Choosing the Best Flip Chart Paper for the Classroom
There are a variety of flip chart paper pads on the market. The key is getting the one that is right for you and your desired purpose.
The average flip chart paper size is approximately 27 X 34 inches (appx .68meters), which fits correctly on most standard easels. Each has pros and cons depending on your intended use. Generally spending a bit of extra money in order to get a heavier quality paper type is worth it since some of the less expensive types are akin to the porous writing tablets often used by children in elementary school.
Such paper is more difficult to work with and often extremely difficult to tear from a pad. Additionally, it may allow ink to “bleed through” onto subsequent pages when marker ink seeps through the paper and damages or leaves marks on the next sheet. This wastes money since you can end up throwing away half of your pad due to damage.
Choosing the Best Flip Chart Paper for the Classroom by The Creative Trainer – Robert W. Lucas, Awarding Winning Author
You can either purchase plain white or lined paper in yellow or white. There is even one type with light blue grid lines. All three types work well but the lined and grid paper works best for those of us who have difficulty writing in a straight line and those needing to make technical presentations using graphs.
Many years ago, I needed to create a running series of images for a program I was conducting over a period of months. Initially, I tried taping pages together, side-by-side. After I put them up and took them down several times, I realized this was not the best idea. They kept falling apart, the glue on the tape failed, and after a while, I had to recreate them (approximately 8-9 pages). That’s when I hit upon an idea when I was at my local meat market. I noticed the butcher tearing white paper from a large roll — AHA! I saw an alternative to pad paper and the rest, as they say, is history! It worked beautifully.
So, if you want to use long sheets of paper to line a wall for a special activity or presentation, you may want to consider going to a grocery supply store to purchase a roll of plain white butcher paper (not the waxed kind). You can also cut the paper to any length desired so that you can create individual sheets for participants to write or draw on for activities. This is a less expensive but more labor-intensive way to get the standard-sized paper. Even so, it saves precious budget dollars. You can even create makeshift pads for your easel. Do this by cutting sheets at the standard pad size (27 by 30 inches, or appx .6-.7 meters), punch holes at the top edges, and attach them together with a clip, staple, or any other device you can think of.
Another update to the standard newsprint flip chart paper appeared on the market a number of years ago. This new format has a self-adhesive edge along the top of each page pad (similar to the Post It Notes with which you are probably familiar) and is sized comparably to standard flip charts. These easy to use pads simplify wall posting since you just tear a sheet from the pad and can affix it to most wall surfaces without tape, and with no damage to walls. The pages can be also removed easily and relocated.
There is a downside to these pads if you plan to create your pages in advance. Since they are literally stuck to one another, they must be separated and there is often a sticky residue along the top edge which makes writing on them a slight challenge sometimes. Also, once you have created your charts, if you desire to reuse them in subsequent sessions, they are difficult to roll evenly or to store.
If you would like creative ideas and techniques for buying the right flip chart materials and using them to create impactful flip charts for your learning events and meetings, get a copy of The Big Book of Flip Charts: A Comprehensive Guide for Presenters, Trainers, and Team Facilitators.