34+ Ingeniously Smart Cork Board Ideas For Your Home & Office

Cork Board Ideas – It’s functional. It keeps your notes where you can see them. It displays photos from that magical trip to Paris, next to the lovely postcard your sweetie sent, the takeout menu for that Thai place you’ve been meaning to try and the unlikely words of inspiration you found inside a fortune cookie.

It’s … brown. You’ve had it since college. It’s your cork bored — er, board.

There’s nothing wrong with an unadorned corkboard, exactly. Cork is lightweight and resilient. It has natural properties of insulation and sound absorption. It’s an environmentally sound choice.

But if you’re looking for a way to freshen up your decor, changing the corkboard is a fast, fun way to do it. Most corkboard projects can be completed in a day or less. They can be as simple or as involved as you care to make them. The basic supplies and tools — paint, fabric, paper, scissors, craft knives, tape and glue — are easy to obtain and use. You’ll need a clean, uncluttered work area, but in most cases, you can accomplish everything within a small space.

The fastest way to change a corkboard is to take down what’s currently pinned up, and replace it with new postcards or images. However, if you use your corkboard mainly for reminders, shopping lists and the like — content that changes regularly — decorating with postcards may not be an option. It may be time to look at some more permanent ways to add brightness and color to your board.

Top 10 Ways to Dress Up Your Boring Corkboard

In this article, we’ll look at ways to modify the setting of a corkboard, as well as to change the color and texture of the cork itself. We’ll also explore a more subtle modification: custom thumbtacks. First, let’s take a look at the frame. Read on.

Frame It

Your corkboard may already have a frame, but chances are it’s fairly boring, as frames go — a plain strip of wood stained to approximate the color of the cork. You have many options to dress it up.

Paint and stain, for example, work well. If the frame is already varnished, sand it before staining or painting. Sanding creates a rough, porous surface to which the paint can more easily adhere. Next, protect the cork by lining it with wide masking tape around the inside of the frame. You may also want to spread newspaper over any uncovered areas of cork.

Paint It

Some people like the natural look of cork, but you might be tired of all that brown. If that’s the case, you’re in luck — cork is easy to paint and stain. A stain will let you match the corkboard to other wood furniture in the room. Paint gives you many options in both color and surface. A metallic-paint corkboard is a great way to brighten up a dark corner.

Check to make sure your corkboard is unwaxed. Paint and stain won’t adhere to a waxed surface. Most corkboards are not waxed, so you’re probably safe.

Dress It

Covering a corkboard in fabric is one of the cheapest, fastest and easiest ways to revamp it. A corkboard covered in faded denim makes a room casual and friendly. A velvet corkboard announces your inner diva. Suede or leather-look vinyl adds class and richness; tapestry-style fabric gives a room a sense of classic tradition.

Iron or steam the fabric, according to the manufacturer’s directions. With scissors or a rotor cutter, trim the fabric to fit the frame. Mask the corkboard’s frame, and then spray the cork evenly with spray adhesive. Be sure to open a window and turn on a fan; the fumes from spray adhesives are not good for you. Press the fabric into place. You may want to use a roller to smooth out any bubbles.

Wrap It

A paper background adds color, pattern and brightness to your corkboard. You don’t have to do much. With a craft knife, trim the paper to fit inside the board’s frame. If your board doesn’t have a frame, fold the paper neatly over the edges as though you’re wrapping a present. Score the edges with your fingers to make them look crisp.

You can affix the paper with thumbtacks, double-sided tape or spray adhesive. Liquid glues can cause the paper’s grain to warp, and you may not be able to achieve a smooth surface. Additionally, many types of glue will leave some sort of adhesive residue — either a sticky patch or a bit of black, rubbery goo that never quite comes off.

Pin It

After decorating the cork and the frame, don’t spoil the effect by using the same old thumbtacks in the same old colors — yellow, red, blue, green and white. Scrapbooking stores and craft stores have striking thumbtacks in unusual colors and shapes. Options to look for include metallic silver and gold, clear enamel, colorful bead styles and die-cut metal in flower shapes.

You can repurpose old post-style earrings into thumbtacks without making any modifications to the earrings. In some cases, you’ll need to file the tip of the post into a point. If you have any mismatched earrings, that’s the obvious place to start. Larger, costume-jewelry designs can look terrific. Check out thrift stores and garage sales for more of these. While you’re there, look for tie tacks and lapel pins, which can be repurposed in the same way.

Repurpose and Personalize

Take a photo of a post-it note with an organizational category written on it (for example, “To-do” or “Memories”). Then print this photo and pin it to a portion or column of your corkboard dedicated to that category.

You could even take this idea one step further by taking a clear, high-resolution digital photo of your entire corkboard (with all its current adornments, photos and tacked memos). Then have this image printed onto media the same size as the corkboard (or photograph, print and reassemble one section of the board at a time). Glue or tack this image to the corkboard, and then re-adorn it to your liking. The background image of favorite photographs pinned to the cork board may even allow you to put the originals away, freeing up space on the cork board while retaining the images you love in the background.

Tile It

Many people looking to spruce up their corkboards may be short of time or know-how when it comes to crafts. Join the club. Others may find that artistic additions to their corkboards make it look too “busy.” Implementing a tile design on corkboard offers an easy solution to both of these problems.

A tile design can be reproduced using paints, markers and even spray paint. Just be sure to use a straight-edged object, like a ruler, to keep your lines nice and neat.


Mixing mediums can produce interesting results when you’re getting crafty. One excellent way to do this is by adding the fruits of your needlecraft labors into your corkboard project.

Depending on the size of your corkboard, you may already have some abandoned or otherwise unused scraps on hand from previous quilting, knitting or crocheting projects that will work perfectly. These may be large enough to use as a border-to-border corkboard background, or at least provide a strong head start toward making a background piece that size.

Collage Background

While some may want to strip their corkboard of excess paper and visual clutter, others prefer adding a sense of wild visual design to the cork background. One great way to do this is to make a collage on your corkboard.

A fun and simple way to create a collage is to use magazines. You can either cut out images, or use entire magazine covers. For a “retro” look, pick up a stack of old magazines on the cheap at a thrift store. While you’re there, check out some old vinyl album covers to see if any of the images would look good in your collage. Use them in their entirety, or cut out images or band logos from the album covers to use in the collage.

Build Out

One thing you’ve probably encountered while using your corkboard is that space quickly gets scarce. With photographs overlapping newspaper cut-outs and memos fighting coupons for your attention, you may find yourself digging around to find the very thing you intended to make easy to find.

So why not expand your corkboard horizons? Of course, this can be accomplished with a trip to an office supply store. Corkboards come in a number of different sizes, and you don’t have to be stuck with the size you have.

34+ Ingeniously Smart Cork Board Ideas For Your Home & Office

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