Transforming a cork board from boring brown to fabulous takes only minutes and a few materials. I’ll show you how to make a fabric covered cork board that will add colour and personality to your space.
Rethinking Working From Home
When the pandemic hit, I found myself suddenly working from home. I have a laptop computer that I was using regularly on my lap on the couch at home. But I suddenly realized that made for poor ergonomics when using it all day for work. My back and neck were very unhappy with me.
So we brought up a little desk that we had downstairs. I’d been telling my husband for a while that we ought to get rid of it because we didn’t really have a place for it and no one was using it. But he always resisted and I’m glad he did because it came in handy to set up a little office.
We ended up moving the little desk upstairs to the corner of my craft room. Last summer, I decided to learn to oil paint, and this desk also made a great spot to put my little easel. I’d often tape an inspiration photo to the wall with painters tape, and I realized that a bulletin board would be useful there.
Later on, I decided to start my own blog and business, and I began spending a lot of time again at my little desk. I was learning so many skills and writing down so many notes that I didn’t want to forget, creating charts and checklists for myself. I had sticky notes all over the wall to the right of my desk. It was time to get myself a cork board and get organized!
Cork Board Makeover Needed
I have a very narrow space to the right of my wall-mounted monitor. So I didn’t have room for a 24×36″ bulletin board, nor did I want to spend a fortune. I’ve never loved how boring and brown cork boards look, but I figured I could make it more interesting by covering it with fabric. I felt it would be easier to do that with a frameless cork board.
The cork board I chose to fit my space is the Svensas Memo Board with Pins, in dark brown from Ikea. It’s 13 3/4″ x 23 1/2″, and $11.99 in Canada. It has a handy cleat that screws to the wall that the board sits on, and it was easy to install. But the dark brown colour is not the vibe I’m going for at all. Time for a makeover!
If you’re interested in other DIY projects, check out my bifold door makeover. Or perhaps you’d enjoy DIY curtain tiebacks, another quick way to add personality with fabric.
Read on to get started on this bulletin board makeover.
How to Make a Fabric Covered Cork Board
Materials to Make a Fabric Covered Cork Board
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A fabric covered bulletin board requires just a few simple materials:
- Cork Board – preferably frameless or one where you can remove the frame
- A piece of fabric large enough to wrap around the back edges of your cork board. I used quilting cotton. Woven fabrics such as cottons, linens, canvas, or lighter upholstery fabrics will work well
- Staple gun and staples – consider the length of the staples to the depth of your cork board
- Optional: Adhesive bumper dots to prevent the staples from ruining your paint.
Steps to Make a Fabric Covered Cork Board
Step 1 – Trim your fabric to fit the cork board
I chose a quilting cotton to cover my cork board with. It’s an aqua/turquoise colour with a white wood grain pattern on it. I debated using a white linen, but then decided I wanted a pop of colour. But my felt hoop art hangs on the side wall, and there are a lot of colours and patterns in the my craft room, so I didn’t want to choose a pattern that was too colourful. I also made sure the scale of the pattern was small enough so that it would look alright if most of it was covered by pinned items. It would also serve as a background behind my pinned items, rather than a focal point.
Spread out your piece of fabric on the floor or a table. Place your bulletin board on top, thinking about the direction of the fabric if it has stripes or a definite top and bottom to a print and whether you want your cork board vertical or horizontal.
Using scissors, trim the fabric so that there is enough excess on all four sides to wrap around the back edges and be stapled.
Step 2 – Iron your fabric
Remove your fabric piece and give it a really good press to get out any wrinkles. Then spread it back down on your flat work surface, smoothing it out. Lay your bulletin board back on top. I made sure that it looked like the wood grain of my pattern was going to be straight and not on an angle on the cork board.
Step 3 – Start stapling in the centres of each side
Note: My staple gun had a package of staples in various lengths. Even though my cork board is an inch thick, I chose the shortest staples. If your cork board is thinner than mine, or you have long staples, you might want to do a test staple to make sure they aren’t all going to poke out the front. Also, don’t staple your fingers!
