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How to make your own bulletin board for kids' art

December 14, 2010 |  8:00 am

I love kid art -- and not just my own kids' paintings and drawings. 

So when I spotted this striking pinboard in designer Erin Ellwood's Ojai home, I had to ask how to make one for myself.

"Who doesn't love kid art? Especially when it's your own kid," said Ellwood, who has an 8-year-old daughter. "But framing is kind of predictable. Here you can create a grouping and make it powerful."

Pinbaord2 The pinboard is made from half-inch-thick Homasote fiberboard, an eco-friendly product made with recycled paper. It comes in 4-by-8-foot sheets (about $35 each) at hardware stores such as Stock Building Supply, and you can have it cut to your specifications. Ellwood wanted a 9-foot-long board, so she cut two Homasote sheets and put them together. She covered the fiberboard in pea-green fabric, but you can leave it bare as in the pinboard shown at the right.

To cover the board, she first laid out the fabric, put the fiberboard on top, pulled the fabric taut, then staple-gunned it to the back of the board. Dividing her pinboard into two smaller pieces made the process easier to manage, but Ellwood warned that corners can be difficult. "You have to keep cutting the fabric down so you don't get a big, thick corner," she said. When that's done, secure the board to the wall with four long wood screws and wall anchors. This will allow the heavy board to rest flat against the wall. Finishing washers were added in the end to protect the fabric and give it a neat appearance.

Ellwood prefers a clean look when arranging artwork on the finished board. "Just start with one picture and go from there," she said. "Lining them up neatly and offsetting them makes a statement." Put up one piece in the center, then work to the left and then to the right. (I tried this approach on a bare hallway wall using artist tape, and the results look great.)

Ellwood likes Homasote because it contains recycled material, it holds pins well and it can be cut to fit varied spaces. If you get bored with the fabric, simply change it. The best part: The piece will be durable. The pinboard at the top of the page is 10-years-old. 

"We're always wondering what can we do with our kids' artworks," Ellwood said. "Framing is so expensive. This is a good way to get a lot of it up and make it powerful and colorful."

-- Lisa Boone

Photo credits: Erin Ellwood


The Lone Arranger offers design help for $100 per room