Padded Message Board

Even with e-mail and instant messages, notes, bills, photos and traditional mail can pile up quickly. A good clutter-cutter is a padded message board that you can make with fabric, plywood and a staple gun.
padded message board keeps life organized

padded message board keeps life organized

Help clear clutter with a board made of plywood, cloth and batting.

Photo by: Marietta Fargueson

Marietta Fargueson

Materials and Tools:

staple gun
24"x32" piece of 1/4-inch-thick plywood
24"x32" piece of batting
32"x40" piece of fabric
10 yds. coordinating 1/2-inch ribbon
3-1/2 yds. fat ropelike trim
13 decorative upholstery tacks (optional)
two D-rings
4' of picture-hanging wire


1. Select fabric and cut it to size — four inches longer on each side than the plywood and batting.
Buyer's guide: Look for bargain remnants of fabric for this project.

2. Lay the fabric on a sturdy worktable, wrong side up.

3. Cut the batting to the exact size of the plywood.
Working smarter: If you can't find the right size plywood board, have a hardware store or home store cut it to size.

4. Center the batting on the fabric and then place the board on top of the batting.

5. Pull the fabric to the back of the board and staple in place, finishing one side, then the side opposite. Pull the fabric tight before you staple each side, and leave the corners until the last. You can use an electric staple gun or a hand stapler.
Safety alert: Always wear safety glasses when you use a staple gun.

6. Pull the batting up over the corner, and staple the very corner to the back first. Then pleat the remaining material and staple it down too.

7. Turn the board over and mark where you want your ribbon to go, using a yardstick and a disappearing marker to draw parallel diagonal lines, about five inches apart. There are clear rulers made for this purpose, or use a sheet of colored paper with a line marked five inches from the straight edge. Set the straight edge on your first line, and then use the paper to make a dot where your next line should go.

8. Draw lines across one side first, then the other to create a crisscross pattern.

9. Cut ribbons that are a few inches longer than each of the lines.

10. Cover one set of parallel lines with ribbons by laying a piece of ribbon over each line, and then pulling the excess to the back and stapling it in place.

11. Cover the other set of parallel lines with ribbons the same way, first weaving them over and under the ribbons that are already attached, in a crisscross pattern.

12. Attach the rope braid around the outside of the board with hot glue.

13. Attach two D-rings and picture-hanging wire to the back as if you were preparing to hang a framed picture.

Q: Is there a way to alter the project so a child can make a message board?

A: Use a piece of foam core instead of the plywood, and a hot-glue gun instead of the staple gun.

Q: If you make a mistake weaving the ribbon, can you fix it without ripping out the ribbon and starting over?

A: Yes, use upholstery tacks, and hammer them in where the ribbons crisscross. That will tighten up or cover any mistakes in the weaving.

Working smarter: Buy more upholstery tacks than you might need, in case you break one when you're hammering.

Q: Can I replace the ribbon with clear ribbon?

A: If you want to try this look, get some clear vinyl at the hardware store and cut it into strips.

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