DIY Corkboard

A corkboard is handy for posting reminders, but it’s often difficult to find a suitable spot for one on the wall. Instead, cut one to fit inside a door or a cabinet panel. Measure the dimensions of the space. With a straightedge and a box cutter, trim a piece of sheet cork (available in many hues at home-supply stores) to those dimensions. Affix cork to surface with nails.

Contributors’ Comments

You can also get a long roll of cork, and glue it to an entire hollow core door – then cover with fabric that coordinates with your room. Just staple it using a staple gun. I did this in our den with a beautiful piece of fabric I got at a discount fabric store – it looks amazing! The original hollow core door was really sorry looking…CM

I just happen to have a roll of cork! It matches my hardwood floors in my kitchen and I’m going to put it on my pantry door. Thankx Martha

What a wonderful diy corkboard Idea. Thanks

DIY Whiteboards and Corkboards

Over at TechSpaceBend, we needed to put up some whiteboards and corkboards.  Big ones like you’d have in an office, not the little ones that decorate your kids room at home.  The only problem is that TSB is a non-profit with little/no funds availble, and these things tend to be a bit pricey.  A 6′ X 4′ corkboard goes for $105, and 5′X4′ whiteboards come in at ~$225/per.  Ordering from a site like china-whiteboard.com (which seems to be one of the better sources for this sort of thing) was going to run us over $600-$700.

So instead, I turned this into a weekend project and got cracking in my shop.  Here’s what I ended up doing …

Making Your Own Corkboard

Total cost: ~$83. However it may be possible to reduce the cost by $20-$30 by using thinner cork (3/32″) and using 1/4″ plywood with only one good face.

Materials:

  • Cork roll (4′x6′x1/8″) – $40.
  • 1/2″ Plywood, one good face (4′x8) – Price varies.  I bought a sheet of lauan plywood w/ two good faces for ~$25 at Home Depot.
  • Contact Cement (1qt) – $9
  • D-Ring Hangers – $2.40

Tools:

  • Skillsaw
  • Masking tape
  • Paint roller and adhesive cover – ~$6

You’ll need a large, very well ventilated work area for this project – a clean garage floor for example.

  1. Place plywood on your work surface with the good face up.  Roll out the cork on top of it and position so that 3 of the four edges (mostly) line up.  Don’t worry about the plywood being larger than the cork – we’ll trim everything down to size later.
  2. Firmly tape one edge of the cork to the plywood. Make sure this won’t come loose during the next few steps!
  3. Flip the cork over, like turning a really large book page, to expose the cork and plywook surfaces that need to be glued together.
  4. Using the paint roller with the adhesive cover, apply the contact cement to where both surfaces where they’ll meet.  This is where things get stinky – you have ~65 sq-ft of contact cement outgassing as it dries, so make sure you’ve got plenty of fresh air circulating.
  5. This is the tricky part, and will be easier if you have someone to help.  You don’t want to mess this up because there’s no do-overs here. Once the contact cement is tacky (30 minutes or so?), carefully and slowly roll the two surfaces back together, using your hands to work the cork onto the plywood and make sure there’s no wrinkles or air pockets. Do this by starting from the edge you’ve taped down and working toward the opposite edge.  If you’re by yourself you’ll need to reach under the unflipped-section of cork for this.  If you have help, one person can hold the cork up while the other person works it onto the board.
  6. Once you have the cork glued down, the skillsaw and a cutting guide to trim off the excess plywood.
  7. Attach the D-Ring Hangers where needed.

Making Your Own Whiteboard

Let me start by saying there are two approaches to take with this project in terms of the actual white board surface.  You can either use Rust-Oleum’s Dry Erase paint product applied to a 1/2″ sheet of plywood, or you can simply buy a piece of “tileboard” at Home Depot.  I document the “Dry Erase paint method” here, since that’s what I built, but in hindsight I would strongly recommend people go with the tileboard solution.  It’s much cheaper and less labor intensive.  I probably spent $50 and two hours more than I needed to, and got a whiteboard surface that’s not as smooth.  Which is kind of a bummer.  The only advantage of the Dry Erase paint method is that the boards themselves, being 1/2″ thick, are much more sturdy than the 3/32″ thick tileboard.

The only downside of the tileboard is that it’s < 1/4″ thick, and rather flimsy, which I had thought would be a showstopper.  However I found myself adding a 1″x2″ tray along the bottom of the board that, in hindsight, would be enough of a stiffener to alleviate this problem.

