Do you remember the TV show, The $64,000 Question? I wasn't around just quite yet, but following it's popularity, any imponderable was dubbed a $64K question. There's a $64K question related to Velcro--How do you cut a skillion little pieces for your communication cards without making hamburger of your fingers and gumming up your scissors?
The question fits well in the topic of communication as we think about the materials we use to make symbol communication materials. Families and classrooms that use communication symbols also use Velcro by the mile. We use it to adhere them to symbol boards, to store them on indoor/outdoor carpet, to stick them into books and to the ceiling of the van…and the list goes on. If you are lucky enough to be able to afford half-inch dots by the roll, you are indeed fortunate.
The rest of us who have to economize by purchasing bulk Velcro-by-yard can tell you how much pain can be involved as we poke our fingertips with the sharp plastic covering the adhesive. Never mind how many hours we have frittered away trying to peel all those pieces and remove adhesive from our favorite pair of scissors.
Well, no more! Tender fingers unite! Enter the $64K answer to that pesky question about mastering Velcro. I want to share with you a system for handling Velcro that has saved me countless hours and kept my fingers pain free. It was taught to me by a wonderful speech therapist named Carol. She doesn’t remember who showed her, but I swear that person should be sainted. They have no idea how much time and finger pain they have saved me.
The lamination on your symbol cards will influence how well Velcro will stick. Hot laminate films stick fine (just know that the edges will peel in time unless you allow a 1/8” border of film around each symbol), as will clear Contact paper or clear packing tape. I have never used lamination pockets, so I can’t tell you how well Velcro adheres to their plastic. Velcro does not stick to cold laminate films that are made with silicone, such as Xyron’s films for the wonderful old Brother CoolLaminator. If you have a treasured CoolLaminator as I do, do not fear! Duct tape does stick to the silicone-coated film, so haul out your trusty rotary cutter and mat and slice it into 1” squares. Stick one to the center of a symbol and adhere the Velcro to that and you’re good to go!