Ballard Designs inspired bulletin board … from a diaper box and an old movie


I have a problem.  A big, big problem.

I’m an obsessive crafter and DIYer with a very short attention span. That means I have several large bins full of half-finished and non-even-started projects that keep piling up. 

Toss a layoff and a lousy economy into the mix and I decided that now was a great time to stop spending money on anything and everything crafty-DIY-projecty until I used up what I already had on hand.

No money. No shopping.  No problem.

But, I also realized that as long as these projects were tucked away, I’d keep forgetting about them and never finish. 

So what to do?

I saw these in the Ballard Designs catalogue and knew this would be a perfect way to keep visual track of everything.


The only problem was that I didn’t have an extra magnet or bulletin board on hand that I could recover with fabric.

Then an idea hit when I pulled out my lovely little .88 cent thumb tacks from Walmart:


They were package in two layers of cardboard.  Hmmmm.


I didn’t have any large, random sheets of cardboard lying around the house, but I did have plenty of these …


… and as soon as I opened up the box …


… and folded it in half—voila!

Double thick cardboard in just the right size for a bulletin board.

This is gonna work … so here we go!

Trim off the extra tab on the end of the diaper box and set it aside.


You should have a nice rectangle for your base.    The only thing you need to do for prep work is fill in the narrow gaps on the top and bottom so that the fabric will lay nicely across the board.


Measure the width of your gaps …


… and cut filler strips from the left over box tab.


Lay the filler strips into your gaps, trim the ends flush with the sides of the box and tape in place.  Do this to the front and back sides of the box.


Spray the inside of your box with spray adhesive and weight the layers down for a few minutes to set. 


Tape the full length of the narrows ends together and add a few strips on the long sides as needed.  I used 2” clear packing tape and it worked great.

bulletin.1I also taped the punch out for the handle as well.

There, all nice and smooth.

At this point I noticed that the front and back were not the same length: one side was about 3/8” inch shorter than the other.

(Sorry … forgot to take a picture of that.)

It’s no big deal.  Just make sure you use the longer of the two sides for the front.

Spray the front with a good coat of spray adhesive and lay your fabric over top, smoothing out any wrinkles and bubbles.


Patterned and plain fabrics are the most forgiving for this project as I learned the hard way.  If you’re using a stripe like I did, make sure you line up your lines along your straight edges or it will be really, really obvious. 


The OCD part of me started to twitch when I first applied my fabric.  It took several minutes to gently pull and tweak my fabric before it looked nice.

Flip your board over and trim the excess fabric to an inch or two around the edges.  Cut the corners at an angle to get rid of extra bulk when you glue them down.


Fold fabric over the board, starting in the middle of each edge and working towards the corners.  Glue in place with hot glue.


Your board should look like this on the back …


… and this on the front. 


All you need to do is attach a ribbon to hang your board and you’re done.

There are two options for attaching your ribbon.  The easiest option is to hot glue or tape your ribbon on the back side at the fold lines.


Add a decorative bow to the front and DONE. 

Easy peasy. 

The other option (which I used just because my kids are very active and I wanted extra stability) is to carefully poke holes through the board about 1.5” down from the top and thread the ribbon from behind …


… tying it in the front, trimming away the excess ribbon …


… and hot gluing the finishing bow over top.


Simple. Cute. Done.

Start to finish was less than ten minutes. Tops.

But, I have a confession to make.

I didn’t have enough black satin ribbon to finish my boards (I made two).  And since I’m not spending money for finish up anything, I had to get creative about what to use.

I really had my heart set on the black satin ribbon, especially with my fabric.  So I looked around my house and found this:


A well-worn, beloved VHS tape from my kids’ playroom.  The top had been broken off and it was ready for the garbage.  But … I noticed that the tape inside was exactly the width and color of material that I was looking for. 


It was worth a shot ….

I removed the little screws on the back …


… and opened up the inside to expose the spools.


And I laughed when I flipped the spools over because it looked just like two spools of satin ribbon.


So that’s what I used.

All of the “ribbon” for this project came from our dearly-departed Thomas the Tank Engine movie.  VHS ribbon can wrinkle easily so I was gentle when I was threading it through the hanging wholes and when gluing the bow.  And this is probably stating the obvious, but a low temp glue is the way to go here.


VHS “ribbon” worked great.

I’m so excited to have found a new medium to work with and have several fun projects for this stuff lined up for the coming weeks.


I’m loving my new bulletin board and am feeling more organized already.

And for thumb tacks?

I only had those white Walmart beauties that just wouldn’t work with black and cream fabric.  No problem. The tacks got a quick coat of black craft paint from a sponge brush and done.


This project showed me that the ability to fuel my passion to create has nothing to with dollars and everything to do with attitude.

I choose to THRIVE.

So thanks for stopping by!

