sheetIf you are into crafting or sewing or any other kind of project that involves fabric, the sheet section in the thrift store is a great place to hunt! So much upcycyle potential there! I grabbed up this lovely one for a dollar in a hurry when I was there a few days ago. I also swiped a big old bag of buttons for two bucks. I have wanted to make one of these French memo boards for a long time.

This is a super easy project that takes only a few hours at most.

You’ll need:
-stretched canvas
-thrifted sheet or fabric of your choice
-quilt batting
-1/2 inch ribbon
– 1 ½ inch ribbon
-sturdy thread
-buttons (more or less based on size of canvas)
-staple gun & embroidery needle

– Optional: Roll of cork board in appropriate size

First you’ll need to cut two sheets of quilt batting the size of your canvas (in my case 20×24).

batting on canvasNext you’ll need to cut a piece of fabric four inches larger (height and width) than your actual canvas. So I cut my fabric piece to 24 x 28 inches.

cutting sheet_fabricIf you are going to add a roll of cork board this is the time you will want to measure it and place it on the canvas before you measure and place the batting. Next you will lay the batting on top of the canvas (or cork board) and lay the fabric over the batting and then carefully flip it over like a pancake.

staple fabricNow begin stapling around the back edges. I started on one of the short ends. Carefully tuck the corners, pulling the fabric nice and tight, for a nice clean look.

fabric all stapledOnce it’s all stapled and nice and snug, you are going to begin cutting ribbons. Cut the first two ribbons long enough to make an X right across the middle of the board. You’ll want to make them a few inches longer than needed so that stapling them is easier.

measure_cut ribbonsYou will measure, cut and attach ribbons, placing them parallel to the other ribbons you’ve attached already. A larger board (like mine) will require two more ribbons than a 16 x 20 board.

My ribbon for this project was very light so it might be a little hard to see here is the board with all of the ribbons attached.

ribbons attachedNow comes the most time consuming part; sewing on the buttons. You will sew buttons at each ribbon intersection. In order to get a nice indent, you need to sew the button on with an opposing button on the back of the canvas.

place buttonsHere is the front:sew buttonsAnd here is the back:

back buttonsWhen you’ve secured the buttons well (wear a thimble if you value your thumbs!) tie it off at the back with a couple of snug slip knots around the button.

Lastly, you will take your 1 ½ inch wide hanging ribbon and cut a large enough piece to attach it as you see in the picture below.

attach hanging ribbonI just eyeballed it rather than measuring a specified numeric length. How long you want the hanging portion of the ribbon is up to you so that will affect the length of ribbon that you should cut. Once that is attached you are done!

Here is my finished product.

finished productI’m really happy with how it turned out. I liked it so much that I made another one the next day!

This one I made from an old table cloth that I got during the same thrift store outing.

second exampleSince this board is canvas push pins will only work around the edges where the wooden frame is. They will probably work better if they are longer push pins as well because of the double thickness of the batting.

Happy thrifting!


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  • http://Website Julie

    Thank you for these instructions! I knew it wasn’t difficult, but never made one before. Now I have three beautiful boards for my daughter’s college dorm! I did put cork on mine and two layers of batting. I used an upholstery needle instead of an embroidery needle and had no trouble poking through all of those layers. I never would have thought to put a corresponding button on the back, but I think it made all the difference in the world.

    Thank you again!