DIY Bulletin Board Project is an easy way to give a plain bulletin board a custom look! This will be just too pretty to have just one. You’re going to find places to use this idea all over your house. You can use it as an idea board, jewelry holder, in your craft room to hold supplies and patterns, kid’s art display or a rotating photo display. Do one in burlap, camo or plaid for a mancave! The possibilities are endless!
- Bulletin board (one with a wood frame will give your finished board more dimension, but a flat metal frame will work too.)
- Fabric (at least 4-5″ larger than the bulletin board. Also, try to select fabric that will hold up to poking it with thumb tacks.)
- Glue gun
- Fabric scissors (you know, the ones you won’t let your kids or husband touch.)
- Upholstery tacks or thumb tacks (you may wish to look ahead to Step Two and see how many tacks you will need for your bulletin board so you can make sure you have enough on hand to finish your project)
- Cardboard scrap if you need to protect your work surface
- Picture hanger(s) (if your bulletin board doesn’t have them)
- Ruler and/or tape measure
- Hammer, awl or screwdriver
Step One: Calculating your fabric measurement and cutting/ripping
Before you cut into your fabric, you will want to lay it over the top of your board and see how you want to orient it. If your fabric has a one-way design, make sure you cut it out with the design running the correct way for how you want to hang your board.
If your fabric has a very obvious design (like the one in my example, plaid etc.), you will want to lay it over the top of your board and line it up exactly the way you want the finished board to look. Put a couple of pins in the board before flipping it over. After figuring out how much fabric you need to allow to wrap the frame (see above), you can now trim the fabric, leaving enough fabric to wrap around to the back of your frame. If you allow a little extra fabric, no biggie. We will give it a final trim once everything is glued down.
If your fabric doesn’t have a distinct pattern and you are reasonably sure that the fabric is straight on the grain, you can employ the snip and rip method. (Professor Pincushion has very good info on finding the straight grain of your fabric and the snip and rip method.) This is frowned upon by sewing purists, but we aren’t sewing anything here and this method is hella fast and fun! The reason it is taboo in sewing is because when you rip the fabric, the edge gets a little distorted. For this project, we’re just going to be gluing the fabric to the back of the bulletin board, so a little bit of a wavy edge isn’t going to hurt anything.
Step Two: DIY Bulletin Board Project gets tacky
I chose black upholstery tacks for this board because it accented the black design in the fabric. Don’t limit yourself to upholstery tacks, though. OMG, there are a ton of crazy-fun thumb tacks to choose from (Amazon, sometimes you almost make my head explode with your endless choices!) This is where you get to exercise your creative brain. Go nuts!
Before you start putting in your tacks, make sure you have some cardboard under your bulletin board to protect your work surface. The tacks can pop through the back of the board and can mar your table. Also, watch your fingers when you are flipping your board around, because it can scratch and mar you too! (We’ll fix that at the end.)
When you are tacking your fabric down, you will tack opposite edges, making sure your fabric is taut and will lay flat. Starting at number one in the image above, put your first tack in at the center point. Make sure the tack lays flat with the head up next too, but not over the edge of the frame. I usually leave 2″-3″ between tacks. You can space them closer if you like the look of it. I don’t go any further apart than 3″ because then your fabric might sag over time. It’s also a good idea to put one tack in each corner for a neater appearance. If your last tack is less than 1″ away from the corner, skip that last tack and just do your corner tack. Repeat this process on each side of the bulletin board, using the order in the picture above.
Step Three: Get your glue gun warmed up, we’re going to wrap this mofo!
Now that your fabric is secured to the front, you want to flip it over so you can wrap the fabric around the frame and glue it down. Before you start gluing, you might want to remove hangers from the frame. This will make wrapping the frame easier. You can just reattach them when you’re done.
We’re going to start by gluing and trimming the corners. Take the corner point and bring it over the corner of the board. You are going to want a nice even triangle of fabric with the point aligning with the inside corner of the board. Glue that corner down using just a dot of hot glue. Now you want to trim that point even with the inside corner of the frame (see the picture above.) The next step is to snip the fabric that you folded back even with the frame, staying about 1/4″ away from the corner (refer to the picture above.) Next you just want to trim some of the excess fabric from the point you just glued down. Neatness doesn’t mean a whole lot in this step because we will cover it up. This is just so the finished corners don’t get too bulky.
Wrapping your present!
The next step is a little like wrapping a present, but with fabric and hot glue. Take one edge of the corner, tuck in the excess fabric (see photos above), glue down and trim even with frame. (We will trim the whole thing when done, so you just need to snip the corner for now. Repeat this with the other side of that corner. Finish off the other three corners and we’re closing in on the finish line!
Before you glue the rest of the fabric down. Flip your board over and make sure all of the tacks are pushed in firmly. Flip it back over and your ready to finish this project. Now you’re going to glue the fabric down on each side of the frame. To have a nice smooth finish on the front, make sure you pull the fabric taut as you glue it down. Be careful you don’t pull the fabric so tight you loosen up your tacks. To give it a cleaner finish, just trim the excess fabric on the back of the board with your fabric scissors. This is optional, you are the only one who will know…unless it’s a gift. And if they complain, take it back because they’re not worthy of your crafty magic!
Step Four: Finishing touches
You will want to cover up the sharp points of the tacks on the back of the board with a bead of hot glue. This will protect your walls and fingers. It will also keep you from accidentally popping the tacks out when you grab the underside of your board. Attach the hangers. Hangers that nail on, you may need to use an awl and hammer to give your nail a start through the fabric and hot glue. If they attach with screws, you will want to snip a hole in the fabric for the screw. Just driving the screw through the fabric could end up with the fabric getting wrapped around the screw and create a hot mess. Use a manual screwdriver and not a power tool.
Step Five: Show off your badass, beautiful DIY Bulletin Board Project!
This is the best part! Enjoy the fruits of your DIY labor and have fun with your new bulletin board. Arrange your pictures, jewelry, craft patterns, kids art projects! Don’t be surprised if you feel the need to make more boards for your home and gifts. The awesome thing is that this project doesn’t cost much and it’s pretty easy.
I would love your feedback, so comment below. If you make a bulletin board, please post a picture! If you are feeling like a DIY warrior, check out some of my other projects, Mirror Update, Alarm Clock Picture Frame, Suit Vest Upcycle.