Project Mastery – Marking a Grid on a Poster Board or Tri-Fold

Project Mastery – Marking a Grid on a Poster Board or Tri-Fold

It’s that time of year. Science fair time. Time to bring on the rolls of duct tape, stacks of colored paper, wires, motors, odd sticks, and pieces of foam.

But somehow, a clean, organized display board must rise from this mess of inventive thinking.


Poster boards and tri-folds with a faint layout grid are a great help. This helps the student—especially those in the elementary years—line up his or her images and text. But many poster boards and tri-folds do not have the grid – especially if they have a colored background.

So, I have started a method of “grid-i-fying” a poster board. It’s pretty straightforward, but I love to share:

1. Mark off the board. I use 6″ increments on a 36″ side, which breaks it down nicely. This way a student can eyeball where to place a piece, and have some guidance for placing it straight.

I don’t go overboard (no pun) by making 1 or 2″ squares like the pre-printed grid boards you can buy. I feel that many pencil markings may detract from the final work, or look a bit busy. But some projects might call for a smaller grid.

2. Mark opposite side with same increments.
3. Use t-square to gently pencil line across. If you do not have a t-square, you can use a book to make a right angle.
t-square option


book as right angle
4. Finally, mark vertically through each panel. I create a centered midline, so all photos and printouts can be centered.


Now, the poster board or tri-fold is ready to go!

Happy projects, everyone.