I got a crazy idea at the beginning of the month. In all my boredom, I decided that making one of those ribbon memo boards for my cousin would be a nice graduation gift. Then I decided that since I was doing it for my cousin I should do one for Jeff's cousin, too. And it might be fun to make one for my office, too. Clearly, I can't do anything on a small scale. Well, the one for my office is still in the "to be accomplished" file, but these things are SO easy to make and lots of fun!
The supplies are pretty simple and flexible - a cork board, low loft batting, fabric, a stapler, ribbon, straight pins, and furniture nails. You can also use a frame if you want, or some black "furniture fabric" and mounting hardware.
I had to start by cutting my board in half. I bought one large (16 x 36) board and cutting it in half, so the individual boards are 16x18. You could certainly do this without a table saw (or just buy a board that is the right size to start with!) but I enjoyed getting to put my trusty assistant to work!
Start by cutting the batting to size. You can wrap it around the edge if you want, but Just having it come up to the edge worked best for me. I doubled it up to make it a little fluffier (you could use a thicker batting for this as well and achieve the same result).
Then cut the fabric and wrap it over the batting, pull it taut, and staple it to hold it. Start with a couple of staples in your corners to make sure you don't have any wrinkles and like the way it looks. It's a lot easier to pull out 2 or 3 staples than 10 or 12!
I did this next step a little out of order. It's definitely easier to iron on the applique (if you want it) before you staple on the fabric, but I got the fabric partially stapled and then ironed it on. It worked fine because I only had to get at the back of the one corner. Then finish stapling the fabric around the back. I used a small staple gun/tacker with 5/8" staples. Technically a simple office stapler would work, but again we had to break out the power tool! It actually made things a lot easier. I may have to go back and get a manual one I saw at Hobby Lobby just for my craft projects!
Now lay out your ribbon. You can use pretty much any kind of ribbon and space it however you would like. Both the fabrics I used had pretty distinctive patterns so that made it easier for me because I didn't need to fool with rulers and whatnot. Use the straight pins on the edge to hold the ribbons in place.
Now flip the board and staple the ends of the ribbon to the back. Just remove one straight pin at a time, make sure you pull the ribbon taut, and staple it. Working your way around is definitely the easiest.
Now put your furniture nails where the ribbons cross. They may poke out the back of the board a little if it's on the thinner side, which is fine, especially if you're going to attach the backing.
Just cut a piece of the backing slightly smaller than the back of the board. You want it to cover all your staples, but not be visible from the front. We used contact cement to attach it, but fabric glue would also work well. This will also protect your wall from scratches if the tips of the furniture nails are coming through. Then attach the hanger to the back if you want it.
I have enough fabric, ribbon, batting, and furniture nails to make at least two more small-ish boards. All I need is the board, which will run me less than $5. It's a great way to use up scraps of ribbon and fabric!
We have also been looking into the possibility of making these to sell at craft fairs and maybe on Etsy or in local gift stores. Let me know what you think and if this is something you'd buy! We're going to make several different sizes and will be happy to take requests for fabric and ribbon colors/patterns. Right now I think the new sizes will be 9x12, 12x12, 16x18, 24x36, and 8x24. We are going to try to put a small clock into the 8x24 just to do a little something different. Let me know if you want one!