Teacher known as “Post-it Picasso” creates eye-popping display in Letcher County

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LETCHER COUNTY, Ky. (WTVQ) – A library in Whitesburg is once again getting a lot of attention and it’s all because of a Letcher County teacher.

Tyler Watts is behind an eye-popping Christmas display gracing the windows of the Harry M. Caudill Memorial Library.

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But it’s not just the artwork that’s impressive, it’s also what he uses to create it – Post-it Notes – a lot of them.

Watts’ talent with the those sticky notes has earned him the nickname the “Post-it Picasso.”

Watts says he was using Post-it Notes to teach his first-grade students at Letcher Elementary School about line symmetric shapes when the idea to use the sticky notes in a more artistic way began to take shape too.

For the past four years, Watts large-scale displays have gone up around the state at businesses, schools and even at the state capitol.

His displays at the Harry M. Caudill Memorial Library have become something of a town tradition. He has created Fourth of July, Halloween and Christmas-themed works.

Watts says one of his favorite childhood memories is the inspiration behind this year’s Christmas display featuring the Muppets.

“When me and my sister, Melanie, were growing up, she and I would laugh so hard at the Muppets and I don’t know why, something about mascots and Muppets,” Watts says. “We still to this day laugh so hard at it.”

Watts says the Muppet project took two weeks to complete and 10,000 Post-it Notes and, like many of the displays he has done, his students were also involved in creating this one.

Watts, who now teaches 4th grade, says his students run the math behind the project, determining how many Post-its he will need to cover the area.

“Just to give them a little bit of ownership,” says Watts. “I get their opinions on it. They help me rule things out on the design a whole lot – they don’t care one bit to do that,” he says laughing. “But I have the kindest students in the world, they’re sweethearts. They’re good kids.”

Watts doesn’t have to pay for all the Post-its he uses for his displays. The 3M plant in Cynthiana, which makes Post-it Notes, sponsors Watts and sends him what he needs for his projects. Watts says he uses the “supersticky” Post-its so the displays stay up.

When it’s time for the displays to come down, he uses a leaf blower to remove the Post-its.