Wednesday, September 30, 2009

How To Make A Large, Custom Bulletin Board

When we began setting up our homeschool room, I really wanted a gigantic bulletin board to line the back wall. I thought a large bulletin board would be the perfect place to display the boys' artwork, projects, and worksheets. And, a great way for them to show their Dad what they'd worked on each day.

But, large bulletin boards? They are expensive. Really expensive.

So, we decided to get creative. We had a piece of foam core insulation just sitting in our storage room - a 4' x 8' sheet of it. And, we decided that it would make a perfect, GIGANTIC bulletin board.

So, we went to Hobby Lobby, picked out some camo fabric (perfect for our boys!), and made a bulletin board that covers the entire back wall of our homeschool room.

And, even if we'd purchased the foam core, the whole project cost less than $20.

We had so much fun making this that I thought I'd share a step-by-step tutorial of how we made it - so that any of you can make one, too!

This is foam core. It's a type of insulation that you can purchase at any home improvement store. It costs about $10 for a 4' x 8' sheet.

The sheet was slightly too wide for our wall. So my husband measured the appropriate width we needed and marked off where to cut.

Using a utility knife, he cut it down to the right size.

After cutting it down, I used a damp towel, and wiped it clean since it had been in our storage room and showed signs of storage-room living. (If you must know, I am wearing my Lincoln '08 t-shirt. I love Abe Lincoln.)

We laid the fabric out on the table, then set the foam core on top of it. Then lifting the edges up and over, we used duct tape to tape it to the back.

Fact: Men love duct tape. They are giddy over duct tape.

We made sure to neatly fold the corners over to create a clean edge, and secured them with duct tape as well.

We then taped all the way around all four sides of the foam core, gently pulling the fabric as we taped it down.

We then flipped over the bulletin board.

See how neatly the corners look from the front? Hooray!

Using 2-inch screws, we secured the bulletin board to the wall. (This bulletin board is very, very light, so you don't need anchors. It's very easy to attach to the wall.)

Here is our finished bulletin board displaying the boys' work during our first unit - Creation! It was the perfect place to display their work, and go over it each day!

Push pins work perfectly on it and hold everything securely!

And, here it is from my boys' vantage point. I love how big it seems to them. They love it - and love tacking their work to it everyday!

So, if you want to make a foam core bulletin board, here is what you need:

1 sheet of 4' x 8' foam core
3 yards of 55" fabric
1 roll of duct tape
8 screws

That's it! We had the foam core already, but all of that should cost less than $20!

There is so much you can do to customize your bulletin board.

-You can cut down the foam core to any size you'd like.
-You could make multiple bulletin boards of all different sizes and shapes.
-It would be great in a baby's nursery or child's room - to display pictures and special momentos.
-Use different types of fabric, and add ribbon or other embellishments.
-GIFTS! Buy one sheet, and cut it down to make several bulletin boards to give away to friends and family.

This was such a fun project for us, and I love the way it looks and functions in our homeschool room.

And, I promise to take pics of our finished homeschool room soon so you can see what it looks like all around.

Have a great Wednesday, everyone!

For more tips on Wednesdays, visit We Are That Family each week.


  1. It looks great - and I love that you used tape. It seems less intimidating than glue or staples. Also - those are fantastic corners!

  2. Are you using My Father's World curriculum? I recognize the Creation pages! :0) We LOVE MFW!

    Your board looks great!

  3. I LOVE THIS!! I am totally copying you and your brilliance yet again! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Looks like you are having a blast with MFW! The board is great. My boys would love it just because it is camo.

  5. I love you, Sar... for being resourceful and fun and thrifty... and for using camo fabric. Awesome!

  6. it looks great sarah! i love the idea =) i do find it hard to find material over here though...will have to go on the hunt!
    (oh and we are also looking into getting 'my father's world')

  7. That looks so good! What a great Idea.

  8. I was just telling hubby yesterday that the boys needed a big bulletin board in their room. This will be perfect! Great idea . . . I'll definitely be trying it out!

  9. Great idea - I have something very similar in my kitchen - but don't have it covered in camo!

  10. What a great idea!! Well done. I love this. :)

  11. Also, I am having my first giveaway on my blog if you're interested:

  12. Look at you getting your craft on!!! You go!

  13. I love that! What an awesome idea! I've been needing a bulletin board too, I am soo looking into this!

  14. Tammy,

    Yes - we are using My Father's World and we love it, too!

