Stick a Pin In It

If you're like me, you're probably always on the lookout for ways to use things already in your possession.  It's especially rewarding when those same things can be used in exciting and fun new ways.  

I think the official term is "re-purposing".  This pretty bulletin board is a great example of re-purposing-and it's also a fun and fairly easy project to make.

 Blog stick a pin sideA

The frame of this "re-purposed" project was originally part of an old picture that I  had tucked away in the basement for years. 


I have to admit, I've never been crazy about the original picture which was never quite my style to begin with.   

Blog stick a pin pix

The wooden frame was always my favorite part of this purchase.  I just love the carved detail.  I bought the picture on sale at a hobby shoppe for less than 20-dollars, with the idea that one day I would think of something to do with the frame.  

Blog stick a pin frame

During our recent move, this picture and an old bulletin board were wrapped in the same box by the moving company.  When I pulled the paper off of both items and saw them side by side and a light bulb immediately went off in my head. 

As it turned out my bulletin board was a bit too large for the frame but the seed for a great idea was already sewn.  I purchased a roll of cork board (available at any office supply or crafts store) to get the project started.

Blog stick a pin roll

The first step is to remove the picture and the matting from the frame.  That's easy enough.  You may need a flathead screwdriver to help lift the u-shaped nails upward and out of the way so the picture can be removed. 

Don't pull the u-shaped screws out of the wood-you'll need them later to secure the newly-created bulletin board to the back of the project.

Blog stick a pin backside

While the original color of this frame is beautiful without a new paint color, I wanted a softer, more feminine look for this project.  If you plan to paint your frame, use a damp micro-fiber cloth to remove all the old dust from the frame.  Tack cloths are also a good way to clean off a surface in preparation of painting and are available at crafts and hardware stores.

Don't skimp on this cleaning step, because it's important to remove dirt and other particles to ensure the paint will adhere to the wood well.

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I didn't want to sand the old paint off and risk damaging the frame and I also didn't want to be bothered with any paint stripping process. 

Instead, I painted the entire frame with a latex primer which is merely a base coat to prepare the wood for painting.  I used a water-based primer for easier cleanup. 

Blog stick a pin primer

Give the primer at least 12-24 hours to dry completely before applying your desired paint color.  Any acrylic craft paint will work for this project.  I used an antique white for my initial overall color. 

After painting, set aside for several hours to dry completely.

  Blog stick a pin paint

To create the bulletin board, measure the frame opening and cut a similarly sized panel out of a cardboard box.  I had plenty of moving boxes on hand so I just cut one of those down.

Cut a piece of cork board from the roll, large enough to cover the entire piece of cut cardboard.  Better to cut the cork board to large than too small.  You can trim the excess cork board later.

Blog stick a pin board2 

Here's a "learn from my mistake" tip.  I initially applied heavy duty glue to the back of the cardboard and then adhered the cork board on top.  I sat several books on top for a few hours to hold the two together.  Big mistake! 

I forgot that cork board material is very porous.  While Gorilla glue is a great product it's the wrong product for this project.  The glue ended up seeping all the way through to the front of the cork and also crystallized on the front of the cork board which was quite unsightly. 

When I tried to sand the little glue crystals off, that damaged the cork even more making matters worse.  I had to start all over with a brand new $17 roll of cork material. 

Blog stick a pin glue copy


I found the best way to adhere the cork board to the cardboard is by using heavy duty double-sided tape which can be found at any hardware store.  You may need two rolls of this specialty tape.

Apply several strips of tape to the back of the cardboard, peel off the wrapper and then adhere the cork board to the sticky strips.  Trim off any excess cork board around the edges of the cardboard for a perfect fit.

Blog stick a pin tape  

Getting back to the frame, once the paint is completely dry, consider adding a contrasting color to the embossed areas to help highlight any carved detail in the wood. 

I decided on a simple acyclic white paint to help give the project a bit more contrast against the overall antique white color.  I also think it gives the frame a subtle, vintage look.

Blog stick a pin frame21 

I also wanted to add some fancy push pins to go with my new bulletin board and these pretty pins are perfect.  I found these bee-shaped pins from Ballard Designs, which is a wonderful mail-order catalog company. 

