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Message Pinboard with Three Handy Pockets

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People in general, and kids in particular, generate lots of bits and pieces of stuff: important forms, special coupons, lucky tickets, keys to long forgotten locks... there really isn't another word for it. In fact, if you look up "stuff" in the dictionary, there's probably a picture of the top of your desk or your kitchen counter! Keep those counters and other work surfaces tidier, and everything more organized, with our pretty framed pinboard, featuring three handy, stuff-collecting pockets. 

We found our simple white frame at a local craft store, however, you could also look at second hand shops or garage sales for old framed art; remove the art and replace it with your cool pinboard. A wooden frame is best because then you can screw in cup hooks along the bottom to corral your keys.

We used four Fat Quarters to create the front panels and pockets. If you'd prefer not to use Fat Quarters, you'll need four coordinating fabric cuts that are approximately 18" x 22". Check the Getting Started section below for sizes. This could be a great ScrapBusters projects if you've been holding on to some larger pieces in your stash bin. 

We originally used the Simply Color collection by Vanessa Christenson for Moda, an older collection that is no longer readily available, but you can achieve a very similar look by choosing a chevron pattern and three solid colors to match your décor. For a very close match, we found lightweight Premier Prints Zig Zag Twill in Storm along with three similar colors of Kona Cotton: Royal Blue, Chartreuse, and Pool – all at Fabric.com. Swatches are shown below.

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • FOUR coordinating Fat Quarters - if you do not use Fat Quarters, you will need four coordinating cut pieces, each 18" x 22"
  • ONE 18" x 24" ¼" thick sheet of foam core; available at art supply and craft stores - even most office supply stores
  • ONE 16" x 20" frame
    NOTE: You need either an "open back" style built to accommodate a ½" thick canvas or you can purchase a frame with glass and backer board, then remove both the glass and the backer board (saving them for another project); if the frame is deep enough to handle both glass and backer board, it should be deep enough for the pinboard.
  • Approximate 18" x 24" piece of heavy white craft paper to finish the back of the pinboard. The actual size will depend on the width of your chosen frame (the opening will be 16" x 20", but the frame itself can be narrower or wider).
  • ½ yard of low loft batting
  • Five 1" - 1¼" cup hooks to coordinate with frame; we used white 1¼" vinyl coated hooks
  • ½ yard of 20"+ wide heavy-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon 809 Decor Bond
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors and rotary cutter and mat
  • Tape measure
  • Straight pins
  • Box cutter
  • Large T-square: optional, but helpful for cutting the foam core
  • Fabric-safe spray adhesive: we used Aleene's Fast Grab Tacky Spray
  • Clear packing tape
  • 4-8 small finish nails and a hammer

Getting Started

All cuts include the amount needed to wrap around the foam core.

  1. From the fabric for the push pin area (Zig Zag Stripe in Graphite in our sample), fussy cut ONE 14" wide x 20" high rectangle.
  2. From the fabric for the base/top of the pocket area (Royal Blue in our sample), cut ONE 14" wide x 20" high rectangle.
  3. From the fabric for the middle pocket (Lime Green in our sample), cut ONE 14" wide x 22" high rectangle.
  4. From the fabric for the bottom pocket (Aquatic Blue in our sample), cut ONE 14" x 14" square. 
  5. From the fusible interfacing, cut the following:
    ONE 14" x 6" rectangle
    ONE 14" x 10" rectangle
  6. From the batting, cut ONE 16" x 20" rectangle.

At Your Sewing Machine & Ironing Board

Creating the pinboard front

  1. Press all your cut pieces so they are nice and flat.
  2. Find the 14" x 14" bottom pocket piece (Aquatic Blue in our sample). Press it in half so it is now 14" x 7". 
  3. Unfold it, wrong side up, so you can see the crease. Place the 14" x 6" piece of interfacing on the bottom half, aligning the top of the interfacing with the crease line. There will be 1" of fabric showing below the bottom of the interfacing. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place.
  4. Re-fold the square, sandwiching the interfacing between the layers. Press again. 
  5. Find the 14" x 22" middle pocket piece (Lime Green in our sample). Press it in half so it is now 14" x 11". 
  6. Unfold it, wrong side up, so you can see the crease. Place the 14" x 10" piece of interfacing on the bottom half, aligning the top of the interfacing with the crease line as above. Again, there will be 1" of fabric extending beyond that interfacing along the bottom. Following manufacturer's instructions, fuse in place.
  7. Re-fold the rectangle, sandwiching the interfacing between the layers. Press again. 
  8. Find the 14" x 20" base/top pocket area piece (Royal Blue in our sample). Place it right side up on your work surface.
  9. Place the bottom pocket on top of the middle pocket so the middle pocket reveals exactly 5" above the top of the bottom pocket. Pin in place.
  10. Place both pockets on top of the base piece, adjusting so the finished panel is exactly 14" wide x 20" high. Measure carefully to insure your horizontal pocket edges are nice and straight. Pin in place.
  11. Machine baste all the layers together along the right side. 
  12. Align the left edge of the pocket panel with the right edge of the push pin panel (if directional, if your push pin panel is not directional, just pick one of its 20" sides). 
  13. Place the two panels right sides together and pin in place.
  14. Using a ½" seam allowance, stitch the two panels together. Press the seam allowance toward the push pin panel. 
  15. Using thread to match the push pin panel, topstitch ¼" from the panel seam within the push pin panel, securing the seam allowance.

