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How to Make a Pocket Bulletin Board

One of my favorite projects from the sewing room makeover was the quilt-inspired bulletin board that we made.  It all started when I came across this image from a "quilt block" keyword/image search on Google...

Image Source

I was looking for some creative designs to use for the large art piece we hung by the door, but for some reason, this image really spoke to me.

I was already planning to cover some cork boards with fabric for a bulletin board above the computer, but when I saw this photo, it instantly jumped off the page at me as if it were 3D.  I think the illustration of the ombre colors helped to create this visual, because I viewed the segments as individual pieces...as layered pieces, if you will.

In my mind, I pictured this as a quilt of pockets, and I realized that this could be a cool concept for the bulletin board because it could be used to pin, clip, or tuck notes and important reminders.

Since my dad and I were busy refinishing the tables and installing items in the room, I handed creative control of this project over to my mom.  It only took a quick session to show her the photo and explain what I had in mind, and she took over the rest.

She started by creating a paper template of the various fabric cuts that would be needed.  You can see that the back piece of fabric is much larger than the front piece. 

The exact dimensions will vary based on the size of cork board you use, but as an example, picture the back piece (piece C) as a 6x6 square...the middle piece (piece B) as a 4x6 rectangle...and the front piece (piece A) as a 2x6 rectangle.  Layering these pieces (C on bottom, B in the middle, and A on top), lining up the bottom edge, creates the pockets.

If our board would have come in even dimensions of 6, this project would have been much easier...but unfortunately, some manufacturer out there thought it would be funny to make boards that were 17x23...which made finding the perfect square size more challenging.

Luckily for us, my mom's quilting experience has her used to number-crunching like this, and she tackled the math like a pro.

She also used her paper templates to double check the block size before she ever cut a stitch of fabric.  I thought this was very wise, especially since she was able to catch some changes that needed to be made to adjust the fit.  Pretty brilliant, if you ask me!

Once the measurements were finalized, she cut and sewed the individual blocks into the pocket form.  Then she sewed each block to mimic the pattern shown in the photo...just like sewing a quilt.

Before I forget...this "How To" would be completely lame if I forgot to remind everyone to factor in the hem and seam for each piece of fabric.  Going back to our example of the 6x6, 4x6, and 2x6 squares, this means you'll need to add a quarter inch to each side (1/4 at the top to fold over for the hem, and 1/4 on the remaining sides for the seam allowance for when you sew the blocks together).

I also want to point out that you will not need to hem piece C (but you will still need the 1/4" seam allowance up top) because it will be sewn on all sides within the seam.  I hope that makes sense, and that I just saved you a failed-project-induced-migrane.

When everything is sewn together, you should wind up with something like this.  We added a 2 inch boarder around the edge of the "quilt" because of the odd measurements of the cork board.  This gave us something to wrap around the edge to staple to the back.

Speaking of staples...this is where I jumped into the project.  Before I flipped the board over, I first pinned the "quilt" overlay into the position that I wanted (ahhh...the beauty of cork boards).

Then when I flipped the board over, I pinned all four corners from the back side, so that I could remove the pins from the front before adding the staples.  These pins kept the fabric where I wanted it, and allowed me to pull the fabric tight around the edges.

Once all of the edges had been stapled I removed the pins, and did a happy dance!  The dance was in celebration of the completed project.  All that was left was to hang the boards in their designated spot above the computer...

My favorite thing about this bulletin board is that it can be used for organizing notes in 4 different ways!  Allow me to show you the various options...

Option 1:  Tucked in Vertical

Option 2:  Tucked in Horizontal

Option 3:  Clipped

Option 4:  Pinned

Pretty cool, right?  I'm totally thinking about making one for myself now to use in the laundry room as a super-bulletin board.  I think it would be a great way to keep track of loose socks, incoming mail, and other items that seem to wind up all over the house.

But in the mean time, I hope my mom is enjoying hers...

Now, before I wrap this up, I wanted to take a brief moment to admit to something you may have noticed in the photos above.  You may have also read this mentioned in an earlier post about the sewing room, but yes...the push pins you see up top are actually painted to match the color scheme.

It's sick, I know...but I just couldn't help myself...

My sister and I dipped two whole packages of clear push pins in some leftover paint, just to make them look a bit cuter inside the ceramic bird dish.

Ohhhh, the things we'll do for great design!

I hope this summary gave you a good idea as to how this project came together, but if I missed anything please shoot me a line.  Sometimes I get loopy, sometimes I ramble, and sometimes I skip important steps...so don't hesitate to ask any questions you might have.

Thanks for stopping by!



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