Three-Part Bulletin Board

Introduction: Three-Part Bulletin Board

About: In which I turn the thoughts from my head into objects in my hands

I've been so busy with school and work that I haven't had much time to focus of the queue of projects I dream about night and day. But this week, I couldn't bear it any longer and indulged in a bit artistic genius as an Independence Day treat; never mind that I have an organic chemistry midterm in a few days...

Having recently moved out of my college dorms and into my new apartment, I missed the floor-to-ceiling bulletin boards that covering my wall in the dorms. My general principle is to avoid purchasing items if I can make them, so I came up with this project to incorporate a magnetic, dry erase, and pin board into a single entity instead of shelling out a few extra dollars to buy each one individually. Best thing about this project?--almost all of the items I used were random things I found lying around and decided to reuse (see blurbs in the materials step). Now you can proudly announce what happened to that old styrofoam, burner cover, and sheet protector...

Step 1: Materials

  • styrofoam base (My roommate bought a lot of Ikea furniture, which came with styrofoam support. Alternatively, you can get cork board sheets for fairly cheap to craft stores..)
  • plastic paper protector (Find some from your embarrassing middle school years when binders were the coolest things on the market and sheet protectors were a symbol of awesomeness.)
  • magnetic sheet metal (During the week after college graduation, lots of students were putting random items out in the street. I was running one day when I came across an old stove burner cover [some people buy them to put on top of the stove..?], which I ended up using for this project. Alternatively, the dollar store should have these burner covers, or you could use pizza pans as long as they are magnetic.)
  • fabric
  • thumbtacks
  • pins, magnets, dry erase markers, etc. -- items for the board

Step 2: Wrapping Styrofoam Base

Grab your styrofoam and cut out a rectangle of fabric that leaves at least 5 inches extra vertically and horizontally. Fold the bottom edge of the fabric and pin it in place using thumbtacks. Then fold the top edge down and pull to keep the fabric taut against the styrofoam before pinning in place

Step 3: Folding in Corners

For the corners, channel your Christmas-gift-wrapping skills and prepare to make trapezoids.

Fold in the top and bottom corners inward as shown in the second picture above. Then fold that trapezoid upward. Fold the cut edge of the fabric (at the top of the trapezoid) inward before pinning in place with thumbtacks (warning: it'll be a bit hard poking the pin through so many layers of fabric..). Repeat on the other side.

Once finished, flip the whole thing over and inspect the smoothness of the fabric. If there are any wrinkles or excess fabric poking out, adjust accordingly; pull fabric even more taut, etc.

Step 4: Magnetic Sheet

Arrange the sheet of metal that will be your magnetic section on your board. If yours is like mine and sticks out, fold the excess sections down to hide them. I originally wanted to fold both top and bottom sections down (see first picture's marker lines) but since I didn't have a hammer on hand to help me do that, I decided to shift my circle upward so that it'd be easier to bend that larger section down by hand. (Good luck, y'all)

To cover up the scratched and worn exterior of the metal sheet, I simply wrapped it in patterned paper that I had lying around. Just fold the paper around the edge (see last two images above).

***DON'T GLUE DOWN THE SHEET METAL YET! Save that satisfaction for later; come back to read the paragraphs below this when you've the following step. For now, just mark where you want the magnetic portion positioned on the board.***

When you're happy with how your metal fits on the board, glue it down. Be sure to use thumbtacks to secure the fabric to the styrofoam behind the metal sheet though! You don't want to the fabric to pull away from the styrofoam and let the metal shift side to side.

Step 5: Dry Erase Section

Take your plastic sheet protector and cut off the bottom edge. Then cut down the middle of either the front or back and unfold the whole thing. If your fabric is too dark for your markers, I'd suggest that you tuck a sheet of light-colored paper behind the plastic.

You'll be wrapping it around the board like you did with the fabric. Position it where you'd like on the board before flipping it over. Like before, fold the bottom edge of the plastic upward and pin in place with the thumbtacks that should already be there (yes, you'll need to remove them from the fabric and pin again, this time through fabric and plastic). Repeat with the top edge, making sure you pull the plastic taut, and flip over to check for wrinkles and slack.

NOW you can go back to the previous step and see what I typed up regarding the gluing for the magnetic section.

Step 6: Little Additions

I wanted to add a little box for containing my dry erase markers, so I used some super strong, tiny magnets that a friend gave me to hold a box in place. I had the box lying around, but you could alternatively use a tea leaves tin or fold one from paper and pin it up.

I also decided to add clothespins for clipping papers that I didn't want to pierce with holes (or to group lots of similar sheets together), so I just glued thumbtacks to the tops of the clothespins and pinned them on.

Rather than investing in sword push pins that I had been lusting for (my rent is $600 too high for me to waste on frivolities), I chose to make my own. I followed this tutorial for the swords, and later came up with incorporating that idea for shuriken.

Step 7: Ta Da!

There you have it -- an eco-conscious, wallet-friendly addition to any bedroom. As always, feel free to leave questions in the comments section, and I'll help however I can.

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