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Pretty Prints Please: Ribbon Memo Board

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The lowly bulletin or white board is so yesterday. You deserve a much more stylish way to display your notes and favorite photos and all the other stuff that's too cool to throw away. Find a frame you love, ours was a mirror in its previous life. In fact, we had two, which allowed us to leave one intact, turn the other into a memo board, then hang them side-by-side. Look at me, look at my stuff, look at me, look at my stuff. This almost counts as a no-sew project, but we decided to piece together our fabric covering, and so pulled out the machine. You could, of course, use a single piece of fabric ... but where's the fun in that?!

Funky frames are hiding everywhere. There's probably a few in your own house. Maybe a poster or print that no longer works with your decor? Also try thrift stores and garage sales. You just need to be able to look past the ghastly velvet painting of the big-eyed clown, and see the wonderful frame that surrounds it.

Sewing Tools You Need

  • Any Sewing Machine (we recommend the Janome 3128)
    NOTE: You only need a machine if you decide to piece together fabric scraps rather than use a single piece of fabric.

Fabric and Other Supplies

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  • Large frame with glass or mirror removed
  • Thick cork board or cardboard to fit frame
  • Quilt batting to fit frame
  • Fabric scraps to piece together to fit frame
  • 2-3 yards of ¼"- ½" ribbon in a color to contrast with fabric scraps
  • 8-12 upholstery tacks
  • Box cutter to trim cork board/cardboard
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and mat for fabric
  • Fabric pencil
  • All purpose thread
  • Straight pins
  • Hot glue gun
  • Long ruler or tape measurer


  1. Measure your frame from the back, and cut the cork board/cardboard to fit.
    Click to Enlarge
  2. Cut a piece of quilt batting the same size as the cork board/cardboard.
  3. Your fabric overlay will need to be approximately 2" bigger on all sides than your cork board/cardboard. Determine how many fabric scraps you want to piece together to create the overlay. We used just three pieces, one large piece for the center and two small matching border strips. Be generous with your planning so you have up to 3" of extra fabric on all sides and can trim exactly to size.
  4. Stitch all your fabric pieces, right sides together, using a ½" seam allowance. Press all seams flat.
    NOTE: You can, of course, use just a single piece of fabric. Piecing fabric scraps together just adds a little zing ... and we can all use a little zing, can't we? If you're new to piecing, read our tutorial: Quilting Basics Part 1: Tools, Cutting & Piecing .
    Click to Enlarge
  5. Lay your fabric overlay piece on a flat cutting surface right side down. Lay cork board/cardboard on top of fabric and center.
  6. Trim fabric as needed so you have a 2" border extending beyond the cork board/cardboard on all four sides.
  7. Remove cork board/cardboard. Place batting piece down in the same position
  8. Place cork board/cardboard down on top of the batting, matching edges.
  9. Using your hot glue gun, run a line of glue around all four edges, staying close to the edge of the cork board/cardboard.
  10. Fold fabric to the back and press to adhere to the glue line. Fold one side, then its opposite side, then the bottom, and finally the top.
  11. Lift up each corner and dab a dot of glue with the glue gun, then press the corner back down firmly. You want your fabric to be wrapped tight around the edges and everything glued down as flat as possible. This will allow your board to go back into its frame as easily as possible without any bowing.
  12. Flip your board over so the front is right side up.
  13. Cut the ribbon into lengths to fit your board. I cut mine about 18". Each ribbon piece needs to extend beyond the board by several inches, so be generous with your cuts. Arrange your ribbons in a pleasing pattern, then make a tiny mark with your fabric pencil at both ends of each ribbon piece. You can use more or fewer ribbons, depending on what looks good to you.
  14. Remove all the ribbons; we're going to replace them one by one, wrapping from the back to the front.
  15. Use the glue gun to make a small dot of glue on the back of board just behind the ribbon reference mark you made. Tack one end of a ribbon piece, then wrap the ribbon around to the front, across the middle to its opposite reference mark, and around to the back again. Pull the ribbon piece taut, and tack to the back with another dot of glue from the glue gun. Trim any excess ribbon length.
  16. When all the ribbon pieces are wrapped in this manner, flip the board over and insert an upholstery tack at each ribbon intersection.
  17. Place the board back into its frame.
  18. Fill up with memories
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    Hints and Tips

    You see in the ingredients photo above a roll of cork board. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't use the roll. It was kind of thin and difficult to keep flat. A thicker cork board would be better; you could even take apart an old bulletin board. Thick cardboard works quite nicely as well and is cheaper.



    Comments (5)

    cajungr4ann ; SANDRHART@AOOL.COM said:
    cajungr4ann ; SANDRHART@AOOL.COM's picture
    Thank you so much for all the beautiful patterns I have been looking through. You
    are so very talented, and give such easy direction. Everything is so lovely.
    I wish I were able to just make all of them !! I do not know when I will get
    started, but I bet I will have a great time. I have not had so much fun in a
    long time. Thanks again for a very pleasant evening.
    Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
    Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
    Welcome home to your beautiful baby boy! Have fun with this .... wanted to make sure you saw my notes in the "Hints & Tips"

    "You see in the ingredients photo above a roll of cork board. If I had to do it again, I wouldn't use the roll. It was kind of thin and difficult to keep flat. A thicker cork board would be better; you could even take apart an old bulletin board. Thick cardboard works quite nicely as well and is cheaper."
    Miracle Mom05 said:
    Miracle Mom05's picture
    This is SUCH great idea! I'm making my sons crib bedding/nursery set up (using all these amazing tuts of course), and he just gone home a LONG stay in the NICU, so I've been looking for a way to show off all his achievements in those long months without putting tons of holes or tape all over my walls!

    This is the perfect solution and a great showpiece to boot! Thanks! smilies/grin.gif
    Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home said:
    Liz Johnson.Editor.Sew4Home's picture
    Clever idea, Donna094! I like it smilies/grin.gif. Plus... it's a great way to recycle fabric bolt cardboard. And- I would think push pins would punch into that type of cardboard quite well. Thanks for sharing!
    Donna094 said:
    Donna094's picture
    I was thinking of using leftover fabric bolt cardboard to use. Wrap the batting then the material then the ribbon around as done above; glue where needed and add the tacks at the ribbon joinings and decorate as you like.smilies/smiley.gif