All over Scotland there are hideous fences that mark our boundaries and purport to keep our children safe. They are ugly.

Local authorities do not have a problem with this. I do. However I’m not prepared to hang around waiting for a change in attitude or fencing mentality. I would be waiting a long time.

We need to dress up the ugly fences. They will look better. We will feel better. They can even add to the fun of being outside for children.

There is no petition to sign. But bright ideas are welcome. Suggestions willingly accepted. Photos gratefully received. Together, inch by inch, fence post by fence post, we can and will make a difference! Please join the campaign by adding a comment under any of the photos on the Creative STAR Facebook page. Here’s some of the success stories so far…

I know this is a wall not a fence but the idea is transferable. I like the addition of the beaver stump to make this display more hands on.

This art display has been created from strips of plastic bags. Although it is time consuming to create, it is is easy to maintain thereafter.

This beads and butterflies display is pretty. The children created these inside in their spare time but have used the fence as a display space.

When welly boots have  been outgrown, they can be reused as planters. Pierce the foot, so that water can drain away. Each child can take their welly home to tend to during the holidays.

Bridge of Allan Primary School have this superb entrance to their wildlife garden. Beautiful signs really do enhance an outdoor space.

Over the past six months, Inverallochy has been giving its fences a makeover. It’s been a trial and error process. But the results are amazing and deserve public accolade.

It started in the summer term, by using the fences for a display. This is the simplest way to get started. Every class adopts a portion of the fence and considers it as an additional display area.

One class tried making planters by using recycled milk bottles. This was a learning experience, in that some of the containers were cut too low to hold much soil. Remembering to water them was hard and one Friday night some local youths did relieve themselves in a couple of them. But the class weren’t daunted. Look at their next experiment…

The children invited a local fisherman into the school to show them how to make nets. The children made these really well. The golden fish are laminated gold foil paper. When they catch the wind, the fish sparkle in the sunlight – just like a real school of fish.

Each fish has a Doric word linked to the school grounds and local area. Because it’s a very windy location, the staff and children tried various ways of keep the displays intact as the wind rips through. Duct tape, ring hole strengtheners and use of wire over string are some of the experimenting that has gone on.

This term, the fish are being replaced with other items as they get worn out. The staff discovered lots of weaving stored in a drawer so thought this might add interest.

Another class were studying dream catchers. They made these from wire coat hangers. Beads have been attached. However a little twist has happened. This is a seashore village school, so shells have replaced the feathers at the bottom.

This fencing weaving project is still under construction. The challenge is finding enough plastic bags of the right colours. However the class and teacher deserve a lot of applause for their tenacity in working on this project. The first time they had a go, the bags were not torn into strips so it looked a little lumpy. However, the fence is beginning to look lovely now.

The nursery class have been making a coloured bottle display that you can see in the above photo. I’m not sure what the paint was mixed with to make it stick inside, though.

Back in May, I saw some of the beadwork undertaken by the infant classes. It was incredibly simple and pretty.

The beadwork has been going from strength to strength. The staff and children use wire and a selection of cheap beads.

I think it looks nicer than a jeweller’s shop! Over the months, the staff and children have learnt that it’s really important to spend time attaching the art work, thoroughly so it’s very securely tied on. This reduces the chances of the work being blown off or removed from the fence.

The butterflies and flowers are craft kits that can be bought through the fund-raising catalogue, Yellow Moon. Here’s a closer look:

The class has been studying butterflies and symmetry. Look at the detailed symmetry on these butterflies:

The pre-school children have been decorating unwanted CD ROMs. Weatherproof and glitzy – even in winter.

And here’s a use for old toothbrushes, that I bet you hadn’t thought of…

The textile art continues, with the bead and knitting from one of the older classes. From a distance it looks funky, even in its incomplete stage. But look at the close-up detail. I used to do this “French knitting” on a “Knitting Nancy” as a child and never made much more than a mug mat. This is quite a collective project!

In May 2011, popped by Fraserburgh South Park School. They opened the door to the outdoor area and this was the view…

I can only describe the makeover as a party costume! Isn’t it amazing! Let’s have a closer look…

One of the children’s grandparents made the fishing net and the rope was used to attach it to the fence. Fraserburgh is a fishing port so it’s a lovely community connection.

I like how the ropes were left dangling for the children to play with. They can attach things to the ropes or weave the ropes through the net and fence.

A variety of different materials have been used for weaving. I love the use of netting on the nets!

The weaving of different materials continued on a different theme on the nursery gate and nearby fence. This time, unwanted reflective material were used…

Now imagining walking up to this gate for the first time. What a positive and inviting message it sends about the nursery.

The recycling continues in other ways too. All the children in the whole school have their own planter made from discarded milk bottles. Apparently there was some experimentation with the design and this upside down model seems to be most effective. The bottles have been decorated with tissue paper and pvc glue.

There’s been a recent trend in education catalogues to supply funky mirrors. The reverse can be used for painted on too. See the whiteboards in the final photo.

Look at this beautiful sculpture that was made by a local artist. Whilst it’s not on the wire fence it’s perched beside the wooden shelter fence.

All the entrances into the school now have these bright murals, designed and painted by the children. I’m a big fan of child-painted murals in that if vandalism occurs, it’s much easier for the children to touch up the paintwork. Gloss paint was used on thin board and the murals were attached using a masonry drill bit.

The older children each made a tile from old bottle tops, shells, broken tiles and other bits and pieces. There are displayed at the entrance to the school.

The bits were attached to the acrylic tiles using “no nails glue” which is tough and can withstand weathering outside. Again gloss paint was used for decoration.

Big tractor tyres suddenly seemed to have become fashionable in schools. However, I’ve not seen any others look as beautiful as the ones here. Very good use of the natural tread has been made to create the art work.

As well as each child growing plants in recycled milk bottles, there were lots of laminated bits of artwork. I like the flower nestled between the containers here…

The butterflies have see-through wings which allow the light to shine through…

I’m wondering if anyone has counted the butterflies on the fence. There are hundreds!

Some of the older classes opted for weaving projects. Look at the tessellating patterns…

Old wrapping paper, ribbon and other strips of plastic-based material have been used…

The leaf paving stones were made through hammering the tiles inside a plastic bag. Again gloss paint was used.

The contrasting white paint against the green grass enhances the rather fetching flower display…

This miniature den will soon be covered in sweet peas. Any climbing plants make excellent summer dens for children.

Finally what does this feature remind you of? Blue loch water? Snake-like bumps? Yes! This school now has its very own Loch Ness Monster. The tyres were painted then dug into the ground. The blue loch rectangle has mulching sheet put down to prevent weeds coming through. The stones were painted with blue gloss paint.

A lot of these projects relied on gloss paint. It’s worth asking your local council’s recycling officer if there are paint depots where the paint can be accessed. Local painter and decorators may also be willing to donate their leftover paint.

Congratulations to Fraserburgh South Park and Inverallochy Schools – children, staff and community! Lots of ugly fences covered. Beautiful outdoor art. The world salutes your efforts!

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Debbie September 8, 2013 at 09:31

Some super ideas to brighten up the fences. I love the colourful tractor tyre, what did you use to colour it in?

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Juliet Robertson September 8, 2013 at 09:34

I think it was standard masonry paint. However acrylic paint is also good to use as is gloss paint.

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