{Now all I need is a brilliant idea for some cute bulletin board hangers.}



Thrilled to be sharing this tutorial over at

and linking up to:

OrganizeItBasket2_thumb1 funkyjunk

53 thoughts on “Ballard Designs inspired bulletin board … from a diaper box and an old movie”

  1. These look great! I know what you mean about all the half-finished projects. I have boxes full of them! Last winter I had an urge to finish some of them so I finally did. It felt so good!

  2. These look brilliant. And I mean REALLY brillinat.

    I can't believe you used the video tape! That's the sign of a creative genius,you know!

    I think you should definitely cannibalise some of those Scrabble tiles! Who'd notice???!

    By the way, we went through a similar experience to what you talk about on your profile about four years ago. It's hard, isn't it, but I think you look as though you really ARE thriving.

    I love you blog….and your attitude.


  3. I'm amazed with your creativity and it looks great. Thanks for joining We're Organized Wednesday. I'm featuring this today. Grab a button if you'd like. Have a great weekend!

  4. Super cute…and the VHS gives it kind of a cybr-punk-prep look with the plaid.

    I'm a new reader and loved how you incorporated a lot of photos…nice blog. Any tips/tools you use to make this go faster?

  5. GreenDigitalis – thanks! I'm not sure if your question is about the pictures loading faster on the blog or about making a board. Email me at choosetothriveblog (at) gmail (dot) com and I'll shot you off an answer ASAP.

  6. I need some color in one of my rooms. I have some AMAZING brown fabric that I am going to make these "Boards" out of, but not use them as bulletin boards, but as wall decor! Thanks for the amazing idea! Thrive on!

  7. Well done thrifty crafter!! I love the fabric. I have a couple of boxes full of half finished projects too. I think I will get those out and see what I can do. You have inspired me 🙂

  8. I have never seen anything so creative in all my life! This is a fabulous idea…one that can use any kind of boxes for those of us who don't have babies anymore. I also like the idea of using them for wall decor instead of a bulletin board. I would "rock what I got" and join the cardboard with duct tape and use some old clothes for some of the fabric. I save old clothes just for being able to use it in projects. Hey, it's free fabric that way!

  9. I love your out of the box thinking, literally 🙂 I am obsessed with making bulletin boards and this has opened up a whole new and thrifty world for making them.
    Great Job!

  10. Oh my gosh, this is just plain cute! I love your ingenuity! Great job and good for you for sticking with original plan in not spending any thing!

  11. Hey from a new follower (thanks Sarah/TDC!) and I have loved reading throughout your blog! I too get the blahs sometimes from my little old house not being "THE" house but I love your attitude and plan on shamelessly mimicing it. And I have to say that I think your burlap roses on a small piece of a dowel rod (or any small round stick thingy) would make the perfect hangers. Looking forward to learning more. Have a fabulous evening.

  12. Great idea! I just read this and realized I found my way to display sight words in my daughter's room. Just completed one out of princess fabric, didn't cost me a cent. Thanks!

  13. WOW no diaper boxes .. way to old for them .. but have plenty of "boxes" to get rid of .. thanks. About the "ribbon" .. I'll need to think out of the box for that. May just attach to the wall. Thanks a ton.

  14. Next time you want to make one, make designer tacks. Same tacks you are using, except glue old buttons with awesome tops or unusual shapes, use bottle caps and printable images (along with beads, solder, anything you want to decorate them with) and glue the tack to the top of the bottle cap. Put the image inside the cap with elmers glue, add your beads, etc (with more glue) and instead of resin (unless you have some) use clear nail polish to seal them. For a magnet board, use an old cookie sheet, cover with fabric scraps, cover a can with matching scraps (for pens/pencils) and make magnets the same way as the tacks. We made pencil toppers out of old pipe cleaners in cool shapes (star, kitty, bunny, heart, and piggy tail)…thought you might like some ideas

  15. Pretty much the best thing ever!! I want to have a "kid art" space in a hallway next to our kitchen. Art is taped up there now with a few in frames. I have wanted and wanted a big giant bulletin board forever. I was thinking of buying ceiling tiles and putting fabric over them, but this is even better!! Thank you!

  16. Gee….you have made my heart SOAR!!!!!!! I LOVE finding decorating ideas on a "thread bear shoe string budget"!

    I especially love this bulletin board. I had an idea for one for my daughter's room & this is just the "boost" that I needed to get me going!!!!!!

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! The only thing that could possibly be better is "if you were my neighbor"! :0)


  17. Skipped over here from a Pink Chalk Fabrics link and I am SO IMPRESSED not only with your attitude but your creativity. You are awesome!!! I'll be a regular visitor from now on!

  18. THIS IS SO CLEVER!!! I have been needing a bulletin board so much, but not willing to go out and buy any supplies! I love the VHS tape hack 🙂 Thank you thank you thank you for showing exactly what you did. I will link back to you because I'm sure I'm going to make one of these and blog about it!

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