If you've purchased my best-selling Brain Breaks for the Classroom (or any of its holiday variations), you'll know that before you can use them, there is some assembly required. Good news? Once assembled, they last for years and years. Bad news? If you don't have the right tools, assembly can be the worst part of your day.... which is no way to spend your time!!
I wanted to share some simple ways to make Brain Breaks assembly as quick and painless as possible!
- Brain Breaks from my TpT Store
- 2" punch for the Brain Breaks and descriptions
- 2 1/2" punch for the background disc (or the Studio file HERE for your Silhouette cutter)
- glue gun
- popsicle sticks
- a good movie to watch during the lamination cutting phase
- Brain Breaks bucket
I found my punches at Michaels and they are wonderful. High-quality and small enough that they don't take up too much room. They are currently on sale for 40% off, but they often run coupons in their app and in Sunday papers for 40% off an item, so keep your eyes peeled for those.
Quick Note: I noticed that my Brain Breaks were a good fit, but not a *perfect* fit. Turns out they were 0.02" off..... so if you downloaded them prior to this morning (7/24/14), you can redownload the perfect fit if you're crazy particular like me. The old fit still works, so if you can't/don't want to reprint, you don't have to and it will be fine :)
When you print the Brain Breaks, be sure you are choosing "Actual Size" on your print options (highlighted above). Sometimes my printer defaults to "Fit" or other options, but that will skew the measurements, which you don't want.
After they print, get to punching! You can use a paper cutter or scissors to cut out the strips of Brain Breaks. I then will flip the punch over to make sure I don't chop off any part of the disc. Punch out the circles one at a time so it doesn't jam and so you can ensure each one is cut correctly.
It takes some time, but *WOW* is it easier than trying to cut around each circle! Do the same for the descriptions and at the end you will have a nice stack of all of your discs and a hand that isn't cramped :)
Now it's time to cut the construction paper disc that will fit in between the title disc and description disc to make it more sturdy. You can choose to skip this part, but I like the look of it. Plus, I will choose different colors for different sets. Some of you have done different colors for different types of breaks (energizing, calming, partner, etc.), and I like to do different colors for the different holiday versions so I can quickly add and remove them from the bucket throughout the year.
The punch I like from Michaels only comes in 2 1/2", which is a 1/4" border around the disc. I like a smaller border, personally, and I also like to work less, so I used my Silhouette Cameo to help with this one! I made 2 1/4" circles and while I was punching, it was cutting out construction paper. Here's a photo comparing the two sizes:
If you have a Silhouette and would like the Studio file, download it from Google Docs HERE. If you have another cutting machine, just create a whole bunch of 2 1/4" circles and watch it do the work!
Now it's time to laminate. I always use a bit of double-sided tape to connect the title disc to the construction paper. The description I laminate on its own. I bought a Scotch thermal laminator from Walmart several years back and it's awesome! Sheets can be expensive, but Sam's has great deals and occasionally Amazon will, too.
Quick Tip: If you use sheets like I do, spread out the construction paper discs so they aren't too close. Otherwise, the lamination might not "stick" as well.
This is the only time you'll need scissors, and it's pretty easy (and if you're like me and *love* cutting lamination, it could also be fun!). Get comfy and put on your favorite show while you start cutting these circles out. Good news? Because it's lamination it goes fast and you don't have to be perfect since it's clear. Bad news? There are still a lot of them...
After they are all cut out, fire up your glue gun and get your popsicle sticks ready. Some of you use different color and/or different sizes of popsicle sticks to indicate the type of Brain Break, which is genius!!
I always glue the title circle down first. Then, I'll put a *lot* of glue on the back of the description because I want it to stick all year long. So far, my original set is still going strong three years later! Squeeze tightly together, then set it into your Brain Breaks bucket and keep gluing.
At the end, you will have an absolutely beautiful collection of perfectly-cut Brain Breaks for you and your students to enjoy for many years to come!
I hope this was helpful in getting your Brain Breaks set up for the upcoming school year! Remember to redownload them if you have previously purchased them to get the most precise 2" size.
To see all of my Brain Breaks, click HERE to head to my TpT Store.