Introduction: Faux Post-it Mural

With only a week till Thanksgiving break, I wanted to task my students with a series of collaborative large-scale murals. I've always wanted to try a post-it mural, but the number of post-its we'd need seemed too large an expense. We did have plenty of construction paper that isn't typically valued in a high school studio, so I opted to have the students cut squares themselves. This proved to be the greatest challenge for many while serving as an opportunity for some math cross-curricular learning.

Check out the attached lesson plan!


graph paper

construction paper

roll of bulletin board/butcher paper

paper cutters/cutting boards (I borrowed from several locations around campus for a few days.)

glue (preferably glue sticks since they dry faster)

ziploc bags

storage location

Step 1: Planning

After watching “Superflat Monogram for Louis Vuitton” and discussing the collaboration between Takashi Murakami and Louis Vuitton, each student was given a half sheet of 1/4" graph paper and tasked with creating a plan for a persuasive artwork using a grid.

Step 2: Math

Because post-its are expensive when you're using them in massive amounts, we cut our own squares. This turned out to be a great opportunity to demonstrate math application in an authentic situation.

Each team picked one of their teammates grid drawings to execute. They then had to figure out how much of each color paper to cut up.

We cut 3"x3" squares out of 9"x12" construction paper so there was no waste (when they cut them correctly).

Equations: This is really pretty basic math, but many of my high school students were definitely challenged by this situation. I didn't give my students these equations, but I'll give them to you.

#of squares from each 9"x12" sheet of paper: (12/3=4) and (9/3=3) means each sheet is 4x3 squares, which=12 squares per sheet

#sheets of paper needed for squares of a specific color: #of squares needed/12=number of sheets needed

Be advised: if your students have never used a cutting board, they need a tutorial on using the cutting board ruler to cut the squares to the correct measurements.

Each team was given a bag to keep their plan and squares in. Any excess squares that were cut were put in the window near the cutting boards so teams that needed them could use them.

Step 3: Assemble

Each team started with a long piece of butcher paper. Again, they had to do some math to figure out how long their paper needed to be to accommodate their mural. The tiles in our classroom are 1' squares, so they used them to measure.


(#of squares along length of plan/grid) x3 = length of artwork in inches

(length of artwork in inches) /12 = length of artwork in feet

Important tips to pass on to students:

If you pair up and have one person add glue to the butcher paper while another lays down squares, it'll go faster.

Another teammate can be in charge of following the plan and directing the team. They can even mark on the butcher paper which colors go where.

DO NOT work from both ends and attempt to meet in the middle. It will be crooked and will have extra space in the middle. in order to work on different ends, you need to do at least one row all the way across/down first.

Step 4: Storage

This project really isn't doable unless you have a large space to store them. They'll be covered in glue, so you can't roll them up until they've had time to dry. Even after they've dried, they'll get all curly and pieces will fall off if the students didn't glue them really well.

We were lucky enough to have an empty classroom down the hall to use for storage. As we progressed through the day, I would begin stacking the murals from earlier in the day to make room for the later classes.

Step 5: Have Fun!

Hang these giant murals in the halls for a big impact!

Made with Math Contest

Runner Up in the
Made with Math Contest