New Full-color poster printer!

The Graphics Lab has a fantastic NEW piece of equipment! It’s a Variquest Perfecta 2400 Poster Printer that prints using 4 color ink jet technology. You can produce vibrant full-color posters in 3 sizes: Small 13″ x 19″, Medium 18″ x 24, or Large 24″ x 31″. Posters are printed on a heavyweight coated paper – not quite as thick as card stock. The posters laminate well and actually NEED to be laminated to be somewhat waterproof (ink jet inks are water soluble).

Images can be text, linear, solid, photographic, or any combination thereof. Original documents can be paper documents or electronic – a PDF sent via email or brought in on a thumb drive. Once you are satisfied with the first poster, you can set it to print a quantity of up to 99.

The new Poster Printer also includes a software package that is installed on a laptop computer which allows you to create customized, curriculum-based, visual instructional aids that are categorized by curriculum area. You are able to choose a template and change wording, graphics and fonts – then select poster size and send the document directly to the Poster Printer.

Cost of full-color posters is as follows: Small 13″ x 19″ is $2.50, Medium 18″ x 24″ is $3.50 , Large 24″ x 30″ is $4.50.

Technology has passed itself up as far as cost & FULL COLOR posters are actually about the same price to produce as the single color thermal ink posters that the Graphics Lab used to carry. We still have the old poster printer and will continue using it until we run out of the old thermal paper.

Questions? Call Carol at 827-3037

Black Ink Copying

Please pay close attention to whether an item has a copyright & read this:

Black ink copy cost is 4 cents per side for 8-1/2″ x 11″ at the Graphics Lab.

No extra charge for 3 hole punch, stapling is 25 cents for 100 staples.

No labor charge for making copies.

An additional 5 cents per sheet charge for 11″ x 17″ paper.

Hard copies can be dropped off -OR- sent through interschool mail.

PDF files, along with copying instructions, can be sent via email to:

Call Carol at 827-3063 for a quote on larger jobs & get permission from your principal before charging a print job to your school!

Music Teachers in the Lab!

On Tuesday, November 7             the Graphics Lab hosted the Elementary Music Teachers & Lisa Meyer, Music Resource . . . for a FUN, hands-on make & take workshop! 

They copied, cut, colored, glued, laminated, and sang their hearts out – and walked out with armfuls of music manipulatives & teaching props!

photos by Lisa Meyer

Job Pick-Up

As many of you already know, when I run copy jobs or do other work for the schools, I place completed jobs on the Pick Up Cart in the hallway outside the Graphics Lab door & bill the school. That way I don’t have to be here in order for you to pick up your job.

The Graphics Lab is near the corner of Audette St. and Edgewood St. on the opposite side of the ASC building from the parking lot. Outside door #5 on Edgewood St. is the building access point closest to the Lab – the driveway that leads up to door #5 is used as a loading zone, not for parking. This door is locked for security . . . the Graphics Lab window is to the right, so just knock to be let in.

Your best bet to retrieve a large pick up job is to come when Carol is in the Graphics Lab, since I have a cart and can let you in the outside door – before you come for a pick up, call 827-3063!

T-shirt Press

The Graphics Lab has a t-shirt press, but no longer has a color copier with the ability to make t-shirt transfers. However, if you have access to a Cricut machine -OR- an Ink Jet Printer (the district only supports LaserJet), then you can buy t-shirt transfers from Michael’s or Joann’s & print them on an Ink Jet Printer (rollers are low heat and won’t melt the transfers). There are two kinds of transfers: One for white t-shirts – image must be reverse printed (words look backwards) and then when it’s pressed onto t-shirt it looks correct. The other one is for dark t-shirts – image is printed regular (words are readable) and acts like a thin patch on the t-shirt. Bring printed transfers to the Graphics Lab to heat set onto t-shirts (bring your own shirts OR we have a bunch of white t-shirts ranging from $2 – $5 depending on size). No charge for using the heat press and it’s WAY easier than using an iron!

Making posters!

One of the most popular activities in the Graphics Lab is poster making! Posters are great for displaying classroom rules, keeping students on track with a concept, or advertising an upcoming event. There are a couple of different ways to make posters . . . with copy machines -OR- with the Poster Printer. At this time, the Graphics Lab doesn’t have the ability to make a large poster from a same size large poster.

Copy machines can only print on a maximum size of 11″ x 17, which is a mini-poster. Print can be all black ink -or- full color & either paper -or- card stock can be used. Another option is to print two halves of an image to make a 17″ x 22″ full color poster, but with a seam down the middle. Cost for copy machine posters will vary, ranging from 10¢ for all black ink on paper and up to $1.00 for full color on card stock – making it considerably more economical than the Poster Printer.

The Poster Printer takes an original that is 8-1/2″ x 11″ and converts it into a single ink color poster on white paper in the following sizes:

  • Large 23″ x 31″ for $4.50, Medium 20″ x 27″ for $3.60, and Small 17″ x 22″ for $2.70.
  • Single ink color choices are: Black, Blue, Purple, Red, Green, Hunter, or Maroon.
  • Paper is white and thin (like old fax paper) & usually gets laminated.

