DIY: Corkboard

Hello everyone, my sister, Cher, is a DIY-er who loves to try new things. Last time she was here, you saw this earring holder she made. This time she put together a really cool corkboard using a frame and wine corks and I wanted to share it with all of you! So, here it is! (And just in time for Sherry‘s Pinterest Challenge!)

Ung Drill. You heard me right. I have an Ung Drill. It may sound like I’m sporting a large tumor on my face or a wacky haircut, but no. Ung Drill is that ubiquitous snazzy frame from IKEA. You know the one…

I got one… and it sat around for MONTHS. I kept thinking to myself “What the heck am I gonna do with this?” Half a year of dreaming and scheming went by before I decided on framing a giant-sized photo from my brother’s Jamaican wedding….

Which didn’t work at all because the frame was OVAL. No matter which photo, none of them “fit” without some serious (and detrimental) Photoshopping, which totally killed the look I was going for. So then I looked on Pinterest for Pinspiration and found this:

And knew what I had to do. And here’s how I did it. Including massive mistakes and a little breakage.

Step 1: Gather corks. You can either drink 140 bottles of wine (hey, alkie, let’s be BFFs, kay?) and save the corks, or you can wait for your sister to purchase $25 worth of corks online, never use them, give up on a cork project, and you’ll inherit them.

Corks cost: Free! (Thanks to my eBay-loving sis)

Step 2: Lay out your pattern. This was the second-hardest step (see below for the hardest step) because the options are limitless and also because I’m an idiot who picked an oval frame. I knew there would either be some cutting of corks involved or areas where the cork didn’t cover. I settled on a chevron/herringbone/what-the-eff-this-is-below pattern. I still wasn’t sure how I was going to deal with the edges (you can see that the corks overlap the frame below.) but in my usual thorough and OCD-level of planning, I just rushed ahead and assumed I would figure it out as I went or screw up in an incredible manner. Luckily, I managed to do both.

Cost of frame: Free! (b-day gift from sister.)

Step 3. Prepare the frame for painting. I needed to remove the glass from the frame so I could paint without getting the glass all painty. My idea was to attach the corks directly to the glass, in order to have something really sturdy holding them up. The glass was wedged in really tight, so I was really careful to ease it out so I didn’t scratch it…

..or worse. Sh<bleep>t Yeah, that’s the glass, evenly broken in two.

NEW Step 3. Fu¢k Fu¢k Sh<bleep>t. Carefully dispose of broken glass shards.

Step 4. Figure out how to create a sturdy back for the corks now that you’ve broken the glass. Luckily, I’d been on a cleaning spree at work and we had piles (PILES!) of used foam core waiting to be tossed. One of the pieces was used on one side, but in good condition, so I used the cardboard that came with the frame to trace the shape of the fame and cut it to fit. I decided to keep the cardboard on the front of the foam core so when the corks were attached, you wouldn’t see bright white behind them.

Step 5. Prime the frame. I have never painted with spray paint, and had no idea what to use. Luckily, I’m a regular reader of Young House Love, which had just happened to cover spray priming and painting with the “the perfect yellow color.” I like yellow, and I love directions that include pictures, so yeah, let’s roll with that one.

I took the frame outside and used Rust-oleum Universal Satin Paint & Primer in white.  I did three thin coats, spraying constantly from about a foot away. Then, because it was going to rain, I took the frame inside to my bathroom and closed the door and turned the fan on high to remove the STRONG smell and also the off-gassing. I don’t recommend doing this unless you know -like I did- that the fan takes the air outside, instead of recirculating it like some bathroom fans do.

Cost of Primer: $7

Step 6. Paint the frame. This is pretty much the same as the priming, except you can end up looking like a featherless Big Bird if you’re not careful with where you point the nozzle. I used Rust-oleum Paint Plus 2X Ultra Cover Gloss in Sun Yellow. Why? Because it said RIGHT ON THE LABEL that it “Also Bonds to PLASTIC!” and I was really concerned nothing would stay on the frame. Seriously, it was so slippery, I was pretty sure this project would be a major scew-up and I’d have to toss everything (which it pretty much was, but for glass-shattering reasons, not paint reasons. Go figure.).

So I took the frame back outside (it was like 2 days later. I had been busy at work and also forgot that the frame was in my bathroom until I went to take a shower at 6am. Delightful.

Painted three thin and even coats on the frame, various surrounding rocks, and parts of some outdoor furniture that my landlord isn’t really fond of, then toted the frame back inside for its timeout in the bathroom.

Cost of paint: $4

Step 7. Glue corks. I used hot glue because It seemed like a good idea, and I had it on hand. I liked that it hardened quickly, removing the part of the equation where I accidentally kick half of the corks off the frame while they are drying.

I had laid out some of the corks beforehand, simply to ensure the corks made a pattern that was level and too screwy (because when I’m DIYing, there is always some level of screwiness.

Just keep gluing. Just keep gluing. Just keep gluing, gluing, gluing…

I ended up cutting a few corks to fit around the edges. Most were pretty big spaces, at least half a cork’s worth or more. Some of the smaller spaces I left empty.

Step 8. Hang that sucker high and wide! No, that’s curtains. Hang it however you want. Me? I went for the oldie but goodie hanging style of “level.”

To hang, I swore a lot and used anchors since this thing is actually pretty heavy. It’s been up for 3 months now, and is one of my most favorite projects (maybe I like the bell jar more…) to date!

Ung Drill Frame: free! (but would run $29.99 via IKEA)
Corks: free! (but cost Suze $25 on eBay)
Spray primer: $7
Spray paint: $4
Total: $11! (or $65.99)


14 thoughts on “DIY: Corkboard

  1. Wow, this turned out awesome! I’m impressed you a) took on the pattern and b) tackled a round frame. Definitely having cork-board envy.

    • Thanks! I waffled between SO many patterns, and the chevron one looked the best, so I said “dammnit self, be patient and work slow so this can look awesome in the end, ok?” and it worked!

  2. I love love love your cork board! What a splendid idea and I LOVE the frame you used. If I had a good place for a cork board I would totally make one. Some day…

    I may have to get involved in this Pinterest challenge. I always discover great ideas there.

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    • Thanks! I totally just entered that contest. The corkboard has been up for a few months and it’s still one of my favorite focal points in the room.

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