  15. Love, Love, Love the board! When we homeschooled our triplets, we always had a " formal" school room. ( guess it was that teacher in me) I used sentence strips everywhere, had a Reading corner with little chairs, music station a ABC's across the table we used. Ooohhhh those were the days and I loved teaching them. I have to tell you as they were alot older, we resorted to no frills, sit on the sofa or at the computer school. I liked the schoolroom soo much better!!! So, treasure these times!

  16. i love the camo fabric!

    i made a few last winter... for our kitchen, our school room, and by my desk. they are so easy and fun.

    i used hot glue to attach the fabric but i love the idea of duct tape :o)

  17. Thanks for the fabulous idea! I have been thinking for quite some time about hanging up a bulletin board in the boy's toy room, but I couldn't figure out how to do it cheap. Awesome!

  18. Thank you! I'm so excited to try this for my daughter's room.

    I just have one question, did you screw through the fabric to hang it? It seems like it would tear?

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  20. Thanks so much for taking the time to post these step by step directions. You have been a blessing to our family. We just hung a 40"X84" bulletin board in our daughters' room. It was great to be able to make one that exactly fits the available space.

  21. How perfect is this? I have been searching for an inexpensive yet cute option and this is it! Thank you for sharing.

  22. Is the foam core dangerous at all? I was looking into buying a large sheet, and was just wondering, since it's normally used for insulation. I was vacillating between buying this or just the styrofoam sheets from arts and crafts stores (which are thinner and more expensive)

  23. Thanks! I am going to try it.

  24. Hey Sarah... I'm a preschool teacher, and I need an extra BB in my classroom. I need to hang it from cork tack strips in my room. I have a few questions... is it light enough to hang from the strips and can you use staples in the foam board? I don't like using push pins, b/c I teach 2 and 3 year olds. (They like putting things in their mouths! Yikes!) Did you drill through the foam and the fabric? Just wondering

  25. @jrsportschik - It is pretty light, but I'm not sure about the strips. I'm not sure about using staples either. I never tried that. Maybe try it on a test strip of the foam board?

    Yes, we did drill through the fabric and the foam.

    Hope it works for you!

  26. Brilliant Idea....I was online about to order this expensive Board when I came across your post....I'm about to head to Home Depot and Hobby Lobby for materials....Thanks!! U have saved me tons

  27. Thank you so very much for posting this!
    It's exactly what I was looking for...and inexpensive, easy way to create a large, inspiring mood board for my studio!

    I really appreciate it!
    All the best,
    Mixed-Media Map Art

  28. This is exactly what I was looking for as a large "idea board" in my home recording studio! Thank you for taking the time to blog this project!

  29. This is a fantastic idea, thanks for sharing. I'll be making one for my son and one for myself!

  30. where do you buy the foam core insulation?

  31. You can buy the foam core insulation at any home improvement store.

  32. This is great! I was going to make a giant bulleting board for our classroom/playroom and this is so much easier! Just 1 long have you been using it? Do you find that once you have pinned in a spot once that it wont hold a pin again after removed. Im just trying to think if Im going to wish i had lined with with a layer of cork, too. What do you think? are you pleased with how its holding up or are there things you wish you had done differently with it?

  33. I stumbled upon this while I was trying to find an alternative to a big expensive, ugly bulletin board, and LOVE it!!! Thank you for posting this awesome idea!!! I just made my very own, we call it our "Adventure Wall" and pin pictures, memorabilia, art projects. I used material with multicolored polka dots

  34. I wish I had found this before I took three days figuring out the exact same thing on my own, lol.... It would have been much easier to just read your instructions :)
    With the staples I found they didn't stay in, duck tape was best
    I did a soft green burlap on mine, because it was going in living room. Then I used two inch letter stencils to paint a scripture on the top. The lettering looks super neat on the burlap. I also stenciled a branch.
    I did find that I needed cork lined on top of the foam in between the fabric. Our board is above the couch and can be easily reached and bumped by little hands and I was concerned about a tack falling on the couch and into someones bottom...ouch! So I actually unscrewed the board, took of the burlap, and put down cork. .4 cm I think is what I got. I used a spay adhesive to sick it on, and that was wonderful! I wouldn't do the cork without using the spay adhesive, it dried so fast and made laying it super easy! I also spay glued on the burlap because it looked loose when I had it on wall before, that really helped it look tighter on board.
    I am really happy I used the cork, even though it ended up being more work. But a different brand of the foam core, or maybe even a different fabric than my burlap would hold the tacks better...?
    Thx for haring :)