Here is a quick guide on how to make your own cork board from discarded materials! ...and no big power tools are required.
I got the corks from some one who posted an ad on freecycle.org and the plywood at a wood shop (they did not need it any more). The other materials that you will need are:
- a ruler
- a pencil, pen or marker
- a steak knife (or any small serated knife) to cut the corks
- wood glue
- masking tape/painters tape
- some water base paint for the frame
- a small brush
- a hot glue gun and some sticks of glue
- some water base wood finish
Step 1: Processing the Corks!
To get some of the smell off of the corks, you can soak them in a water + white vinegar mix for a couple of hours. I have also read that just putting them outside on a sunny day will take most of the smell away... I have not tested that one.
Once you have soaked the corks, let them dry for an hour or so and get ready to cut them!
BE CAREFUL!!! Cutting the corks on half longwise is a bit tricky yet it will double the amount of corks for the board plus it is easier to set them and glue them to the board.
While I was cutting the corks, I grouped them by colour and shape which proves helpful if you plan on making a specific design.
Step 2: Assembling the Frame
As I mentioned in the intro, I was given this piece of plywood at a wood shop... some times it is just a matter of asking and people are happy to give you materials that they had piled and ready to take to the dumpster.
MEASURE AND MARK: After getting rough idea of the area that I was going to be able to cover with the corks, I marked the plywood.
CUT ALL OF THE PIECES: First I cut the piece for the back (the full size for mine was 22" x 24") and then I marked and cut the pieces for the edge of the frame. With the edges of the frame 1 inch wide, the inside part for the corks endeds up being 20" x 22" which is a pretty standard size if you want to align it on a wall later on with a store bought dry erase board, etc.
Once you have cut all of the pieces, sand them and clean them. That will get them ready for the paint job after you glue the frame together.
GLUE THE PIECES TOGETHER: To glue the frame together, use wood glue, it is surprisingly strong and the smell is quite minimal. Put some weights and/or clamp the pieces together and leave over night to dry. The next day, sand off any extra glue that oozed out from the seams.
PAINT THE FRAME: I used water base black paint for this frame. You do not need too much paint so either ask around if anybody has some left over paint, check on craigslist.com or freecycle.org for free paint offerings, or as a last resort, buy just a small tester container of paint at your local hardware store.
I first put tape on the base of the board so not to get too much (or any) paint on the surface where I was going to glue the corks. Then, I painted the frame. The is no need to paint the back of the board and two coats of paint should do the trick depending on the type and condition of plywood that you use.
Step 3: Time for the Glue!
Once the frame is dry and ready, it is time to glue in the corks!
I put in all of the corks in the pattern that I wanted and then just picked up each cork one at a time and glued them to the board.
Some people just start gluing the corks starting at the center and freehand their pattern. This is a great way to do it yet you will have to have a lot of corks plus it will require for you to cut corks to fit into small gaps that may be left open close to the edges. Nothing wrong with that yet I had a set number of corks and in the end, what I had ended up being exactly what I needed.
After I glued all of the corks to the board, I painted the corks with a water base wood finish to add a bit of shine (photo not included).
Step 4: Character and Presentation
Cork making and the graphics that are printed and/or burnt on them are a tradition that dates back... way back. I decided to honour that tradition not just by reusing the corks but also by featuring one that said it all for me... "METHODE TRADITIONNELLE."
REDUCE + REUSE + RECYCLE + UPCYCLE + BUY LOCAL = LOCALCYCLE!