There is an order to the way you will staple around the sides of the cork board to help keep it smooth and taut. You will begin with the centres of each side, then work outwards to the corners, saving the corners for last. See the diagram below.
To begin, wrap the excess fabric over to the back side, pulling snugly. Using your staple gun, staple in place. Be careful not to staple your fingers!
Next, move across from the first staple to the centre of the second long side. Pull the fabric taut and staple it in place.
Then move to the centre of a short side. Pull the fabric snugly over the edge and staple once in the centre.
Finally, staple in the centre of the remaining short side, pulling the fabric taut.
Step 4 – Staple outwards from the centres toward the corners
Remember that we are saving the corners for last. So we want to staple outward from each centre, towards the corners, but not IN the corners yet. I stapled every inch or so. Start with the long sides, then do the short sides.
Step 5 – Finish the corners
The corners seem intimidating, but they’re really not that tricky. Read through my directions and do a little test folding before you put any staples in.
When you begin you will have a flap of fabric like this.
Trim a little off across the corner with scissors. Don’t cut too much though. You’ll want to still be able to fold the fabric down and staple it.
Take the corner of the fabric and fold it down, putting one staple in the centre of the corner. This will create two flaps of fabric, one on either side.
Take the right flap of fabric and fold it as best as you can so that the fold is parallel with the corner of the frame.
Pull it down tight and put a staple in it.
Then take the left flap of fabric and again fold it so that the fold is parallel with the corner of the frame.
Pull it down tight and put a staple or two in it.
Repeat this process with the other three corners.
Step 6 – Optional: Add adhesive bumper dots, then hang your work of art!
Because my craft room walls are newly painted, I want to make sure that the staples weren’t going scratch the wall if I bumped the cork board. So I found some adhesive bumper dots (the things to you can put on cupboard doors to dampen the sound) and put one in each corner.
Then I hung up my finished bulletin board. What an improvement!
I have more items to add to it, but I hung up a few inspiring things. I’ve added my brand colours, which are codes that I have to enter on a regular basis. I also have one of my latest oil paintings, which was a study of a painting by another artist. Another favourite is a vintage postcard from Paris of Les Bouquinistes, sellers of art and other items along the Seine. I love that you can see Notre Dame through the fog in the background. And of course, my new and improved cork board wouldn’t be complete without a photo of Oliver.
Make a fabric covered cork board – a quick and easy project!
I hope you feel capable of tackling a project like this because it’s so simple. And best of all, you can choose the fabric. The colour and pattern (or solid) that you choose will bring so much of your own personality to your space. And best of all, if you get bored of it, you can recover it again with something different.
If you make a fabric covered cork board using this tutorial, share it on social media with the hashtag #mixmeasuremakefabriccorkboard and don’t forget to tag me @mixmeasuremake so I can see your beautiful work.
All the best,
Using a stapler and affordable Ikea, you are speaking my language! What a cool project, I need this to organize my work notes! Thank you Danielle, it looks beautiful and I feel like I could do it!
Thank you again Emma. You could totally do it! It’s so easy and so quick!
My favourite part was the graphic showing the staple order to make it work! Great idea!
Thanks Emily! I’m glad you found the graphic helpful!
Thanks so much for such a fun and simple DIY project! This is so useful for teachers who like to change up the look of bulletin boards according to seasons, school years, etc. Love this idea!
Thanks Alicia – That’s a great idea too! I didn’t even think of that.
What a fun and easy project. I appreciate the step by step photos because it can be challenging trying to figure out how to get the corners looking neat and tidy. Super cute for a home office.
Thanks Julie! I agree – the corners are the hardest part – but they don’t have to be!
Your photos were so clear and helpful on this. And thanks for including the order of stapling graphic! I’ve often ended up with bumpy fabric in the past when I’ve done something similar to this, so having something like that really helps. 🙂
Thanks for that feedback Betsy! I’ve tried to make it as clear as possible, and I’m glad you think it will help.