Saturday, May 5, 2012

Updating an Old Bulletin Board

While I love second hand items for home decor, it's no secret that often they need updating to fit your aesthetic preferences. A coat of paint, a stencil or two, anything to make it look like you want. I was faced with the task of decorating this old cork board when my older brother gave it to me after cleaning out his room. I can always use a new bulletin board, but in this natural brown color? No thank you! The easy solution would have been to paint it black, but I don't have any paint right now to use, so I had to come up with alternate solutions. I decided to use what materials I already had around: scrapbook paper, magazines, and glue. Here's what I did to update the bulletin board.

First, I had to select a paper that I wanted to use. I wanted a repeating pattern which I could try to make look seamless. As I flipped through a pad of Halloween scrapbook paper, I found this. I know the picture isn't the greatest, but this is a repeating pattern of the word "CAUTION!" and skull-and-crossbones.

This is what it looked like when I had cut and glued the paper into place. Looking nice, right? I smoothed out all the lines where the papers joined, lining up the letters as I went so that the pattern stayed as solid as possible. It looks great, to me. Except, that is, for the frame. That's where the magazines come in.

My house has a lot of catalogs in it. A lot. So, I decided to loot some of the older ones for this project. I used the Pyramid Collection catalog, a Victorian Trading Co. catalog, and a Gaelsong catalog.

Then, it was time to go through the catalog. I kept in mind that my design scheme is mostly black, white, and grey, so I tried not to come up with too many colored pieces. While I didn't want to frame my cork board with all clothes, I found that the motifs and patterns of a lot of the clothing looked awesome cut out on their own. For example, this poncho is a bit silly, but look at those bat hems! I'm sure I could use some of those!

As I thought, these look wonderful when cut away from the rest of that poncho. Protip: Check the back of the page you're cutting before you go to cut out the design. I cut through a lot of nice pictures without noticing it because I'd only looked at the front of the page. Don't repeat my mistake!

Now, clip out more images. And keep clipping. Clip until your hands hurt, then go off and take a shower, and come back and clip some more. Clip more than you need. I thought that this pile would be enough, but boy was I wrong.

Now start gluing them on!

Now, once you've got everything glued down, let it sit to dry. Set it outside, if you like, since it's going to smell pretty strongly of glue. I decided to leave mine to dry overnight because I didn't want to risk tearing the wet paper. Now, the next step is up to you. You can use either a mixture of one part glue to one part water, or you can use modge podge. I decided to use the glue and water. You're going to take your sealant of choice and put it in a little dish. Now load your paintbrush up with the sealant and brush it over just the areas that you covered in magazines.

Now, rinse and repeat. You're going to want to brush sealant over top of your magazines until the finish is smooth. You're trying to eliminate the bumps caused by overlapping pieces. I used three coats of sealant. (I mixed this step with my camera, sorry guys!)

Here's the finished cork board! I think it's a huge improvement from the original, don't you?


  1. How you did the border is also a wonderful way to refashion basic picture frames you find at thrift shops and rummage sales. I actually have a copy paper box full of magazine clippings and scrap book supplies that I've collected over the past few years around Halloween.

    1. Absolutely! I'm going to a thrift store tomorrow and I might pick up something there to use the rest of my magazine clips. :)

  2. I like the border idea quite a lot.

  3. Oh your board is awesome! I've got to do mine now! Xxxx :)