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Science Fair Project Display Boards

Key Info

  • For almost every science fair project, you need to prepare a display board to communicate your work to others. In most cases you will use a standard, three-panel display board that unfolds to be 36" tall by 48" wide. Display boards can be found at Amazon and other retailers. See the Science Fair Project Shopping List for more details.

    Display Board Layout

  • Organize your information like a newspaper so that your audience can quickly follow the thread of your experiment by reading from top to bottom, then left to right. Include each step of your science fair project: Abstract, question, hypothesis, variables, background research, and so on.

    Display Board

  • Use a font size of at least 16 points for the text on your display board, so that it is easy to read from a few feet away. It's OK to use slightly smaller fonts for captions on picture and tables. For more details see: Everything You Need to Know About Fonts for Display Boards
  • The title should be big and easily read from across the room. Choose one that accurately describes your work, but also grabs peoples' attention.

  • A picture speaks a thousand words! Use photos or draw diagrams to present non-numerical data, to propose models that explain your results, or just to show your experimental setup. But, don't put text on top of photographs or images. It can be very difficult to read.

    Photo: Text over turkey

    This sample shows how difficult it can be to read text
    when you print it on top of an image. Don't do it!


  • Check the rules for your science fair. Here is a list of items that some science fairs allow (or even require) and some science fairs don't require (or even prohibit):

    • Your name on the display board
    • Pictures of yourself
    • Captions that include the source for every picture or image
    • Acknowledgements of people who helped you
    • Your laboratory notebook (some science fairs want you to have it only during judging)
    • Equipment such as your laboratory apparatus or your invention

Materials and Construction Techniques

For a detailed list of items useful for making science fair project display boards, consult the Science Fair Project Shopping List. For creating a basic project display board that is good for most fairs start with these items and steps:

  • Use a self-standing display board like . Display boards in black or white-colored "foam core" (a sandwich made up of two pieces of smooth surface paper with a polystyrene (plastic) middle) or corrugated cardboard are readily available at many retailers including (Wal-Mart, Michaels, Joann Fabrics) ranging between $4 to $14 per board depending on the material.
  • Print out or write your information on white paper that you will attach to your display board. Be sure to proofread each sheet before you attach it.
    • Instead of regular paper, use cover stock (67#) or card stock (110#). These heavier papers will wrinkle less when you attach it to your display board.
    • Matte paper is preferable to glossy because it won't show as much glare- glare makes your display board difficult to read.
  • Glue sticks (use plenty) or rubber cement work well for attaching sheets of paper to your display board. Use double-sided tape for items like photographs that may not stick to glue.
    Elmers E140 E145 E151 E143
    Use glue sticks or spray adhesive for attaching paper to your board. Foam mounting tape is good for attaching photographs.

  • Add simple visual accents to your board. Do not make the board too busy or it becomes difficult to read. Try these simple techniques instead:
    • Use color construction paper to add accents to your display board. A common technique is to put sheets of construction paper behind the white paper containing your text.

    Photo: Rainbow coordinated background
    Color construction paper can accent your board.

    • Use borders to draw the audience's attention.
      Elmers E3056
      Borders are a simple way to draw attention to your board.

Samples

Not sure what your project display board should look like? This Science Fair Display Board Gallery, brought to you by Elmer's®, is full of good examples to get you started.

Once you have browsed the gallery, take a look at the Science Fair Project Shopping List for details on supplies that will help your science project display board stand out. Download an Elmer's Rebate to save money on display board supplies!

Additional Resources

Science Fair Project Display Board Checklist

What Makes for a Good Science Fair Project Display Board? For a Good Science Fair Project Display Board, You Should Answer "Yes" to Every Question
Does your display board include:
  • Title
  • Abstract
  • Question
  • Variables and hypothesis
  • Background research
  • Materials list
  • Experimental procedure
  • Data analysis and discussion including data chart(s) & graph(s)
  • Conclusions (including ideas for future research)
  • Acknowledgments
  • Bibliography
Yes / No
Are the sections on your display board organized like a newspaper so that they are easy to follow? Yes / No
Is the text font large enough to be read easily (at least 16 points)? Yes / No
Does the title catch people's attention, and is the title font large enough to be read from across the room? Yes / No
Did you use pictures and diagrams to effectively convey information about your science fair project? Yes / No
Have you constructed your display board as neatly as possible? Yes / No
Did you proofread your display board? Yes / No
Did you follow all of the rules pertaining to display boards for your particular science fair? Yes / No