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Make a Burlap Bulletin Board for $20

A new bulletin board is a simple way to add organization to your home this year. It can function as part of your family’s command center, as a memo board for important notes and reminders in an office, or as an inspiration board in a craft studio.

Jeanna from Barefoot in Blue Jeans had a bulletin board she loved, that is until her new kitty decided to use it as a scratching post!

Jeanna took inspiration from Ballard Designs and covered her destroyed board with fabric and then lined the edges with upholstery tacks.

Jeanna says, “This whole thing cost me about 20 bucks and took less than an hour. Can’t beat that!”

Finished burlap bulletin board

Materials for Your Burlap Message Board

Another super basic materials list for this one. Some items you may already have on hand.

  • Burlap
  • Upholstery tacks
  • Picture hanging kit
  • Cork board

To get this job done, you’re going to need to the following tools:

  • Sharp scissors
  • Heavy duty stapler
  • Hammer (or tack hammer)
  • Drill and small bit (optional)

Cork or No Cork?

Let’s talk about the board for a moment.

In Jeanna’s case, she started with a big cork board she already had. Her’s got ruined by a kitten, hence the need for a new one and re-purposing the old one.

So, if you have an old cork board that’s looking a bit shabby, by all means, you should use it – because let’s face it, cork DOES wear out, dying a slow death by a thousand thumbtack pokes!

Old cork board

For the rest of us, we may be starting with nothing since we’ve either thrown out our old cork bulletin board or just never had one. If that’s the case, then you need to build or buy a cork board first.

Start With a Cork Bulletin Board

Now, you might be asking why buy a bulletin board if that’s what we’re trying to do here for less money? It’s all about quality and longevity, my friend.

And here are three good reasons:

First, as we just mentioned, cork just doesn’t last forever. Do you really want to spend $15-$20 on something that’s not going to last?

Second, it’s true that a small cork bulletin board will only cost you about $15, but we’re talking a size of less than 23-inches by 17-inches here. That’s an okay size for a small laundry room or wall off the kitchen. For this project, we want to go big!

Third… this site and all the DIY pursuits it offers is about nice decor and style. No offense, but that typical cork board? It just doesn’t usually cut it when it comes to design and adding a good “look” to your home.

There’s something about burlap that just sets a tone in nearly every decor style. It also won’t succumb to repeated punctures from tacks. And finally, you can make any size board you want since burlap is like most any other fabric and comes in large widths and long, long yards.

With that out of the way and you being convinced that burlap is superior, what do you do next?

Build Your Own Bulletin Board Backer

The way you’ll do this is straightforward. Buy a piece of 3/8-inch plywood at Home Depot or Lowe’s. Have it cut or cut it to the size you want your message board to be.

Since tacks won’t easily go into wood, we will in fact, use cork material.

I know, we just said it doesn’t last and looks bad. Oh, but that’s where the burlap comes in! It will cover cork’s bland, “officey” appearance and even it’s ugliness a year or two from now when it shows signs of wear and tear.

Don’t worry, the cork backing will still serve it’s purpose as it ages.

You can get yours here at Amazon. You’ll get 8 – 12-inch x 12-inch pieces, which gives you plenty of room for an oversized burlap bulletin board.

It might feel strange buying cork material for a burlap bulletin board, but for a board this size, you’ll still be coming out WAY ahead budget wise.

Cork Board

Cork board that’s perfect for your burlap board’s backing


And now for the steps to make your board…

Putting On the Fabric

Once you have your cork board backer ready it’s time to get the burlap fabric on.

Burlap is available at any fabric store. Or you can pick up for a good price at Amazon again.

Natural Burlap

60″ Natural Burlap [CLICK PHOTO TO BUY]

You can’t get 3 yards of natural burlap fabric at a 60″ width for a decent price.

Sizing the burlap on the board

Next, lay your burlap over your cork board and cut it to fit with about 3-4 inches of overhang around all four sides.

Use a nice size flat surface for this like a kitchen table. You’ll want to get the burlap smooth and flat across your board as you fold it over and under.

Tacking down the burlap

Now, take your upholstery tacks and start pushing them in around all of the edges. Just start at one corner and work your way around the whole board.

You’ll want to space them out about 1-1/4-inches or so. You don’t need to be exact with the spacing, although getting it close will make a big difference in appearance.

After all, the tacks are a definite visual border and having them aligned evenly will make this board look sharp (no pun intended!)

One tip would be to measure the height and width of the sides and top/bottom. Divide by 1.5, and that will give you the distance between each tack.

Stapling burlap on the backside

Once you’ve finished pushing in all of your tacks, flip the board over and staple all around the edges about an inch in from the edge.

Cut off any excess with a scissors or a utility knife with a fresh blade. You won’t see this part so you can be as “un-neat” as necessary here!

Adding wire to hang bulletin board    

Finally, add your picture hanging kit to the back.

This is just a couple of small nails and a wire. You don’t want the type with eye-hooks as the hooks will stick out, making your board tilt out from the wall with space in between. Not the look you want – flush is what we’re after.

DIY Home Decor ~ Make a huge burlap bulletin board for only $20 and in less than an hour!

That’s it! A few mins and $20-30 later you have a brand new, huge and stylish cork board.

When you compare this with the version from Ballard’s you’ll realize you’ve saved yourself almost $300. Shoot, at that savings, better make a few more for the kids’ rooms!

Jeanna was inspired by the Burlap Message Board from Ballard Designs.

Jeanna’s original tutorial is no longer available to link to but we pay a tribute to her for bringing us this knock off.

Best of all, you now have everything you need to make your awesome burlap bulletin board!

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