Materials:

  • (Dry Erase paint method only) 1/2″ Plywood, one good face (4′x8′) – Price varies.  I bought a sheet of lauan plywood w/ two good faces for ~$25 at Home Depot.
  • (Dry Erase paint method only) Rust-Oleum Dry-Erase paint – $20
  • (Dry Erase paint method only) Spackling compound – $4
  • (Dry Erase paint method only) Latex Primer – $7
  • (Tileboard method only) Tileboard (4′x8′) – $13.
  • 1″x2″ x 8′ board – ~$5
  • 1-1/4″ Drywall screws

Tools

  • Skillsaw
  • Tablesaw
  • 200-grit Sandpaper
  • (Dry Erase paint method only) 6″ Paint roller and ultra dense foam cover – ~$6

Steps

  1. (Dry Erase paint method only) Use the spackling compound to fill in all imperfections in the good face of the plywood.  When dry, sand smooth with 200-grit sandpaper.
  2. (Dry Erase paint method only) Using paint roller, apply a coat of latex primer.  Let dry.  Sand smooth.
  3. (Dry Erase paint method only) Activate the Dry Erase paint and apply the first coat.  Let dry 30 min.
  4. (Dry Erase paint method only) Apply a generous second coat of Dry Erase paint.  The instructions say that 3 coats are ideal.  However I found that by applying a liberal second coat, you would get a smoother surface because the paint flows better.  Note, however, that this requires painting with the plywood completely level to eliminate dripping.  Let dry.
  5. Cut plywood / tileboard to size.  I made a medium and large board by cutting the board into a 4′x5′ board and a 4′x3′ board.
  6. Make your marker tray by using angling the tablesaw blade to 10° and ripping both short edges of the 1″x2″ board.
  7. Attach try to whiteboard as shown by clamping board to the bottom of whiteboard.  From the back of the whiteboard, drill pilot holes for the drywall screws every 12″ or so, and insert screws.
  8. Round edges of all wood to taste using sandpaper or file.
  9. Attach the D-Ring Hangers where needed.

In Conclusion

For TSB, I made one corkboard and four whiteboards.  I was careful to place the D-ring hangers at the same spacing on all of these (42″) so that they can be moved between the various offices with ease, which I’m sure will prove useful over time.

The dry-erase paint was a simply mistake.  It’s very labor intensive and if you can find an alternative solution I’d definitely recommend doing so.  In my case, I wasn’t as attentive to detail as I could have been on the first set of boards I made and the result came out a bit rough.  Still very usable, but definitely not the quality I would expect in pre-made whiteboard.  On the second set of boards I took a lot more care to prep and paint, which paid off, but even so the surface is still a bit orange-peal-ish.

One final note: The tileboard that HomeDepot sells doesn’t erase quite as well as you might expect.  However several sources recommend treating the surface with Turtle Wax, which should allow the board to erase better.  (Haven’t tried it myself, so if you.

Homemade Corkboard

Cork can be purchased in rolls, as cork tiles or in sheets. This project calls for rolled cork so that the size and shape of the corkboard can be customized. Decorative touches, like the molding that makes the frame, and the paint colors you choose can be tailored to meet any décor. The double thickness of cork ensures that both thumbtacks and pushpins can be used. This simple project can be completed in a couple of hours.

  • 1  Determine the size and shape or your finished corkboard, and cut a sheet of plywood that corresponds to those measurements. Smooth the edges with sandpaper and paint one side. The painted side will be the back of the corkboard, so painting is optional.
  • 2  Cut two pieces of cork the same size as the plywood. Use scissors or a box knife to cut the two pieces to size.
  • 3  Use a caulk gun fitted with a tube of construction adhesive to squeeze a bead of glue on the plywood. Make squiggly lines of glue on about one-third of the plywood.
  • 4  Press one sheet of the cork into place on the wood. Use your palms or a rolling pin to flatten the cork into place. Wipe up glue that squeezes out.
  • 5  Repeat the process with the second sheet of cork. Place a bead of glue on the cork that’s already been pressed into place, and then smooth the second sheet over it.
  • 6  Measure for a border for the corkboard and cut decorative molding to those lengths. Miter the corners by cutting them at a 45-degree angle so that they fit together to make a frame.
  • 7  Paint the frame pieces and glue them into place with the construction adhesive. Use caulk to fill any gaps at the corners of the frame where the mitered cuts meet, and touch these corners up with paint if necessary.
  • 8  Turn the corkboard over and measure 4 inches down from the top on two opposite sides. Install a screw eye at each spot. Tie one end of a piece of picture wire into one of the screw eyes by looping it through the eye, pulling the end back toward the wire and twisting until it’s secure. Pull the long end of the wire to the other screw eye and secure it.
  • Cork Roll

    Natural rolled cork for hobbies, crafts, bulletin boards, and home, office, or school projects. 3 32″ thick. No. 266: 2′ x 4′ No. 268: 2′ x 8′ No. 272: 1′ x 2′

    Cork roll is quite thin and soft, so it is fragile. However, if one cuts it carefully and adheres it well, it gives a cushioned surface to which one can pin things, or in my case, where one can work on projects and do very light, occasional cutting. I regularly paste paper to cardboard on this surface, with the cardboard on top. The slightly soft cork gives gentle “fingers” that help to press the surfaces together better than a hard surface would do, and also it has no splinters or hard bumps.