Cork boards are fantastic for pinning notes and reminders, but the designer in me also thinks they make great mood boards. You can quickly pin your ideas and inspiration, shift them around easily, and remove ones that deviate from the current theme. Oftentimes, the selection is heinously generic. I don't want to pin beautiful ideas onto an eyesore, but I also do not want to spend hundreds of dollars on ornate frames as well.
My attempts to beautify a very basic cork board (Michael's) is to glue decorative corner pieces (Home Depot) onto its existing frame, which have both been painted to create a distressed look. Shanty 2 Chic provides a thorough and comprehensive explanation on achieving this finish using petroleum jelly, and you can refer to her tutorial for more visuals.
Wooden decorative corner pieces (4)
Dark acrylic paint
White latex paint
- The frame may be treated, so you'll need to prep the surface by sanding off the varnish. A rotary sanding machine will make the job much faster. Otherwise, it just takes a bit more patience to do it manually.
- Start with the dark base coat. Acrylic paint is suggested because it is cheap and dries rapidly. Paint the areas that you want to have show through the white paint. I painted the frame and corner pieces and used painter's tape to prevent it from getting onto the cork board itself.
- Selectively apply petroleum jelly as this provides a buffer between the base coat and topcoat. Generally, that will be on the corners and edges.
- Paint the frame and corner pieces with latex paint. You can also paint the cork board, but based on my experience, I found it caused some bubbling. Allow for each layer to dry before applying another. I used three coats for a thorough coverage.
- Glue the corner pieces onto the cork board, and allow for it to dry and set completely.
- Using coarse-grade sandpaper, gently abrade the areas where you want to reveal the base coat.
- Hang it up, and pin your inspirations, ideas, and/or reminders! (Tip: Re-purpose old stud earrings as pushpins.)
What I Would Have Done Differently
If I did this project again, I would have left the cork panel unpainted. Going over it with latex paint resulted in bubbling that unfortunately wouldn't settle once dried.