Sunday, January 26, 2014

Turn Cardboard into "Corkboard" (and Makeover Old Cork Board)

Turn Cardboard into "Corkboard" (and Makeover Old Cork Board)
Today's post is a good example of how a little brainstorming and experimenting can change the direction of a project... hopefully for the better!  (But if not, there's always room to learn and try again!)

Initially I set out to cover an old cork board that my daughter uses to hang her artwork. The cork board is probably 5 years old and has seen its share of holes.  It also isn't thick enough to accommodate most push pins, so you can imagine that since the back is full of holes, the wall behind it was full of scratches.
Makeover Old Cork Board
The cork board was showing some wear and tear.
Makeover Old Cork Board
The back-- cork board carnage!
I wanted to make the cork board thicker so pins couldn't push all the way through.  I cut up an old cardboard box and pieced together a new back for the cork board.  I hot glued the pieces down.  It doesn't have to be a single piece of cardboard, because no one will see this part.  As long as the back is covered, it should work.
Makeover Old Cork Board
I pieced together flaps from an old cardboard box.
I purchased a yard of fabric on clearance (plus I had a 40% off coupon!) so it was cheap.  :-)  Because the fabric was new, it was still stiff and didn't require ironing.  I placed the fabric right side down and placed the cork board face down on the fabric.  I cut about 2 inches of fabric around the cork board and pulled it tightly over the sides. I pinned the middle of each edge down to keep the fabric snug.  If you pin all four sides down, you can turn the cork board over and make sure you like the look of it before gluing.
Makeover Old Cork Board
Allow enough fabric to fold over the edge. 
Makeover Old Cork Board

Makeover Old Cork Board
Pull the fabric tightly and pin the fabric in the middle of each edge to hold it in place.
I used a hot glue gun to glue down the edges of the fabric, making sure to pull the fabric tight.  I used the push pins to hold the fabric securely while the glue dried. I folded the corners much like folding wrapping paper on a present.  I couldn't make the prettiest looking corners, but again, no one will see the back. Once the glue dries (which doesn't take long at all with a hot glue gun), you can remove the pins.

Makeover Old Cork Board
Be careful with hot glue-- it WILL soak through the fabric and burn your fingers! (See my "Things I Learned" list at the end of this post.)
Cat and Hot Glue
My cat has always been obsessed with the smell of glue.  She's a weirdo.
And ta-da! An old cork board gets a whole new look for about two dollars.
Makeover Old Cork Board
I could have stopped here, but I kept on going...
At this point, I realized I still had left over fabric and parts of my cut-up cardboard box left over.  I decided to see if I could use plain old cardboard to make "corkboard."  Three layers of cardboard weren't quite thick enough; a pin could still push all the way through.  But four layers were enough to hold a pin. Push pins don't go quite as easily into cardboard as they do into cork board, but they hold securely once they are pushed in all the way.

Turn Cardboard into "Corkboard"
Lots of leftover cardboard; four layers are enough to hold a pin.
Now, I could have taken the perfectionistic route here and measured my cardboard exactly to get perfectly straight edges and perfectly sized boards. I wasn't in the mood to be perfect, though, so I eyeballed it and cut out four pieces of three sizes of cardboard to make three new "corkboards."
Turn Cardboard into "Corkboard"
I straightened up the edges a bit more, but they weren't perfectly square or straight.
I glued four cardboard pieces together, putting a heavy book on top of them to make sure they dried nice and tight. I then repeated the process for two more "corkboards," and then I covered each of them with fabric.
Turn Cardboard into "Corkboard"
Covering my cardboard "corkboard."
I remembered I had some green and blue fabric leftover from being a green screen and a blue screen back when I was learning to make videos. I dug it out of an old storage tote and found that it matched my fabric pattern quite nicely.  Because it was wrinkly from being stored, I ironed it before gluing it to the cardboard.

At this point I had run out of hot glue, so I used Elmer's.  It worked just fine, but since it takes longer to dry, I had to keep the push pins in longer to hold the fabric while it dried. I also used a stapler to secure the fabric in place, especially on the corners.

Turn Cardboard into "Corkboard"
A stapler also works to secure fabric.
Finally, I decided to add some ribbon around the cork boards, so that if my daughter didn't want to poke holes in her artwork, she could still display it in her room.
Turn Cardboard into "Corkboard"
I secured the ribbon with a stapler.
Turn Cardboard into "Corkboard" (and Makeover Old Cork Board)
Arranging the corkboards on the floor before hanging them on the wall.  I added a bow to one to dress it up a little.
I attached the new "corkboards" to her wall using 3M Command strips. Those things work wonders for those of us with plaster walls! The finished product:
Turn Cardboard into "Corkboard" (and Makeover Old Cork Board)
Ready for some artwork!  
Is it perfect?  By no means.  Do I mind?  Not really.  They are functional and will soon be covered in wonderful pictures, drawings, and paintings.

Things I learned from this project:
  • Use a warm glue gun instead of a hot glue gun if you can.  I don't know how I manage to do it, but I burn myself EVERY TIME I use my hot glue gun.  The glue will soak through the fabric on this project and will easily stick to your fingers when pushing the fabric down. I vowed I would get a warm glue gun after I used up the last of my hot glue sticks, and since I used the last of them on this project, I finally can.  My fingers are thanking me already.
  • Elmer's glue or craft glue works just as well but will require being pinned down to hold the fabric tight as it dries.  I used Elmer's glue for the last three boards, and the fabric starts to slide back if not firmly pinned down.  Or, you can use a stapler to secure the fabric.
  • Iron your fabric first if it is wrinkly. It will make your board look smoother and will allow you to pull the fabric tightly around the edges.
  • Wrap a ribbon tightly around the board and secure to the back if you want to be able to display pictures without pins.
  • If you want to ensure straight edges, cut with an X-acto knife or utility knife and a straight edge.  This will give you a smoother, straighter edge than using scissors.  I used scissors, and I eyeballed my straight line. The final product isn't as crisp and sharp as it could have been had I taken the time to measure and cut my cardboard.
  • The adage is true-- measure twice and cut once, especially if you are going for straight, clean edges.  Or you can try my "eyeball it" method-- just depends on how much time and effort you want to spend on this project.
  • Keep the cat away from the glue.  Because if the cat is obsessed with the glue, and the dog is obsessed with the cat, it can make for a very hairy project.
Cat and Dog Sniffing Glue
My furry, glue-sniffing helpers.
Off to nurse my burned fingers!
~Mulligan Mama

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