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Corks and Chalk Message Board Tutorial

cork and chalk message board

I like things to be organized, and what better way to organize than in a fun, pretty, and DIY manner! I originally made this cork and chalk message board for my cousin – since she got married in a vineyard I themed her wedding gifts around cork. But I definitely have plans to replicate it for myself since I love the way it turned out!

supplies for making chalkboard

To make the cork and chalk message board, you need:

    • cutting board
    • TSP (use a phosphate free version as it’s better for the environment)
    • primer
    • paint
    • paintbrush
    • non-sanded grout (to make the paint into chalkboard)
    • painter’s tape
    • hot glue gun
    • corks
    • supplies for hanging picture wire (discussed below)

wash cutting board

I found a fancy cutting board at a thrift store that was already divided into two sections, but any cutting board or slab of wood will do. Start by washing the cutting board really well. You need a super clean surface for paint to stick well. TSP (tri-sodium phosphate, available in any hardware store) is the traditional choice for getting surfaces (especially walls) clean for painting. There are phosphate-free versions that do just as good a job and are better for the environment, so please use those instead. For this purpose, a good scrub with soap will probably do the trick, unless your cutting board is really grimy or oily, so there’s probably no need to buy TSP if you don’t already have some.

paint primer on cutting board

Mark off the edges of where you want your chalkboard to be with painter’s tape. Rub the tape down so you’re sure there’s a good seal. Paint a couple of layers of primer, letting it dry in between each layer.

paint chalkboard on cutting board

Mix your grout into your paint at the ratio of 2 tablespoons of grout for every 1 cup of paint. That’s about 1/2 tablespoon for the little 2 oz paint sampler jars you can buy. Paint a couple of layers of chalkboard paint, letting it dry in between each layer.

seal paintbrush for further use

A hint: If you want to walk away from the project in between paint layers, you can wrap your paintbrush in saran wrap, stick it in the fridge, and it will be just fine to use the next day.

assemble corks onto cutting board

Peel off the painter’s tape. Next, arrange your corks on the other side of the board and hot glue them down one at a time. Be generous with the glue since pulling thumb tacks out of the corks does yank on them a bit. I periodically turned a couple of corks perpendicular to give the layout a bit of interest.

drill picture hooks into back of cutting board

Now you need a way to hang your board. The one I found had these great little legs on the back, but there’s no need to do anything different if yours is flat. You will need D-ring picture hangers, picture wire, and a screw gun. (You can use a manual screwdriver, but it will be a lot easier if you whip out the power tools!)

check screw length on cutting board

Double-check that your screw won’t go all the way through your cutting board before you start screwing it in!

add picture wire to back of cutting board

Screw in the D-ring picture hangers, making sure that they are both the same distance from the top and the side of the board. Measure and cut a length of picture wire that is double the length of the distance between D-rings plus a few inches.

tighten picture wire

To secure the picture wire thread it in a loop through both D-rings and fold each end of the wire back so that it hooks on itself in a complete circle. Then twist each end of the wire around itself to secure.

prime chalk board

Prime the chalkboard by rubbing it with chalk and then wiping it off. Hang up your finished board and enjoy using it!

cork and chalk message board

cork and chalk message board

Comments 1

  1. Thanks for the tutorial! I’ve often thought about using chalkboard paint on something so your tip about using TSP is great. I love the idea of using an old cutting board. I saw some old cutting board at the East Bay Depot for Creative Reuse in Oakland last month. I may need to go back there. ;)

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