I started out with the idea that I wanted a large way to show students how to set their barred percussion instruments for our playing/singing. I needed a quick and easy way to display what their own instrument should look like. It needed to be substantial in size but also hearty since I knew it would probably be used a lot in my room. Here's what I ended up doing.
When figuring out how to label the bars I decided to print out the letters on transparency paper and overlay the letter on the bar itself and tape it down. Transparency sheets are AMAZING! It gives you a way to print and cut and label without the annoying white halos that you get when you print on normal white paper and cut around. If you do it right it looks like you've printed right on to the object that you label. The other cool thing about transparency sheets is that if you work in a slightly older school or district you can sometimes get these sheets for free from your stockroom or if you ask around your building. They're not used nearly as often as they used to be and you can sometimes find a great stockpile that someone has hoarded in their supply closet but will never conceivably use again. Put out a message on Facebook asking for them, talk to people in your building, mention it to folks at your church office. Ask around. It's worth a try.
Finally, I put a dot of velcro above each bar so that I could show kids which two bars were being used for the bordun of each song. Some kids have trouble remembering which bars to play for the bordun and this little touch gives a chance for reinforcement. I velcroed some old unused mallets on top of the bars to use for the bordun and viola, easy reminder. So, if the key is D pentatonic and I'm playing with a C and G in my bordun I can remove the F and B bar and place my mallet visuals above the C and G bars (I hope this makes sense. See above for the example). I've got another mallet in reserve in case I choose to teach a crossover bordun requiring them to play in three different places. No idea how I'd adapt this for a level bordun, but I'll deal with that when I come to it.... See the gallery below for more pictures of the visual.