I don’t know about you, but I’m a visual person. I learn visually, and I need things left out if I want to remember them. Out of sight for me is literally out of mind. Here is where today’s tutorial comes in, for some super quick fabric cork boards – you can organise your sewing space, or home office, or any other place you need. They cost only a few dollars to make, and are easily hung and removed again, making them ideal if you want to change up the look every now and then. They are even ideal as last minute gifts for the crafters or students in your life!
All you need is some fabric that you love, a pack of cork heat mats from Ikea, a little bit of needle and thread and some imagination! Hot glue gun skills are optional. I used the Command Picture Hanging Strips to hang my boards up, you can easily use the small ones as there is relatively little weight in each board.
To make things a little more fun, I used this adorable Matryoshka doll fabric that I had been gifted to decorate one of the boards. A simple green gingham fabric was the perfect background. Some fusible adhesive, like the Thermoweb Heat’n Bond Lite Iron-on Adhesive pictured above will be ideal for fusing the two fabrics together. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to glue the first side of adhesive to your image in preparation for adding it to your background fabric.
Cut your background fabric out, leaving a generous margin around the edge of the cork mat. The sides are quite thick, so you do need to allow a couple of inches. If you use pinking shears, your main fabric is less likely to fray in the process of stretching it around the board.
After carefully trimming around your applique, position it in the centre of your background circle. You can see here I made two light fold lines in the gingham to help me line it up. Using your iron on the recommended setting to fuse this down.
I used the built in blanket stitch on my Janome sewing machine to sew neatly around the edge of the applique. You could also choose to stitch in a loose freemotion around the edge of the shape. It’s not essential in terms of wear and tear, but it certainly gives it a more finished look.
Next, you loosen off the tension and increase the stitch length on your machine and run a line of straight stitching around the outside of the circle, aiming for about 1/4″ in from the edge. I stitched this wrong side up, so that the bobbin thread, which is the one you use to gather the edge with, will be on the right side of your circle. Above I have knotted off the top threads after the circle met (but not overlapped), and I am starting to ease the bobbin threads around the outside. There is a bit of wriggling and easing needed, as it will tend to gather more where you are pulling and less on the opposite side of the circle, so I will flip the board over a few times as I do this to make sure my applique remains centred.
A few minutes later, and we are ready to knot off the bobbin threads. This ensures that the gathers won’t ease themselves undone. Use your hot glue gun to run a line of glue just inside the fabric edge, all the way around the circle. Give the fabric folds a good press into the glue and that will ensure your beautiful cork board will look crisp forever. You are ready to mount your new cork board on the wall! Including the applique time, I made two of these in less than an hour, stopping to take photos along the way.
You can see here the second one I made, of simple owl fabric. It’s an ideal way to show off a favourite fabric pattern or colour co-ordinate your pinboards – orange for ideas, red for urgent, green for fun etc.
Up on the wall, with a couple of special, beautiful business cards (Arabesque Scissors and Wild Boho) The third cork board was made by using up a piece of patchwork that was originally gifted to me in an embroidery hoop, but turned out to be the perfect size for this cork board.
The other pieces hanging on there for now are some inspirational cards from Kikki K. I love the words, the colours and the typography of them. This adorable little vignette has now found a home over my computer desk area in my studio, and I am sure that it will help keep me organised, on task and hopefully on time!
Where could you use a little organisational help – or do you have any great systems of keeping track of your wip and deadlines to share with us? Please shout them out in the comments!
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