Tutorial: How to Transform a Framed Picture into a Corkboard

>> Sunday, June 14, 2009



When I moved into my apartment, the black framed picture (see "before") was hanging in the kitchen. Having nothing immediately at hand to replace it, I left it perched above the stove. But I never liked it and the glass was already broken. When I painted my kitchen this spring, I decided it was time to repurpose the picture. I decided that Pain Francais would become a corkboard (see "after"). For under $10, you can do this too. [I'm sorry for the poor picture quality, this was a nighttime activity.]

framed picture (or empty frame)
foam core board ($2.99)
1/4" cork (I bought a large piece for $2.99)
spray paint -- if you want to alter the frame color ($3.44)
utility knife
ruler/straight edge
sawtooth picture hanger
scotch tape
packing or masking tape

1. Remove backing, image, and glass from your frame. Depending on the frame, you may need to cut off tape to do so (use your utility knife). If there is a cardboard backing, keep it. Also keep the image (or mat) for tracing purposes.

2. If you are going to paint the frame, take the frame and spray paint outside and paint it. Two coats should be sufficient. I transformed a black frame into a light yellow one and did not use primer. I recommend covering the area with newspaper or other paper/dropcloths.

3. While the paint dries, cut out foam core board and cork to the appropriate size. I used the image in the frame to get the most accurate piece. I taped the the image to the foam core board and used a metal ruler and utility knife to cut along 2 edges. I then did the same for the cork board.

[On the left, the already cut piece of foam core board, on the right, the image laid on the cork board prior to cutting).

It's wise to protect your cutting surface with either cardboard or a self-healing mat.

4. When the painted frame is dry, check to make sure that the foam core board and cork board shapes fit the frame.

5. Remove the foam and cork from the frame, and glue the cork to the foam board. Only the cork will be visible later, so it doesn't matter which side of the foam board is attached to the cork board. I used a paintbrush to spread modpodge evenly on the foam board before laying the cork on it. You may find that spray adhesive works just as well; I simply used materials already in my house. To facilitate attachment, lay heavy books on the foam/cork shape.

6. When the glue has dried, place the foam/cork shape into the frame, with the cork facing down (so it will be visible from the front). Make sure to wedge it in well, so it is flush with the edge of the frame.

If your picture had a piece of cardboard in, place, the cardboard on top of the foam core board. This should reach the edge of the frame. Carefully tape the cardboard to the edge of the frame. I used packing tape because I had it available, though masking tape or framers' brown paper masking tape might be better.

7. Decide which direction the frame will hang. If necessary, add a sawtooth picture hanger on the appropriate edge of the frame. Make sure to center it. I find it helpful to use a little scotch tape to hold the sawtooth piece in place while you nail it in.

8. Hang it up, add some pictures or mementos, and admire your handiwork!

The yellow-framed corkboard complements the other wall hangings in my study, such as this silk painting my parents brought me back from China (and they didn't know the wall color!):

A little closer:

And less exciting, but still rather nice, some framed paper:

My study is small, but has 4 white-trimmed windows. I love the deep purple and light yellow combination throughout the space -- or, rather, I love it almost as much as I adore the built-in, floor-to-ceiling bookshelves.

(This picture was taken about 9 months ago, the book collection has only grown.)


Micki June 16, 2009 at 4:53 AM  

Thanks for the wonderful ideas!

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