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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. If you look up “stuff” in the dictionary, there’s probably a picture of the top of your desk! Keep your counters and other work surfaces tidier and your stuff more organized with a pretty framed pinboard. 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. The project uses just four Fat Quarters to create the front panels and pockets, and thanks to the variety within the Simply Color Collection by Vanessa Christenson for Moda, we had plenty of colors and patterns to choose from to perfectly match our décor. 

We loved working with Vanessa and her Simply Color Collection, and think you will too. The fabric is due to hit your favorite online and brick and mortar locations in October, but you may be able to find some of the pre-cut bundles out there already. Our Marketplace vendors are always a great resource to find the latest fabric as soon as it comes out. 

Make sure you come back tomorrow for our final project and Friday for a Great Giveaway from Moda

Sewing Tools You Need

Fabric and Other Supplies

  • FOUR Fat Quarters – if you do not use Fat Quarters, you will need four coordinating cut pieces, each 18″ x 22″; we used Fat Quarters from Simply Color by Vanessa Christenson for Moda Fabrics as follows:
    Fabric for left push pin area: Simply Color Metro Dotted Zig Zag Stripe in Graphite (Moda #10804-13)
    Fabric for three pockets: Simply Color Metro Ombre in Navy Blue (Moda #10800-20), Lime Green (10800-18) and Aquatic Blue (Moda #10800-19) 
  • 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 narrow or wide).
  • ½ yard of low loft battingsuch as Warm & Natural
  • Five 1″ – 1¼” cup hooks to coordinate with frame; we used white 1¼” vinyl coated hooks
  • ½ yard of heavy-weight fusible interfacing; we used Pellon 809 Decor Bond in a 44″ width
  • All purpose thread to match fabric
  • See-through ruler
  • Fabric pen or pencil
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Scissors and rotary cutter and mat
  • 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
  • Tape measure
  • Straight pins

Getting Started

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

  1. From the fabric for the push pin area (Simply Color Dotted 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 (Simply Color Ombre in Navy Blue in our sample), cut ONE 14″ wide x 20″ high rectangle.
    NOTE: If you use an ombre as we did, fussy cut so the medium color range shows at the top. The lighter color range will then be under the pockets.
  3. From the fabric for the middle pocket (Simply Color Ombre in Lime Green in our sample), cut ONE 14″ wide x 22″ high rectangle.
    NOTE: If you use an ombre as we did, fussy cut so the medium color range fills one half of the rectangle top to bottom.
  4. From the fabric for the bottom pocket (Simply Color Ombre in Aquatic Blue in our sample), cut ONE 14″ x 14″ square.
    NOTE: If you use an ombre as we did, fussy cut so the medium color range fills one half of the 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 (the Aquatic Blue Ombre in our sample). Press it in half so the medium color range is showing and 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. Following the 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 (the Lime Green Ombre in our sample). Press it in half so the medium color range is showing and 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. Following the 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 (the Navy Blue Ombre in our sample). Place it right side up on your work surface.
  9. Place the bottom pocket on 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 hand side. 
  12. Align the left edge of the pocket panel with the right edge (if directional, if not directional, just pick one of the 20″ sides) of the push pin panel. 
  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 along the panel seam within the push pin panel. 

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 to use as guide 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. 
  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.
  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 of the extending fabric panel.
  14. Wrap that 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. 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 aregetting too bulky. And, you can tape the edges in place if it helps with the 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 “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 will 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.


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

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