There are also cute Eiffel Tower and Fleur-de-lis push pin styles available in packs of 24-pins.  I think it's nice to use something a bit different like this for that unexpected touch.

Blog stick a pin bees212


Getting back to the frame, finish off the wood with an application (or two) of sealer.  Sealer adds a protective coating to the painted project. 

Sealer comes in various finishes including matte and gloss.  I prefer the gloss sealer for this project because it gives the wood a nice shiny result.

Blog stick a pin sealer2

Once the sealer is completely dry, simply insert the cardboard piece into the frame opening.  I used a flathead screwdriver to push the original u-shaped hooks in the frame back down and into place over the cardboard for a secure hold. 

Blog stick a pin mat

If the frame does not have original u-shaped screws you can always use a staple gun to adhere the board.  If you use a staple gun make sure you place them close enough to the frame edge so the staples shoot directly into the wood frame-and not out, into the cork board.

Blog stick a pin front

You may recall reading in my last post about my re-organization efforts for my new crafts space. This new bulletin board is a great functional addition.  Right now I'm using it as an idea board to keep track of various decor items that strike my fancy.

Blog stick a pin swatch

Green is one of my favorite colors and I'd like to try to incorporate some of the fabrics in the above photo into my crafts studio.  I have my eye on a really nice Parsons chair  which I can customize with my own fabric so I've been collecting swatches like this for consideration. 

This desk and my new bulletin board need a pretty chair.



Blog stick a pin deskA


Meantime, because of the various paint and sealer drying times, this bulletin board project will take at least one full day to finish.  You'll need to take your time throughout the various steps of this project and it's worth the patient effort.

This is a fun creation and I think it really yields a beautiful result.  When you're done, add a hook, hang it and then just stick a pin in it.

  • Betty819

    You must have been reading my mind as I’ve saw a long and narrow bullentin board on one organizing or decorating website recently and it’s perfect for putting paint and fabric samples as well as magazine pictures of a room that you would like to copy and I didn’t know how to make one of my own. Perfect for those home projects. Now to find the size picture frame I want and follow your instructions. I’ll be looking for some more of your great ideas.

  • Sue Carames

    That is beautiful. I’m going to make one for a friend for her Halloween birthday. She had given me some vintage garters with the snaps that I want to hang on there and I want a spot for a photograph. I’m thinking about attaching some ribbons to the bottom of the frame (back) with clothes pins at the end of the ribbons. I found some c. pins on ETSY with french markings on them. Your instructions were great and I finally feel like I’m ready to start. Thanks!!

  • Lynn C

    I made a similar bulletin board and used 3M Super 77 spray adhesive to attach the cork to the backing. Worked great.

  • Anonymous

    I am totally doing this! Love the “Don’t Do This” photo too! =) Made me smile!

  • [email protected] collage frame

    You’re bulletin board looks gorgeous, very creative. Re-purposing a picture frame is a great idea.

  • Anonymous

    Great tips, thanks for sharing.

  • Tara

    How do you think pearlized glaze would look/work instead of the sealer? I just painted a frame a hot pink color, and it is a *little* brighter than I thought it would be. Maybe a pearly finish would tone it down? How would that look on hot pink though? Any thoughts?

  • Anonymous

    Picture framing is an art in and of itself and Picture Frame is a great way to showcase your favorite photo. Picture frames are very versatile that come in a variety of styles. Above Frames are looking beautiful.

  • Sarahesingleton

    These instructions were great! I just created a board of my own and am so happy with it. Thanks so much. I especially loved the 3M heavy duty mounting strip idea. Save me a ton of mess and did not have to deal with any messy glue.

  • Anonymous

    Beautiful work!! This kind of project is a really big deal here in SE Idaho right now. Lots of work going into selling you the bits you need at craft stores at jacked up prices.

  • Anonymous

    Your tutorial is really a great idea. But instead of ironing the label to twill tape I just cut them apart and iron them to my sewing project, saves time and sewing and it still looks the same.

  • Mallie

    I make something similar but with old windows. I have found the best thing to use to glue the cork on to something is rubber cement. Yours turned out very nice!

  • Karen

    Thanks so much for taking the time to provide directions. I’ve been wanting to do this but wasn’t sure how to attach the corkboard. You saved me the step of gluing and re-doing! Hope mine turns out as lovely as yours!

