September 4, 2011

DIY French Grain Sack & Framed Bulletin Board

Here's the after photo, a huge pin up board resembling a framed french grain sack. 
Wanna see how I got there?

This project started as the need to cover an eye sore.
The way our condo is set up we have a constant view of the side of our fridge. Not awesome. 
Awhile back I decided to make a custom message center or bulletin board to hide camouflage the appliance and provide some extra function in the small space. 

After deciding what I was going to do in the space, I waited goodness knows how much longer to find a frame in the right price range (it was actually free) that was big enough to fit an entire pin up board inside of it,

I needed an opening measuring 2 x 3 feet.

How do you like this gorgeous before?
{no wonder it was free, huh?)

Sorry for the sloppy pic, I had so many items to photograph that day, I just piled them on top of each other and took one after another. The bulletin board was also snagged for free the same day, one side had chipped cork, but the other was in great shape.

The next steps consisted of the usual:

sand the frame, prime it with 4 coats of Kilz to cover the red wood hiding under the gold paint, paint it with three coats of Krylon's gloss white and then spray a layer or two of gloss sealer
 For the fun stuff, the design of the board I turned to Google images and Pinterest for inspiration. 
I had pretty much decided to do a post mark/ french script theme, but the project never seemed to get started. My fridge is located very close to the new gallery wall, so I felt a huge framed piece needed to be just right; as to not compete with all the other frames but to compliment what was already done instead.
Finally, I went back to the drawing board for the design.

After looking through some of my Pinterest favorites I decided a French Grain Sack look would work better for my space. This I knew exactly how I wanted it to look.
I started by attaching fabric to the bulletin board.
For a fabric, I used regular old burlap. It is supposed to look like a grain sack after all. To adhere the fabric to the board I used some spray adhesive I already had. It worked like a charm.

I wanted a pop of color on the "grain sack" to keep things from getting too boring in the kitchen.
I mixed a few colors (turquoise, sea green, white and black) until I liked what I saw, then watered it down- a lot.

I used painters' tape to create stripes on the burlap and dry brushed the watered down paints on, while also working in some brighter shades here and there.
I think watering down the paint helped it to appear older, more weathered and kept it from looking thick or freshly painted.
I was a little worried the paint would seep down onto the cork board, but it didn't at all.
I'm sure it I wasn't dry brushing it on than it would have.
I also didn't have any bleeding under the tape- which obviously rocks!
Feel free to grab this and use it, it you'd like.

It took about ten minutes to dry, then we were ready to transfer our images.

I  created an image using graphics form the Graphic Fairy. Then used freezer paper to transfer it onto my burlap. The 2 tutorials I read were pretty brief so I learned a lot through trial and error {a lot of the later.}

I'll post the full freezer paper transfer tutorial tomorrow, that way you guys can get all the details and learn from my mistakes experiences. My total graphic ended up being 26 inches high and 16 inches wide- and took a total of 12 printed pages to transfer.

I was initially hoping to separate the bulletin board from its frame. Then cover only the cork with fabric and paint the bulletin board frame the same color as the real frame. I had hoped to make it look like the frame was really thick.

{Does that make sense? A frame inside a frame?}

Unfortunately, my pin up board was an inch shorter than the backer board.  It would have left a gap on one side of the frame and was just enough of a size difference to ruin that plan. You can see it right below.

So instead I wrapped the burlap around the whole board. I used a ruler to make the burlap crisp where the cork met the frame. I don't mind the look of it at all, thankfully.
  When the front was secured I used a strong glue to attach the bulletin board to the original backer board/ hard board that came with the frame. It was actually automotive glue- but that's only because I knew it was strong and I already had it on hand.
I let it dry for a few hours.
You don't have to go and buy it, but it worked great for me. I'm pretty sure they'll be stuck together forever.

I used more spray adhesive to attach the burlap around the outside of the bulletin board frame and around the back of the hard board. After it was straightened out, you really cannot even tell the heights were unequal.

Now the boards are glued together, the burlap is affixed to the front and of the bulletin board and wrapped around both of the boards. By affixing the bulletin board to the backer board it's now possible to fit the hardboard into the frame exactly how it was supposed to fit.
The hard board sits on a grooved wood ledge and the bulletin board rises up from inside the frame.
So you can pop the bulletin board into the frame and nail the back into place.
At one point I someone may have jammed the board into the frame before they were fitted properly.
This caused all four corners to split a little. No biggie though, all you need it a little silicone and you'd never know a crack was there. I apply it with my finger, then wipe it smooth with a clean finger. {real technical stuff!}
If you've made it this far, congratulations! Imagine if I'd thrown in the freezer paper tutorial?
I used this "Industrial Strength" Velcro to attach the frame to the side of the fridge. It is so strong I think it could hold me to the side of the fridge! 
The Velcro adhesive takes 24-48 hours to cure. 
So I had this {book holding up frame and blocking garbage can} situation happening overnight. 

Here you can see see how the side of the fridge is visible from everywhere in the living room. I'm pleased with how the grain sack turned out, is looks legit.

If you want an awesome, complete, and in depth tutorial on the freezer paper transfer technique, then check out my post tomorrow.

Thanks for reading!

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