November 13, 2011

Burlap Message Board

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     When we decided we wanted to put together a series of burlap tutorials for our customers,  we spent several weeks researching, creating new ideas, and revamping or tweaking existing ideas in order to present a nice of assortment of projects that we felt all our customers would enjoy tackling.  One of the items we came across was a great Burlap Message/Photo Board in one of our favorite mail-order catalogs, Ballard Design (pic below). 


While we absolutely love their board, we don’t love the price ($89.00).  So, we decided to create our own.  We are quite pleased with our finished project and think you just might like it too!

So, lets get started.

Materials Needed:
- Wood Framed Cork Board
- Burlap (1 yd for the board that we did, 1.25 yds if doing the applique)
- Upholstery Nail Heads
- Staple Gun & Scissors
-Stitch Witchery for Applique (optional)

To get started, we cut our burlap approximately 2” longer and wider than our cork board. Our cork board was 23” X 35” (the board from Ballard Designs was 20” X 33”) and our yard of burlap was 48” wide. 

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So, we cut our burlap piece 27” X 39”.  To get a large enough cut, we simply used the width of the burlap to get the largest measurement (we got the 37” from the 48” width of the burlap). 

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We centered our board (cork side down) over our burlap).  We didn’t want to have raw fabric edge on the back which is why we cut the burlap with an extra 2” allowance on all four sides.

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Lay the board/burlap on a flat surface.  Starting with the center edge of one of the longest sides, “double fold” the excess burlap, and staple it to the wood framed edge (on the back).  Turn the board and do the same thing on the other (long) side only this time, make sure the burlap is pulled taut (but not stretched out of proportion) before stapling.  Repeat this same step on the two shorter sides again, making sure the burlap is taut.
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Next, continue stapling each side starting from the center staple and working your way out on each side stopping just before you get to each corner (see pic). 

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To do the corners, fold the burlap “point” down.

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Fold the center point a second time, and staple.

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Fold in the right “edge” and staple.

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Fold in the left “edge” and staple.

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Add a staple to secure and to flatten the “bulk” of the fabric.

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Repeat on the other three corners, flip the board over, and you are now ready to add the upholstery nail heads.

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As for the nail heads, you can use any size that you choose.  We used some that we had left from a previous project.  They were originally gold in color, so we painted them a dark bronze color.  Note:  a quick, easy way to paint nail heads is to stick them in styrofoam and spray them.  (Leave the plastic wrap on the styrofoam because the paint will damage it). 

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Determine your desired placement for the nail heads.  We decided that we wanted ten on each long side (counting both corners) and four on each end (obviously not including the corners this time) which equals twenty-eight and happens to be the same number that is on the Ballard Board. 
Mark where you want to place the nail heads and then insert them into the outer wood frame.  Ours inserted very easily so we inserted them by hand.  However, if yours happen to be difficult to insert,  use needle nose pliers to hold them in place and carefully tap them in with a rubber mallet being careful to not dent the head.

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Continue inserting the nail heads making sure that they are evenly spaced and match the other side.  You now have a completed board!

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We wanted to embellish our message/photo board a bit, but didn’t want it to be permanent.  Therefore, we decided to create a separate “applique” and apply it with nail heads.  To do this, we simply cut an additional burlap square about an inch longer and wider than we wanted the finished applique to be. 
We then stenciled a design of our choice (we actually did two) onto the center of the burlap.  You can purchase a stencil or do what we did and create your own by printing the letter or design of your choice from your computer, cut it out, and use it as your stencil.

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We used Folk Art Burnt Umber to stencil and applied it with a foam brush.

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Once it is dry, fold the outer raw edges of the burlap to the back and adhere using stitch witchery or any adhesive of your choice.  We don’t suggest a double fold as it will create a lot of bulk.   Now, just place the applique on your message/photo board in any area of your choice using additional nail heads. 


Project Notes:

- When stapling the burlap, make sure that it doesn't get off center causing it not to be straight thus not leaving enough to staple
to the back.

Note:    Smile
This project is quick and easy!  It probably took us longer to write this blog post than it took to complete the Message Board!

*Don’t forget to stop by Details and pickup your Burlap and get your next project started.

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