at least 200 words, the Really Big Words kit has 100.

Well, we're a clever bunch of folks, so let's make magnetic poetry kits specially designed for our residents. These are not necessarily cheaper- most of the Official Magnetic Poetry kits run $11 to $20 plus shipping and handling if you have to order. I bought the Magnet Sheets at Office Depot for $5.97 per package. There are three sheets in each package. So you might break even by making your own. However-- I have included a blank template so that you can customize and personalize to your own facility.

You will need:

As mentioned, I got the Magnetic Sheets at Office Depot and my local Wal-Mart has them as well. If, for some crazy reason, you cannot find them, here are some online resources to try. I have not done business with any of these places and will not vouch for them- just sending you to some sites where you can purchase magnetic sheets if needed.

A note- Scissors are lovely to use to cut the words apart but a paper cutter or metal ruler and Exacto knife work well also.

Download the word templates for this project and save them to your computer.

Blank Template- (click on underlined link) Use this template to print customized word lists: facility name, town/state, staff names, local landmarks, favorite activities, leisure and hobbies, whatever you can think of. Once you download and save to your Documents folder, open the template in Word, change your font to Calibri with 48 as the font size. Now just fill in with whatever you would like for a customized sheet of words.

I have six word sheet templates that you can download for free (!) I developed these templates based upon three things:
  • A word list for the Magnetic Poetry that I found on Amazon.
  • A list of the most commonly used words in the English language that I found here.
  • Life and interests in a long-term care setting.

It's kind of hard to see in this photo but the sheet on the far right is the blank template.
It has light gray lines as a guide when you open it in Word and these lines
also serve, on all the templates, as cutting lines.

Click on each template title below to go to the download. I hope to get these all together in one file so that you won't have to click each individual one but I'm still figuring out the publisher (or the publisher is still figuring me out, whichever). You will most likely not see an preview image for the same reason. Just click on Download This File.

I have an HP printer and set my Printing Properties to "Automatic" for paper type and "Fast Normal" for print quality. No need to use any of the "fancy" paper types- I did a few test runs and there's not alot of difference from one paper type to the next. However, my printer has Fast Draft, Fast Normal, Normal, and Best quality settings. Because ink is so expensive I usually print in the lowest quality setting I can get away with. Sometimes, however,  it's better to go up a level and this is one of those times. If you look closely at the photo below, you'll see that the page on the far right is not as dark as the others. That one was printed with Fast Draft, the other two with Fast Normal and Normal. So go with Fast Normal or a comparable setting on your printer. We want these to be dark enough to be easily seen by our residents and to last through being handled.

Also- these sheets are for Inkjet printers only. Avery has a printing tips for their magnetic sheets- click here.

So now that you have your sheets cut out, start by cutting along the gray horizontal cutting lines.

Then cut out each word. This takes a bit of time, but isn't that why we have volunteers? Or co-workers at lunch, or teenage kids, or commercial breaks during NCIS?

I like to just slap these words up and let my folks go at it on their own. We use one of those white dry-erase boards on an easel but you may have one wall mounted somewhere. Metal fire doors that stay shut (without alot of traffic) are a good place to put these (the ones that are open but swing shut in a fire drill may be risky), or paint a wall or large piece of luan board with magnetic paint. I like the painting the wall idea but trust me, I know how hard it can be to get approval for these kinds of really fun things. Of course there's always a refrigerator door if you're lucky enough to have one in your Activity Room.

So there you are- instant poetry. I put these up on a dry-erase board in the Great Room (what we call our Activity Room) by the never-ending coffee pot and most people get in on the fun sooner or later, from residents to staff to visitors. Since it's on a dry-erase board, we've had folks write in words that they needed but we did not have though the mean ol' Polite Police has had to censor things a bit on occasion.

I bought this pencil box at Wal-Mart today for 57 cents to keep the words in when not in use.

I know that more of my folks are using or are interested in using the computer. Finding out what is available online is amazing. Here are some links for Online Magnetic Poetry.

I noticed as I previewed this post that it is almost exclusively black, white, and gray. Not very exciting and definitely not my style so how about a beautiful picture to liven things up, just for fun?

Photo by Allen Hsu via Flickr

Have you ever done "Photo of the Week?" We'll talk about that some time.

Don't forget to look for the Facebook button in the sidebar on the right. Click on it to get to the new Creativity Greenhouse Facebook page and "Like" the Greenhouse. I will use Facebook mainly to notify of new posts, maybe some other things but it's all a work in progress. It's being nurtured in the Greenhouse and has just begun growing....

Thanks for stopping by today- I appreciate each visitor and would love to hear what you're doing in your facility to foster, celebrate, experiment with creativity.

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