Creating Travel Inspired Classroom Décor

Who said that the holiday had to end with the flight home?

30 July, 2022

You know that feeling of when you return from your holiday and reality hits you so hard and fast in the face that your whole trip just feels like a blur? That’s what my mad dash trips to Europe last year felt like. So when I realised that I could indulge myself once again in that whole other world of travel, of course I got excited!

It sounds cheesy but I have literally caught myself dreaming about travel since I got home to NZ. When I decided to create a new product line of classroom decor resources, I realised that my pool of themes could be so much wider than the usual themes of Superheroes, Rainbows, Under the Sea and Jungle. Why not ‘Travel’?

Visit to Burano in 2021

Travel. A world of possibilities. An opportunity to create designs inspired by places around the world, both man-made and natural.

Suddenly my list of themes soon grew exponentially in size until I made myself stop ideating and settled on the theme of the colourful houses of Burano!

Burano Brights colour scheme
Burano Brights colour scheme

Burano is one of the islands north west of Venice. On my whistle-stop trip there, I instantly fell in love with the bright colours and how everything seemed so ‘in place’ despite the seemingly random placement of colours. Using my photos as the starting point, I came up with several colour schemes and started sketching different house designs. The first resource I wanted to make was a bread-and-butter basic: An alphabet display!

Burano Blush colour scheme
Burano Blush colour scheme

Burano Cools colour scheme
Burano Cools colour scheme

Burano Bright Pastels colour scheme
Burano Bright Pastels colour scheme

Burano houses initial sketches

Following this, I completed good copy sketches of my chosen designs, scanned and imported these into Adobe Illustrator. The next step was to convert these into black & white logos and then remove the backgrounds. To fix up any drawing errors, I edited the individual nodes to smooth out any lines that were too wonky (albeit, I very much wanted to maintain the hand drawn look). This was quite a fiddly, time-consuming process and one that I was glad to see the end of!

Burano house sketches

Editing Burano house images on Adobe Illustrator

The next step was definitely the most rewarding one; adding COLOUR! Making use of the colour schemes I’d created earlier, I arranged the houses and went about making a ‘random’ looking colour pattern with my virtual paint bucket. Following this, I added text with letters of the alphabet and © at the minute teaching to each of the images.

Adding colour to the Burano houses on Illustrator

You’d think that was the end of the job but for some reason, that felt like just the beginning. Product preview images always seem to take longer than I expect (although I am getting faster at them) and I also needed to create simplified versions of the designs in case teachers wanted a less ‘busy’, simplified version. I used Google Slides for this part as I’ve found that it is quite easy to use for creating any simple graphics.

Alphabet Display products

Once I was happy with all of that, I saved the main file as a PDF and uploaded this along with the preview images to Teachers Pay Teachers and Tes. Product description written...check! Then my first product was officially LIVE!

Since then, I’ve used some of the same images, along with some newer, more detailed drawings, to create additional Burano, Venice themed resources. Having my own original digital images is quite exciting and something that I’d like to continue to create in the future. I know that a lot of TPT sellers purchase clip art for their resources but for now, I’m keen to save money and stick with my own drawings along with the odd free for commercial use image from great websites like Pixabay.


Here are the products I’ve created so far:

Burano houses colouring in pages

Now comes the tricky part: What to do next? Ideas are great but when you’re as indecisive as me, making a decision is hard! More Venice inspired products, colouring in sheets or one of the other travel destination-inspired themes that I’ve got planned? 🤔

Comment below and let me know what you want to see next!