  • Joelle

    Hi. I have a question about the thickness of the cork board. Is it an 1/8″ thickness? If so, how well does it work with the push pins that are just a little over a 1/4″? Are there pins that are shorter? We are doing a project on a clipboard, and unless I stick cardboard behind it, I don’t think 1/8 will work. And of course my hardware store does not have 1/4 in a roll, but rather the tiles. Thanks for any input!!

  • Own-two-hands

    Hi there! Loved your tutorial and was inspired to make my own cork/bulletin board based on it. Pictures at and if you’re curious.
    Thank you!

  • luvinthemommyhood

    This is a fabulous idea! Thanks for the tutorial. I couldn’t resist adding it to our link luv rounup today. Come take a peek:

  • Sarah

    I love this! I just need to find a cool frame…

  • Nancy D.

    Very cool tutorial, it looks great!

  • Chris

    It turned out beautifully! What’s even better is the awesome tutorial you gave! Thank you!

  • Alli Worthington

    Stunning! šŸ˜‰

  • Kathleen Solomi

    Please pick up an award from my site, your blog is lovely and so interesting

  • artgirlatl

    All I have to say is FABULOUS!

  • Caroline

    My sister did a similar thing with an old frame but she went one step further. She pulled a piece of nice white linen over the cork so you don’t see this anymore.
    Now she has the frame with nice black and white holiday photos hanging in the toilet.
    It looks classy!

  • Julie

    I love this pretty and practical project and don’t you just love Kilz??

  • kristen - gock's frocks

    fabulous project! thanks so much for sharing šŸ˜‰

  • Molly

    That turned out gorgeous! Corkboards usually look so…blah.
    Your “don’t do this” photo gave me a chuckle.

  • Elizabeth Marchus

    Hi Lisa,
    Your new home is lovely and as pretty as a picture. It sure looks roomy I bet the kids are having a blast in their new rooms. Isn’t always fun to re-create a space that was so perfect for us, I can’t wait to see all the wonderful and creative ways you will decorate your home and new crafts you will come up with. Maybe a quilt of memories from your last home.
    Have a great day,

  • chris glynn

    Thank You SO much for sharing this awesome project with us all!! I can’t wait to re-purpose an old frame into this great bulletin board! great post & great project~:) chris

  • Wendy

    I love how this turned out. What a fun project.

  • Lovlee Tang

    Great Idea! I just finished cleaning my studio and I was trying to decide how I would add a corkboard. I think I am going to add a chalkboard too.
    Thanks again! LT

  • sasha farina

    OMG Lisa. . .How I miss coming here!! I lost all bookmarks due to computer problem! Thanks for the love on my blog and this awesome project, I am totally lifting it! šŸ˜€

  • Phyllis

    Hi there,
    I’ve just discovered your blog site and love what you did with your frame. I’m also liking your work space. I too, am in the process of making a few changes in my space and keep flip-flopping between a pretty bulletin board similar to yours, or a fabric covered memory board….
    Please stop by for a visit – it’s very nice to meet you!

  • tea time and roses

    A lovely project Lisa! You are just full of wonderful and creative ideas!

  • Ms.Tee

    Green is my favorite color as well! This is really beautiful, as is your office space. Thank you for sharing it!

  • Rachel

    Wow, that is gorgeous! Penny from Sew Take a Hike just emailed me about your gorgeous blog and this fantastic project. I love it! I’ll be linking and I’ve added you to my Reader. Now, off to explore the rest of your beautiful space!

  • Malphi

    Oh…you always inspire me with your projects…now my head is buzzing again, I really need something to display my swatches on, it’s a great idea. I particularly like the notion of re-inventing existing objects …that’s most rewarding. Lovely post as always,
    Susannah x

  • Julie Size

    Ohh – I need to make one of those for my barn. So many times I have to leave notes for someone caring for our animals when we are out of town. That would be perfect. Thanks for sharing!
    PS – I replaced our barn lights with candelabra lights!

  • Robin Rane'~All Things Home

    Beautiful! Love it~
    Found you (I thiink) on the Inspired Room…beautiful blogsite!

  • Robyn Weatherspoon

    Love it! I’m totally inspired! Hugs!

