ArtSkills Poster Products, Science Fair S.O.S., and Science Activism

ArtSkills art supplies can make your activist signs POP! Image credit: Patricia Vollmer

‘Tis the season. It’s the time of year that our children in schools are assembling their science fair projects, book presentations, and final group reports. This month I had the opportunity to check out the resources available through ArtSkills.com expressly for creating presentations that will get the attention of science fair judges, your favorite celebrities, or (in our case) lawmakers who want to cut funding for scientific endeavors.

ArtSkills is a Pennsylvania company that features numerous basic supplies for creating posters and tri-fold presentations. In today’s world of digitized presentations, it’s refreshing to see that classic science fairs still require students to keep their presentations analog: paper posters, colorful, attention-getting letters, and vivid graphics.

However, at the school my sons attend, there is no requirement to present science projects in this way. My sons attend an International Baccalaureate school, so at the end of their 10th-grade years, they will be presenting a comprehensive personal project that would be perfect for these products. In my household, this won’t be happening for two more years. So when ArtSkills asked if I’d like to learn more about their presentation supplies and their “Science S.O.S.” service, I explained that we don’t have a practical need for those products right now.

But then I had a brainstorm: Our family is attending the March for Science in Denver next month. Could we use these resources to make signs?

ArtSkills Poster and Presentation Supplies

ArtSkills was willing to let us try out their products to make some signs for the March.

ArtSkills sent us a complement of supplies to work on our March for Science signs. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer

I was sent one of each of the following products to make some March for Science signs.

To make our signs, our family had to go a little rogue. We took the tri-fold board and cut it into three pieces. Those three pieces along with the detachable header piece meant we could make four easy-to-carry-but-clearly-visible signs for our march. I then turned my sons loose to come up with their slogans and bring their signs to life. Check out the photos to see our step-by-step process using the ArtSkills products.

ArtSkills products are inexpensive, bold, and easy to use. They are perfect when you want your kids to come up with their own ideas and designs. After cutting the tri-fold into flat panels, my sons didn’t need any help from me to make these brilliant signs happen.

I used a box cutter to break down the tri-fold for multiple signs.
I had to teach my son some principles of presentation-making to get the letters properly centered. The ArtSkills poster letters are easily repositionable, taking the stress out of making the letters straight and properly centered. Here is my 12-year-old using the black vinyl letters and the sparkly jumbo letters. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer
We were happy to see that for the jumbo sparkle letters, there were three of each letter and numeral, in bold primary colors. These letters have a light Post-It Note-type adhesive on the back, which helps you easily place the letters for the best layout. When you’re happy, glue them in place. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer
Once you’re happy with the placement of the letters, for the sparkle letters, a little bit of white glue is all you need to tack them down permanently. The company recommends using glue sticks. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer
My youngest son’s finished product. Note the placement of the poster lights. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer
My (more camera shy) older son used the letters that were left to make his own sign. We ran out of “E”s, so there are some creative variations in there. Image credit: Patricia Vollmer

Science Fair S.O.S.: On-Demand Presentation Support

While ArtSkills supplies have been around for 30 years, this year the company launched a new program: Science Fair S.O.S. This is a multi-media resource for those working on science fair presentations to get questions answered about how to really take their presentations to the next level. Users can call 1-844-SOS-FAIR, email experts at sciencefairsos@artskills.com, or view the gallery of tips, tricks, and videos to make your project presentations steal the show.

The website has information that will take you from start to finish, from brainstorming topics to assembling results to (of course) creating effective presentations. There is a gallery of project and presentation ideas based on whatever topics you might be interested in. I had a great time browsing the ideas, which range from physical science to health sciences to even literature. There are also downloadable planning tools, such as a planning calendar, available on the website. Enjoy this video from ArtSkills’ YouTube channel which shows assembly of a 3D volcano presentation in less than a minute.

As I mentioned above with the supplies, the ideas and tips presented through Science Fair S.O.S. are not meant for the parents to take over construction of presentations. These are geared toward younger people’s skills and capabilities, and letting the students take the lead will build their confidence and skills for the future. I have judged my share of science fairs over the years, and frankly, I can tell in two seconds when the student took the lead on putting together the presentation. I appreciate it much more. While it appears really easy to replicate the ideas by using ArtSkills products, in many cases, you can roll in these ideas regardless of how you construct the titles and borders.

I think ArtSkills has found an effective niche in offering support for science fair presentations. The next time your student is stressing over an effective presentation, give Science Fair S.O.S. a try!

GeekMom was provided complimentary samples of ArtSkills products for review purposes.

Patricia Vollmer is the proud mother of two emerging geek sons, ages 12 & 15. She is a meteorologist with the Air Force Reserve and is currently assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Patricia blogs about her family's nomadic military life at Ground Control to Major Mom. Home is always where the Air Force sends her family, which is currently in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Hobbies include running, despite no one chasing her, sharing her love for Disney and Star Wars, and exploring the world with her boys. Ask her why the sky is blue at your own risk.