Any style poster can be laminated for an additional 35¢ – $1.10 each (or at your school for free!). The BONUS for laminating is being able to use dry erase makers on the laminated poster!

The best original is a page filled with the largest, boldest lettering possible & clean, simple graphics – call Carol to discuss the best way to get your information up there! 

Welcome to the Graphics Lab!

On Thursday, February 26, at the 75th Annual Founders Day Celebration, the Dearborn PTA Council presented ME with a Distinguished Service Award!! It was an extraordinary honor to be individually recognized by such a powerful organization, especially when there are so many deserving individuals within the Dearborn Public Schools. President Marty Townsend gave a heartfelt introduction and called me up to the podium to present the award. It was pleasantly overwhelming! Directly afterward, the Educator of the Year Award was presented to a very deserving Youssef Mosallam, Principal of Fordson High School. Youssef gave a wonderful impromptu speech about how he was surrounded with a talented, hard-working staff that makes his job easier.

In retrospect, I could’ve done something other than given big smiles, hugs, and a thank you – but a table mate reassured me that all was fine and that a speech wasn’t necessary. So, I would like to make the receipt of this award an opportunity to say that I have been grateful for every day of my 26+ years spent working in the Graphics Lab. It is a beautiful, sunlit, colorful “maker space” where district staff, students, and parents love to come create and accomplish wonderful projects! The environment that I strive to maintain, is one of welcome & learning – you never need to come to the Graphics Lab needing to know exactly how to do a project, but you should always leave having learned something new and be excited to return again. If you have never been to the Graphics Lab (or it’s been awhile), please stop in for an informal tour or just to say hello – I guarantee that you’ll want to come back soon!

Again, many thanks to the Dearborn PTA Council,
Carol Theisen
LEGO head smile




Measure that Bulletin Board!!

People frequently ask, “What length is a standard bulletin board?”  Guess what?  There IS no standard length!!  But there is a common width:  4 feet.  Which poses a slight problem – Kraft roll paper is usually only 3 feet wide.  A great solution is to work with gravity! For a 6 foot by 4  foot bulletin board, measure out two 4 foot pieces of Kraft roll paper and hang them side-by-side vertically. You will have a vertical seam, but at least you aren’t fighting with a 6 foot horizontal piece of paper!

Sometimes you might not want a vertical seam -OR- to buy two full lengths and “waste” half of the width.  The solution is to create a one-foot addition with a small seam in the center.  If the bulletin board is 7 feet long by 4 feet wide, then horizontally staple roll paper that is 7 feet by 3 feet to the top (or bottom) of the board.  Take a second color 3-1/2 feet long (1/2 of the length of the board) and tear it in half lengthwise using a “hilly” or wobbly tearing technique.  Then staple the straight edge along the reverse edge (the bottom or top of the bulletin board) and overlap the “hilly” edge onto the first piece of paper.   Better yet, use unusual paper or scrap paper (like newspaper, foil, wax paper, an old map, etc.) for an art-y looking bulletin board base with pizzazz!  Now just add lettering and other items onto the base colors – DONE!

The Graphics Lab carries 12 colors of Kraft bulletin board paper:  Black, white, green, light blue, turquoise, yellow, orange, red, purple, pink, dark brown, and brown paper bag!

Teachers often ask . . .

Can I send students to work in the Graphics Lab?  The answer: A resounding YES! 

High School students are welcome with permission from their teacher/coach. Students have made dance tickets, copied school newspapers, Cerlox bound creative writing books, assembled placemats for banquets, and cheerleaders have die cut shapes to make posters and decorate lockers. Middle School & Elementary students are required to have teacher/parent supervision at all times.

A good thing:  The Graphics Lab is a wonderful place for students to learn process and cooperation!

The best thing:  Dearborn Schools staff & parents should be proud – students that come to the Graphics Lab have been industrious, creative, and the majority of them follow each Core Value to the letter!

Teachers should call ahead to make an appointment when sending groups of more than 3 or when sending students who need assistance from the Graphics Specialist! 

Fun recycled materials

A huge advocate of the cliché idiom “Waste not, want not”, all kinds of “waste” items are saved here in the Graphics Lab! The following are available for the taking:

  1. Lots of 12″ x 24″ pieces of the extra 1 foot tail of laminate that comes out before your laminated item. Teachers use these laminate scraps as throwaway glue & paint pile holders, as a backdrop for collage (let dry & peel off), for clear “windows” on projects, etc.
  2. Lots of super sturdy 24″ long tubes – 1″ core from the laminator, 2″ core from the poster printer. Teachers use these to store posters, for science projects, as armature for sculpture & puppetry, for parade banner sign ends, etc.
  3. Boxes and boxes of confetti – rectangles from the Cerlox punch machine, circles from the 3-hole punch on the copy machines. Confetti is not a friend of school custodians, however, when kept contained it has some good uses – such as hiding small items in a large box of confetti to help develop fine motor skills!


Stop by the Graphics Lab anytime to check out and/or pick up these freebie items!