  • Staci

    Wow! That board is beautiful Lisa! Thanks for sharing!

  • Colleen H

    This is such a great idea! I love it!
    I am getting ready to “re-do” my office this winter and have been tossing ideas around. This will be a great accent and useful too! I think I have the perfect frame myself!
    Thanks for the step-by-step directions!

  • Kim

    you have the best tutorials! Great job. I never thought about putting my decopodge stuff as a sealer. Brilliant.

  • Nanette

    I love to repurpose. The frame is really cute. I love the bee pins.

  • Jen Davis

    You are awesome, I am totally doing this! Love the “Don’t Do This” photo too! =) Made me smile!

  • sewtakeahike

    Lisa, I love this idea! Thank-you so much for the detailed tutorial and the tips. I cannot wait to try this!

  • teresa

    Oh I’m so glad I found your site- I love your idea- and thanks for the tip about the glue- I probably would of made the same mistake-
    Thanks for a great idea and help!

  • Nance

    You are so creative, Lisa! You turned those plain and boring looking bulletin boards into a pleasing piece of art! šŸ˜‰ I love it!

  • traci

    i lost track of the date or i would have been here yesterday. you must have been reading my mind. i love your inspiration board. i am putting one together on a cheap old office max bulletin board but want to find an old frame like yours. great minds think alike. thanks for the information on how to get the cork in there. you are great lisa – thanks.

  • Amy @ parkcitygirl

    your space and bulletin board look great!

  • Maria

    what a beautiful bulletin board with that frame. Can’t wait to see your chair. Just love your ideas so creative.

  • Judy

    Great idea! Your new craft room is really coming along. I love the “Shabby Chicness.” (My favorite design style.) I will be making one of these very soon.

  • Dawn

    I love it!! Thanks for sharing!!

  • adrienne

    I LOVE IT! What a superb idea using the frame!!!!

  • Sheri D. Maple

    This is great. What a creative way to repurpose an old picture frame. Thank you for the instructions, I have to try this project.

  • Deb Wisker

    Gorgeous! TFS!!

  • sassypriscilla

    This is so lovely. I wish I could have one now!! I have made some using pre-cut cork in 12×12, covering with fabric, and framing it in scrapbook 12×12 frames. I like your idea much better – so pretty!

  • Mercedes

    I love the idea of ” reuse ” things, I usually do when I can, so I liked to find you did it too. Great work!
    Thanks for your lovely comments in my blog.

  • Shell

    I love this project. I’ve been wanting to get a really large frame and put all my pictures, quotes in. This is just what I needed to see. A must do for 2009.

  • Hannah

    What a great idea! Thank you so much for sharing! I love your studio, it looks so clean and organized. Beautiful!

  • christina(apronstrings)

    oh i love it! what a much better use of that frame. good idea that i will likely use–i am trying to use old things to for new projects.

  • Tara

    Love it! You could also make a chalk board out of it…just using card board and chalk board paint!! Thank you for all your creative ideas…can’t wait to see the chair when it is all done and your studio, you will share won’t you?
    Have a blessed day!

  • barbara

    Your new space is looking great already! I really like the bulletin board idea – a good use for one of the old picture frames I’ve accumulated. Hope you’re settling in to that new house!

  • Kaja

    Oh! So pretty! I wonder if I can lay my hands on one of my DH hideous paintings (but with pretty frames) that I have stashed away in a dark corner… But, I want to use them as a frame for a mirror. Never thought of painting them though…

  • Stephanie

    Beautiful. When I moved from my sewing loft to my sewing room I wanted a beautiful framed idea board over my cutting table. Off to hobby lobby to find a deeply discounted imperfect oranate frame. Score. My husband cleaned it up and spray painted it a beautiful muted silvery color and instead of cork we used foam core (like insulation foam) and covered it with a pretty robin’s egg blue fleece. I need to find some pretty pins! Another fantastic idea from your very creative self.

  • Lilly B

    This is an awesome idea!! I was just thinking about this yesterday…how to do it! Then I turn on the computer and you have spelled it out for me…now that is too cool!! Thank you so much! Yours is beautiful! I just received my copy of Where Women Create (via and I am so ready to make my own home office wonderful. Thank you for your wonderful ideas!

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