You know how it is: you want a sexy fabric-covered pinboard for your workspace, but can’t find a sexy fabric-covered pinboard in the exact size and dimensions you want. Tale as old as time. But dry those eyes, because I’ve found a hack and I’m sharing it with you, because I am big of heart and have too much time on my hands. I present to you: your very own step-by-step DIY pinboard tutorial. Shit’s about to get sexy. And slightly dangerous.

A corkboard lies on the floor with Gorilla Glue, beige linen and a tiny stapler
Tools of the trade
On top of the corkboard are some pliers and a blue knife
One tool of the trade, one small knife you should definitely not use for this task

Step one: gather your tools

You’ll need:

-One pinboard in the size of your choice – I chose this one

-A piece of fabric big enough to cover your board and fold around the edges. I ordered this linen for texture, but you could use anything thick enough to be opaque but thin enough to still fit in the frame

-A stapler and staples

-Gorilla Glue

-Some implement strong enough to grip a staple

-Something you can wiggle the staple out of the wood with. Do not (cannot state this strongly enough) use a sharp knife. You’ll see why later.

One corner of the corkboard frame split open
The corner that made me do an injury

Step two: break your frame

Do this gently and veeeery carefully. Most wooden frames are held together at the corners with a staple. You’ll need to slide something into the inside of the corner and wiggle it around until the staple sits slightly proud of the wood, then grip it with your pliers and ease the rest of it out, leaving you with one open corner.

Emma's hand with two plasters on it
Sorry I stabbed you, hand

Note: this is why you don’t use a knife for step two – I stabbed myself in the hand, twice. It hurt. Don’t do it.

The corkboard, unframed, lying on the linen fabric
The most difficult step of all – lying a board on some fabric

Step three: place your board

You might want to take an iron to your fabric first (I did), then, lying the fabric flat on the floor, or a large clean surface, pop your board cork side down on top of it. You want there to be a fairly even amount of fabric on either side.

A close-up on the fabric selvedge, which is navy and red
Love that detail
Linen fabric folded around the board
Seemed like such a good idea

Step four: have a play about

I loved the selvedge on this fabric, and had grand plans to use it as a detail in the finished piece, but ultimate decided I liked plain best, because I am very dull and a big line through my sweet, sweet neutrals would stress me out. I am great fun at parties.

The wooden frame placed over the fabric folded around the board
Plain it is – why change the habit of a lifetime?

Step five: check you’re happy

Pop your frame on top of the covered board and make sure you like how it looks. Are you keeping up, guys? This is complicated stuff.

Staples in the fabric
Amazing what you can do with a £1 stapler when you really want to

Step six: staple for all you’re worth

Staple the fabric into place, popping one staple in about every inch or so. I used a stapler I found in a drawer that I either bought for £1 some years ago, or came out of a cracker. Some staples went in, a lot pinged off into the ether and were never seen again.

a raggedy edge at the corner of the back of the corkboard, wrapped in fabric
Will the dedication to neatness never cease?

Step seven: neaten up the corners

I use the word ‘neaten’ loosely. Your frame is only designed to fit the original board in it, so any excess fabric is going to bunch up or crack the frame. I hacked at mine with scissors to create a bit of space. Just don’t cut too close to the corners of the board or you’ll be able to see it from the front.

The wooden frame placed back over the corkboard
Please, nobody come over and out me as a bodge-jobber

Step eight: re-frame

Once you’re all stapled nice and tight, gently ease your board back into the frame, starting with the corner diagonal to the one you opened up earlier. It might take a little gentle force, but should slot in nicely.

The previously split-open corner about to be glued back together
Back in Injury Corner

Step nine: check that the fabric hasn’t puckered or ruched from the front, and straighten out any bits that have (just pull them from the back), then, once you’re happy, Gorilla Glue the be-heck out of your loose corner.

Emma's hand holding the corner together while the glue dries
Note: check you haven’t glued your hand to the frame

Step ten: and hold

Gorilla Glue dries pretty fast, but you’ll want to hold your corner nice and tight for a few minutes while it sets. You might want to hum a ditty here, or try and take a one-handed picture.

The fabric-covered pinboard on a pale grey wall
Fun fact: that tiny polaroid is the only photo we have up in our flat

Step eleven: faff

Once it’s fully dried, you get to do the fun part. Grab old magazines and fabrics, dried flowers, leaves, buttons – anything you ruddy well fancy, and create a little something that makes your heart sing. Play with layers and textures, mix up colours and tones and generally make merry. I went for a kind of moodboard with my finished piece, then realised that all the stuff was was stressing me out, so stripped it right back to just a few nice images and a little note pad we can use for shopping lists. Once you’ve faffed for at least half a day too long, hang it with command strips and sit back to admire. I’m giving you a giant high-five right now.

A close-up on a list that says: do a dance in the itchen, build a fort, make a cake, eat a cake, have a little sleep
That’s, ‘build a fort’ not, ‘build a fart’
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