design board tutorial

In handmade, projects + tutorials on 12/08/2009 at 5:28 am

These days I have so many designs swimming around in my noggin but I can’t seem to get my act together. All my crafty notions are scattered from one end of the house to the other and about the time I find one thing, I lose another. With an adventurous toddler underfoot, I squeeze my sewing and crafting into short snatches throughout the day so I’ve determined that if I’m going to get anything completed by Christmas, changes are in order. My sketchbook has become a close companion. It’s filled with inspiration from other places but I’m a hands-on sort of girl and have a hard time visualizing patterns and colors in an abstract way. For awhile I’ve been enamoured with the idea of a design board but all the ones I’ve seen are just enormous and a bit impractical for me. So yesterday I piddled around with what I had on hand and came up with a perfectly sized alternative. Chances are you’ve already got most (or all) of these things at your fingertips so if you need a design board (large or small), here’s a quick tutorial.


cork board – be sure the back is also made of cork or other soft material
fabric in a neutral color – long and wide enough to cover, with  plenty of extra length for the pocket
wire – this covered wire came from the floral/wreath aisle
clothes pins – I found tiny ones at the local craft chain

1. Lay the cork board face-down on the fabric (also face-down), leaving enough fabric all the way around to wrap around the edges of the board.

2. Starting at the top, fold the fabric over the edge of the board and secure on the back with thumb tacks, spaced 4″ to 5″ apart.

3. Work your way down the sides in the same manner.

 4. When you get to the bottom of the board,  pull the fabric taught and pin to the back, but then fold the excess back to the front of the board to form a pocket.

5. Wrap excess “pocket” fabric around the sides of the board and tack to the back as before. 

6. To add your wires, simply wrap them around the board and twist tightly in the back to secure them.


Aaaahhh. That’s better.

What’s your biggest challenge to keeping your workspace/studio organized and efficient? Do you keep your stash tidy or do you find you work better surrounded by chaos? If you sew, how do you store your fabric? (This problem befuddles me to no end.) Then again, perhaps chaos is good for the creative soul. And when you have a moment, I’d love to hear what you think about this. I felt more free just having read it. But I still can’t find my measuring tape…

p.s. the link to the rest of the projects and tutorials has moved to the navigation bar in the header.

UPDATE: 1.12.2010:giveaway

  1. oh, I have an old ugly cork board just waiting for this (and a skein of those red bobbles, oh my!) lovely, thanks. Molly

  2. this is such a great and pretty idea. thanks for sharing it!

  3. I love the idea. It will work great with all the crafts I do. Your question about how do you store your fabric. I tend not to buy more than I need for a project as space is limited. That said, I do have many projects in my head, thus lots of fabric:) Last year for Christmas my husband purchased me a 4 drawer cabinet by rubbermaid, works great. The drawers are long, wide and deep. I can store all my stuff right there. I also have a basket where I keep all my fat quarters. I am a very neat and orderly person, great except my husband is not. So I must keep my work area in order or else I feel overwhelmed and can not create. I am going to have to try your board I think it will give me another route for staying tidy. Good luck finding your tape measure.

    • Oh, and I bet those drawers are clear too so you can see the contents through the side. Hmmm…

      Thank you so much for taking time to introduce yourself, Trisha. I enjoyed visiting your blog and reading your post.

  4. what a happy discovery this is! I found your blog through my sister! Thank you for the inspiration. I seem to need more of that every day!

  5. This is a great idea!! I just might make it.

  6. This is a beautiful idea! Thanks! I have something similiar that I use to clothes pin magazine articles and pictures to….with a little tweaking I just might be able to repurpose it for this use!

    As for fabric storage… I am a total fabric junkie! I stock up on beautiful remmants or during fabric sales for those “future” projects. I have a storage cube tower (can be found at IKEA, Pottery Barn, or Target) and I just have yards of fabric neatly piled on top of each other. It really shows off the beautiful colors and patterns and becomes a piece of art for my sewing room, not to mention its easy to see what I have for projects. I keep all my save-worthy remmants rolled up and stacked in the top cube.

  7. i have to admit that reading your post calmed me a bit, too. i, too, have a toddler whose schedule i have to work around in order to fit in ANYTHING crafty, as well as working around him physically since he LOVES to “help”. your suggestion for a design board seems like it might just bring a bit of order to my otherwise chaotic house. thank you!!!

  8. […] Gina of bright and blithe and includes a tutorial. (Gina’s been busy!– Check out her design board, no-sew fabric bunting & washable pet bed […]

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