Wrapping and inserting the pinboard into the frame

  1. Cut the foam core to fit your frame. We used our box cutter and T-square to cut a 16" x 20" piece.
  2. Find the 16" x 20" batting. Place the batting on top of the foam core, aligning all the edges. 
    NOTE: You will be using glue for these steps; we recommend covering your work surface with protective paper or plastic that can be thrown away when you're done. You may also want to wear thin rubber gloves when working with the adhesive.
  3. Fold the batting back to reveal one half of the foam core. 
  4. Spray the foam core with adhesive.
  5. Place the batting back down into place and press flat with your hands. 
    NOTE: The adhesive adheres quickly, so be careful and go slowly, making sure you have things where you want them the first time.
  6. Repeat to adhere the opposite site of the batting to the foam core. 
  7. Using your clear ruler and a fabric marking pen, draw a light-colored line down the center of the batting. You will use this as a guide line to center the front panel. 
  8. Find the completed pinboard front panel. Measure 5" down from the top edge of the bottom pocket and place a pin at the outside edge or drawn a small line at the edge. This is your pocket depth guide for the bottom edge. 
  9. Place the pinboard front panel right side down on your work surface. Make sure the area is glue-free before doing this!
  10. Place the foam core, batting side down, on the fabric panel.
  11. Adjust the foam core so your drawn guide line on the batting aligns with the center seam of the panel. Then, the other critical measurement is to insure that, after wrapping, the bottom pocket is 5" deep so it exactly matches the middle pocket. Use the mark you made on the front panel to adjust the bottom edge as needed.
  12. On our sample, we ended up with approximately 2" along the top, 1½" along the bottom and 3¼" along both sides.
  13. Spray adhesive along one side edge of the extending fabric panel.
  14. Wrap that side edge tightly around the foam core and flat against the back. Press it in place with your hands.
  15. Repeat to wrap the opposite side edge. Then, repeat to wrap the top edge and, finally, the bottom edge.

    NOTE: It's important to go in this order to get a nice smooth and even wrap: side, side, top, bottom. You could go: top, bottom, side, side. Do NOT try to go out of order: bottom, side, top, side.
  16. You can cut away some of the fabric at the corners if you think they are getting too bulky. And, you can tape the edges in place to help everything stay flat when wrapping. 
  17. Find your frame, flip it over to the back and drop in the wrapped pinboard, gently pushing it down into place.
  18. Hammer a small finish nail at each corner to help hold the foam core in place. This is similar to the little pins that come with off-the-shelf photo frames. You can also place a nail at the center of each side.
  19. Cut the piece of craft paper just slightly smaller than the back of your frame
  20. Carefully and evenly apply the craft paper to cover all the back "mess" for a nice finish. Secure in place with a strip of clear packing tape along each side. 

    NOTE: For an even cleaner finish, you could skip the tape, apply spray adhesive to all four sides of the back of the frame, and carefully roll the paper into place, pressing down to secure. The spray adhesive will look wet for awhile and may bleed through the paper, but it dries quickly and any darkness or discoloration from the bleed-through should disappear.
  21. Mark the bottom of the frame for the placement of the cup hooks. They should be evenly spaced across the bottom. 
  22. Screw the hooks into place. 
    NOTE: Many of the inexpensive frames you find are made of very hard wood. We recommend pre-drilling a small starter hole for the screws. Trying to screw right into the frame is likely to cause the wood to split. 
  23. Attach your favorite type of hanger. As you see in the photo above, we used two small side screws and a wire. If you are new to picture hanging, we have a great tutorial

Contributors

Project Design: Alicia Thommas
Sample Creation and Instructional Outline: Debbie Guild

Section: 

Comments (6)

maggie D. said:
maggie D.'s picture

Thanks to Sulky, I have found your website, and right off I want to copy your organizer!!!!! I need it in the worse way----keeping bills in order! Thanks. But, I think that I will use some of the very interesting "duck" fabric available now!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Maggie - Welcome aboard - we're so glad you've found us! Let us know how your version turns out. If you follow us in social media, we'd love to have you post a picture. We are sew4home on Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter and sew4home_diy on Instagram.

Beverly said:
Beverly 's picture

I just got a notice that we are having a silent auction at work and the organizers are asking for folks to donate items to it.  We use the money to adopt kids from our local Salvation Army Angel Tree.  This will be a great item to make and donate!  Thank you!

I wonder if using a piece of felt cut to size would work on the back instead of the paper?

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Beverly - Let us know how yours turns out. A thin felt would work well - you'd need to glue it in place.

DebS said:
DebS's picture

What a unique project. I love the pockets - something my own board does not have. Looks like I'm adding something to the to-do list! Thanks again for all the great projects Sew4Home!

Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture

@Deb - Thanks! We really liked the concept of pockets; you don't necessarily want to stick a pin into everything!

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