DIY Inspiration Boards

inspiration-boards-1.JPGNext month will mark the second year of living in our not so new, new house, and we are just getting around to hanging things on the wall. Seriously. Part of the delay is attributable to uncertainty (and repeated testing) about where furniture should finally land, and part because some wall hangings required crafting. A couple of weeks ago I finally got around to assembling inspiration boards for my office and my workspace is now approaching a cosmic level of awesome. Read on for the how-to; these boards would be great in other areas of the home as well.

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Context: I have one large wall in my office and wanted a stylish way to display my design projects and other pieces of inspiration. Paige directed me to this great office renovation post from Little Green Notebook; scroll down and you can see how she fashioned her inspiration boards. In general, I ran with this concept with one major tweak to cut out a step. Here's how I put my boards together:

1. Cork boards: Visually, I really like groups of three's and since my wall is so large, I decided to create three big boards. I found 23 x 35 inch cork boards at Target for just over $10 apiece.

2. Fabric: The walls in my office are butter yellow (painted by the previous owners) and I wanted a fabric that was strong but also neutral-toned so as not to clash with the items being hung. I immediately gravitated towards this Del Hi Earth print by Valori Wells at a local fabric shop, but the shop only offered decorator (heavy) weight. I found the regular weight fabric at Quilt Home (a fantastic online fabric shop...they offer lots of great sales through their email list) and ordered two yards -- a half yard of this fabric is just enough for each 23 x 35 inch board. I didn't wash the fabric since it's not being worn and since I didn't want it to shrink. Iron the fabric when you're ready for the application stage, and cut into half yard pieces, but don't trim any edges.

3. Paint: Laurel and I painted the cork board wood trim barn red using acrylic paint. The only problem I ran into was that because the wood trim had a glossy finish, the paint was prone to chipping (if you scratched a fingernail against it, for example). I'm not knowledgeable about paint, but if there is a kind that won't chip against glossy surfaces, or a sealer you can apply on top, go for it. Otherwise, I was fine just touching up the chips once the boards were hung. (Also, if I do this project again, I will probably look for a glossy finish paint for a little extra visual punch.)

4. Fabric application: I wanted to skip the ribbon trim finish step described by Little Green Notebook because I didn't think I needed it with this particular color combo and also because I wanted one less step. Instead, I decided to fit the fabric to the cork boards by ironing the edges. I started with one long side of the cork board; I folded the fabric over to hide the selvage and ironed the edge nice and flat. Then I lined up the fabric and glued that finished edge to the cork board, using Krylon low odor spray glue. I protected the painted wood trim with cereal boxes from the recycling bin as I went and smoothed the fabric, working from the ironed edge to the opposite edge. For each of the three remaining sides, I folded over the fabric edges and ironed the seams right on the cork board to ensure a perfect fit, then glued as with the first side.

6. Hanging: The only hitch we ran into is that the pre-drilled hanging holes assumed that the cork board would hang in landscape orientation. Jon kindly drilled an extra hole (and moved the little metal hardware) so we could hang the boards vertically. He also hung the boards for me. Aren't they pretty? I love, love, love my workspace now!


And now I'm in the process of filling the boards with projects:


Finally, I have one shorter empty wall, and I'm going to use Paige's DIGNITET idea to hang magazine clippings, paper samples, and other things I like.