Use a 99-cent thrift store board, inexpensive burlap, ribbon, and a sharpie pen to create this DIY Ballard Designs knock-off monogram burlap message board (or jewelry board). It also makes an easy handmade gift!
Did you know that thrift stores are THE place to go for corkboards/bulletin boards? At least the normal office-supply store kind of cork boards. It’s a rare day that I go and I don’t see at least one.
They’re probably there because they’ve been stained with marker, or the cork has come up in a few places. But other than that, they are pretty sturdy as most are framed in wood or metal.
SO many things can be done with these if you view them as a solid base for a new board – using paint, fabric, and even wood to cover up the flaws and saving you a heap of money (you can see here where I covered the edges of a metal corkboard with wood molding, creating a framed board).
How much can you save? Well, here’s an example:
This 23″ x 17″ board was .99 at a thrift store and sells new from $6.99 to $13 depending on where you buy it (surprisingly, Amazon had the highest price).
Okay, so – that’s not a huge of money, really, but if you can get it for a dollar AND keep something from going into the landfill, wouldn’t it be worth the drive to the thrift store? Besides, you never know when you might find another treasure.
However, I didn’t save only $6.00, because I transformed this into a message board very similar to one featured in a Ballard Designs catalog that sold for $69 – for the same size!
Of course theirs is magnetic and mine is cork (which I actually like better – cork is more versatile) but really, $69? Well, whatever – you know I’m SUPER happy to be able to save sixty-eight dollars, because I had everything else already that I needed to make this Ballard knock off, so the only thing I bought was the cork board.
How To Make a Burlap Message Board
- Thrifted (or new) framed corkboard in size you want.
- Burlap fabric (you can use other types of fabric, too).
- Lining fabric – any soft material or batting will work for this – I used part of a threadbare wool blanket I kept just for projects like this. I used two layers to even everything out so the frame didn’t show through the fabric.
- Ribbon in your color of choice.
- Staple gun and staples.
Drill two holes 4-1/2 to 5-inches apart near the top of the frame in the direction you’l like it to hang (mine is vertical, if you’d like horizontal, drill the holes on a long side).
Use the largest drill bit you have (unless of corse you’ve got some gigantic size I don’t know about…) and don’t be concerned with the bits that come off the back – just pull them off, because no one will see.
To cover the board
- Cut the burlap (or other fabric) about 2-1/2 inches bigger than the board all around.
- Cut the lining fabric about 1-inch larger than the board.
- Lay out your fabric and lining and lay the board face-down on top (#1 photo above). Notch the corners of the lining to lessen the bulk, as shown.
- Start stapling the fabric by bringing it up around the lining and the wood frame of the board in the center of one side. Place about three staples. Move to the other side, pull the fabric tight and staple in the center of that side. Do the other center sides in the same way, pulling tight, before stapling the rest of the way along the sides – pulling tight when needed. Stop about one inch before the corners.
- Trim away some of the excess fabric from a corner (photo #2) before tucking the fabric around all the raw edges and pulling tight.
- Secure corners with staples (photo #3). Repeat with remaining corners until all the edges and corners are stapled, as shown.
Create hanger and monogram
- Cut a 30-inch piece of 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch ribbon. The Ballard board uses black, so that’s what I went with here, but any color will work (see the version below where I used cream).
- Using a large needle with the biggest threading hole you have – I actually used a knitting needle which has a gigantic hole – thread both ends of the ribbon to the front and tie in a knot, leaving 2-inch ends. Notch ends with scissors.
- To create the monogram (optional), print out your desired letter in a font you like (I used Georgia), and cut it out with small scissors. Pin it to the board where you’d like it – centered like the Ballard board, or towards the top like mine – and trace lightly around it with a fine-tipped permanent marker. Remove the pinned letter and fill in the outline with the permanent marker.
Isn’t that easy? Now, if you had to buy fabric and ribbon for this project, it might run you a total of $5, which is still an incredible price. And it only took me about half an hour to complete!
Variation: Burlap Jewelry Holder
When I saw the finished board, I knew right away it would also make a great jewelry organizer, since earrings could slip in the burlap fabric weaving. And what a great way to organize jewelry so the pieces would be easier to find and not be all tangled up like in typical jewelry boxes.
I switched the black ribbon for a cream grosgrain ribbon to work better in the room and added long pearl-topped stick pins to hold necklaces and bracelets. The weave of the burlap makes it easy to add hanging earrings anywhere.
Either as message boards or jewelry boards, these make great gifts! The monogram could be the last name of a family or the first name of the recipient.
I gave one to all the women in my family once I realized how perfect it was for holding my jewelry and everybody loves them!
This is a win-win-win: a bulletin board is kept from the landfill, you save a bucketload of money, and someone gets a board that is selling for $69. LOVE.
This is day 28 in our 31 Days of Thrift Store Transformations series.
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