Designing by accident, using Post Its, & Teflon

The blog is back to normal this week after a week where it went out late and not in its usual format! I mentioned last week that I am starting to use my Facebook page more so you will see lots of references to this in this week’s blog. It is a much easier forum for me to add quick updates to during the week than the website or blog. It also means that if you ‘like’ the page you can see updates immediately without having to search for them on the website. I will also be launching regular limited offer free resources that you will only be able to access via Facebook. There are 2 offers on at the moment, one on Biomimicry and one on Smart and Modern Textiles but don’t delay visiting the page as they are only on offer until mid May. 

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‘Like’ my Facebook page to make sure you don’t miss out on free resources

Free Resources
Images, ideas & text in free resources are the copyright of Julie Boyd & can’t be shared, sold or reproduced 


Quick activities that include a free photo & thinking point. Find out more at

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A duffin - a cross between a doughnut and a muffin! What products can you combine to create something new?

Click on the image to see a larger version

Regular #ThinkDo activities are posted on Instagram. Use for homework, revision & keeping students thinking about D&T every day. 

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Did you see my Facebook page this week?

See daily ideas, photos, resources & limited offer giveaways on FacebookThis week’s Facebook updates have included: 

2 limited offer giveaway T&L activities on Smart & Modern Textiles & Biomimicry (offer ends 15th & 22nd May), ergonomics, wetsuits, innovative baby products & too many others to mention!


‘Like' my Facebook page to keep up to date with news & offers 

Focus on D&T:  For all D&T teachers

Designing by Accident 

The KS3 curriculum has increased the profile of iterative design. There is also lots of talk in education at the moment of the value of learning through mistakes and failure. With both of these things in mind here are some links to things that were designed by accident when the designer was experimenting with other ideas and didn’t quite end up with what they started out to design! 

Post its - find out about the history of Post Its and accidental discovery of  repositionable adhesive. Ironically 3M were actually trying to develop a strong, tough glue which is quite the opposite of what they ended up with. - William Perkin's discovery of the first synthetic dye whilst trying to create an anti malarial drug - W.K. Kellogg was trying to make granola but ended up with his famous cornflakes instead! - scientists at DuPont were working with refrigerants when they accidentally discovered PTFE, now commonly known as teflon and used for a variety of things from non stick pans, to architecture. - find out more about the accidental designs & inventions listed above along with lots more including crisps, saccharin, Velcro, Play Doh, Slinkies and microwave ovens. 

If you are looking for support with iterative design, and other areas of the KS3 curriculum, these will be covered in the following courses:

KS3 Textiles: Planning and outstanding & Engaging Curriculum  (18 May, Nottingham)

Leading an Outstanding D&T Department  (23 June, Nottingham)

New KS3 Curriculum: Maximising Progression in D&T  (3 July, London)


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Innovative Baby Products by Boon

Boots have a range of innovative baby feeding and bath products by Boon. They are worth a look both in store and on their website 

Download the free Boon #ThinkDo activity on my Facebook page

Course Updates: For All D&T Teachers

Click on the links to find out more or click here to see the full calendar

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Leading an Outstanding D&T Department 
Tues 23rd June, Nottingham 

An Introduction to 3D Software & 3D Printing for Beginners 
Sat 13th June, Nottingham NEW

New KS3 Curriculum: Maximising Progression in D&T
Fri 3 July, London

Why not build attending a course into your Performance Review?Why not request a course in school as part of your department’s ‘gained time’?We offer a wide range of courses on all areas of D&T, teaching & learning, coaching, leadership, & behaviour management. Additional courses can be added to the course calendar at your request at no additional cost. Email for details. 

Focus on T&L & Leadership

Using Post Its in Lessons 

If you use the Post It link above and think about accidental design why not then do some classroom activities using Post Its?

  • There are a variety of shaped Post Its available and The Range have these t.shirt shaped sticky notes for £1 for a set of 3. They are great for a quick designing activity. 
  • Post Its are great for quick starters and plenaries that show progression e.g. 3 keywords from the lesson, something new learnt in the lesson plus a question to ask the teacher, peer assessment feedback to another student. See other teaching and learning ideas on this great blog
  • Can’t afford Post Its? Make your own using repositionable glue such as Elmer’s repositionable glue sticks
  • - a template that allows you to print directly onto sticky notes  

Focus on Textiles: Back to  my roots!

Wacky Product Combinations

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A couple of weeks ago on my Facebook page I included photos of a suit jacket and hoodie combined, as well as a duffin, a product in Tesco that is marketed as a cross between a doughnut and a muffin (and which is the #ThinkDo resource for this week). Both of these products are great for getting students to think about designing and creating new products by combining ones that already exist. Visit my Facebook page to see the photos.

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For other ideas and some weird and wacky garment combinations visit This link includes Quiksilver’s ‘True Wetsuit’ that doubles as a business suit. See my Facebook page for photos and ideas on wetsuits as well as information & videos on the True Wetsuit

Teflon: a Great Accidental Discovery or a Health Hazard?

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Teflon is one of the accidental discoveries mentioned in the first section of the blog. It became famous for its use on non stick pans but in textiles it is also used as a water and stain resistant fabric finish. 

Teflon is a brand name so look out for references to PTFE, particularly in the A level Product Design textiles qualification. There is great debate about health issues related to PTFE & this makes a good discussion point for A level students in particular, especially considering the wide range of fabrics & finishes that use PTFE in some way. Use these links to get the discussion going. - DuPont website with information on how Teflon works, what it is used for etc. - information on eVent, a PTFE membrane used to protect those in extreme wind and rain e.g. the forces and the police (includes a video) - article by The Ecologist on the health concerns linked to PTFE

Take a look at my Facebook for a #ThinkDo activity on PTFE

If you are looking for support with A level Product Design Textiles, including how to structure the course, plus activities and exam technique, take a look at the range of courses I run at (including one in York on 9th June and London on 2nd July).

Course Updates: For All D&T Textiles Teachers

Click on the links below to find out more or click here to see the full course calendar

KS3 Textiles: Planning an Outstanding & Engaging Curriculum
Mon 18 May, Nottingham ONE WEEK TO BOOK

Basic & More Advanced E-Textiles (Including Basic Programming)
Sat 6 June, Nottingham

A Level Product Design Textiles: Developing Key Knowledge and Skills for Units 1 & 3   Tues 9 June, York

STEM in Textiles: Using Maths to Inspire & Develop Your Textiles Curriculum   Mon 29 June, Nottingham

Introduction to A level Textiles 
Thurs 2 July, London

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Advanced Programmable E-textiles: Meeting the Electronics Requirements of the KS3 Curriculum   Mon 6 July, Nottingham

Back to Basics - An Introduction to Textiles Practical Skills for Beginners   Wed 8th July, Nottingham

The Textiles Teacher Event
Sat 3 October, Nottingham

Why not build attending a course into your Performance Review?Why not request a course in school as part of your department’s ‘gained time’?
We offer a wide range of courses on all areas of D&T, teaching & learning, coaching, leadership, & behaviour management. Additional courses can be added to the course calendar at your request at no additional cost. Email for details. 

Don’t forget to ‘like’ my Facebook for lots of ideas & activities in between blogs

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© Boyd Education  2012   text, images & ideas on this website are the copyright of Julie Boyd & may not be copied or reproduced without permission.. All rights Reserved.