For a writer, I am a very visual person. I like to have my pictures and post-its and reminders out where I can see them. For years, I just taped them to the wall, but it was an ugly arrangement that ended up costing me a lot of space in office/library.
I needed a push-pin board. A big one. But have you seen how expensive those suckers are? Especially the cute ones. We’re talking $70 for a board less than half the size I wanted. No way was I shelling out that kind of money.
So I came up with a plan to create the board of my dreams for $30 or less. I got to choose my size, my colors, and have the satisfaction of a job well done. A win all around.
- Styrofoam board. I chose this because a 4′ x 8′ x 3/4″ board is $15 at Lowes. The problem with choosing a styrofoam board is that you can’t place a pin in the same place twice because the material does not spring back into shape. With cork board, you can pin in the same place with no problem, but it’s much pricier in larger quantities.
- Accent fabric. It needs to be one foot longer than the length of your board (ex. my board was 6′ long so I needed 7′ of fabric). I picked this fabric because it gave me a lot of different accent colors to work with as I redid the office. It’s also very stimulating, so it’ll give me a boost of energy as I work.
- Border fabric. Again this needs to be one foot than the length of your board
- Staple gun and staples. I borrowed my dad’s. If you have a choice, do not get a manual. I am so sore! Go with the electric option. If you don’t have access to a staple gun, don’t despair. I’ll show you a cheat!
- Thumb tacks. Choose a tack with a flat head in a coordinating color.
- Knife (optional) for cutting the board to the appropriate size.
So here’s where I will teach a lesson in what NOT to do. I had no idea how to cut through a 3/4″ thick styrofoam board. And I’m not a girl who just has industrial-strength crafting supplies lying around. Nope. What I had was a kitchen knife.
Now, if all you’ve got is a kitchen knife, I’ve proven it can be done. It’s just going to take time. Though I can help it take a little less than it took me. I made a deep score along the line I wanted to cut though, then I flipped the board on it’s side and started cutting downward with a see-saw motion.
For you super awesome people who have access to super awesome equipment, I learned after I spent 45 minutes poking at the board and trying to figure out how to cut it with out cutting myself or the floor that there are tools to make this process much easier. A utility knife will give you a lot more leverage and make the cutting go a lot faster. A hot knife will apparently cut through the board like butter. I have to admit, I wanted to cry a little bit when I found out that such a magic tool existed. But whatever 😉
After cutting it to the right length, I flipped the board over. I folded an inch or more of the fabric under so it would create a fringeless boarder and create a little reinforcement. I placed the crease 2″ from the bottom of the board and placed staples (parallel to the bottom) every 4-6″.
I flipped the board over and pulled the fabric taught across the front.
I scored the board an inch and a half from the edge on either side to make sure that I kept the fabric even all the way to the top. Then I stapled the fabric every six inches–I also scored these beforehand to make it easier as I was going. If you’re working with a fabric that forms lines, like mine, try to make the lines hit the evenly at each 6″ mark.
When you’ve gone up both sides, flip the board over, fold excess fabric under (trim if necessary), and staple securely.
For the border I started front-side first.
I can be a bit OCD about things lining up and being even. I knew if I tried to staple the fabric on the wrong side and flip it over, it would never line up evenly. So I cheated. I used gold thumb tacks to create a rivet-like finish. If you don’t have access to access to a staple gun, you can use this cheat instead of staples. You won’t have quite the same firm hold, but it will do in a pinch!
I set the fabric four inches in from the edge and I lined my pins up with the lines on my fabric (about 4″ apart).
To finish, I flipped the board, trimmed the fabric, folded an inch or more of fabric under, and stapled along the edge. When I reached the corner, I folded it like a Christmas present and set extra staples in to ensure a firm hold through the many layers of fabric.
And voila! You have a fabulous DIY push-pin board.
This board can be used for classrooms, offices, kitchen chore charts–the possibilities are endless! For me, this giant board is an great centerpiece for my now awesome library! And it’s ready to be run through with ideas for my next novel.
What would you use a board like this for? How have you made better use of your space? What ways do you brighten your space?
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