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!

Looking for places to link up your projects? Check out my Party Page!

I'm also linked up here.


  1. This is just so perfect!! You did a great job and it is perfect to cover the fridge.

    I can't wait to see the tips!

  2. it looks fantastic! just perfect for the spot.
    great tutorial - will be back tomorrow to learn from all your experience with the freezer paper!!
    cheryl xox.

  3. Nice idea, Bec! Everything's turning out awesome sistar!

  4. Wow! You did a great looks just like one of those really expensive grain sacks...I love that you were able to create what you wanted with what you had on hand.


  5. Looks awesome! Great idea to hide the fridge.

  6. That turned out amazing, Becca! Love the graphic you put together for the transfer!

  7. So pretty--love it! I love the turquoise color too. I've done a few freezer paper projects--pretty fun and easy. Thanks for the inspiration. If you have time I would love it if you would stop by and share this at my linky party starting Tues. eve.

  8. Lovely job. Well done. How do you have the patience to cut out such intricate designs from freezer paper?

  9. Oh how darling! And so inexpensive! Come see the Ferris Bueller chairs I just did.

  10. Hey Nicki!
    Thanks so much for checking out my project!
    I actually didn't cut anything out. It wasn't a freezer paper stencil, it was a image transfer.

    Here's the tutorial- if you want it!

    Let me know if you have questions! {But leave your email!}

  11. What a great transformation! The stripe down the middle is the perfect touch.

  12. Great use of what would otherwise be wasted space, or a catchall for clutter!

    {saw you at a to z)

  13. That is so awesome, what a great idea! Now I wish my fridge had an exposed side so I could do this :)

  14. Great idea, agree with Steph, the blue stripe adds a really nice touch.

  15. Very Cute! I'll stay posted for the freezer paper tutorial. ;)

  16. Wow...what a great project!
    You've made it look easy ~ I'll be back for the freezer paper tute!

  17. Wow! You are quite the crafter :) Your message board is such a clever fix!

  18. WOW this is AWESOME!:) thanks for sharing!!!

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  20. FABULOUS job...what a great big beautiful size too! I felt very much "at home" reading your post...your Utah condo is set up almost identically to my Nova Scotia condo! (smiles)

    Deborah (very happily visiting from hope you can drop by when you get a chance...)

  21. Wow, love it! Thanks for sharing, what a wonderful idea.


  22. You did a great job. I love that pop of blue down the center. Nice.

  23. I love your project! I'm totally pinning this for inspiration! Found your blog through Chic on a Shoestring. :)

  24. Oh my! That was a lot of work, but totally worth it, great job!

  25. Amazing is the word! Thanks for sharing.
    Hope to see you on my blog:)

  26. This is very cool I love how this turned out!

    come link this up to scrappy saturdays @

  27. I love how it turned out! And you turned a negative into a positive. Now it's a great view! Vanna

  28. This is awesome! I love it!! I am going to have to watch for the freezer paper tutorial!! Thanks for sharing at Feathered Nest Friday! :)

  29. This is absolutely wonderful! I was drawn immediately to your thumbnail. It's just that great! I find myself coming to your blog week after week. Becoming a follower right now!

  30. Awesome!! I'm in love with it :)
    French, Burlap, Pin many of my favorite things ;)
    Great job!! - Ali

  31. LOVE this! Great work! I like that you didn't give up an just "course-corrected". I really want to do something like this for my house. Thanks for sharing!


    (visiting from

  32. So super duper cool. I'm a big fan of the french design....gotta love the graphics fairy!!

  33. Becca! It's fabulous! A real work of art. You definitely turned that ho hum side of the fridge into something amazing. Just love the graphic you chose. Can't wait to read the tutorial on using freezer paper. Thank you for sharing the details with us at Inspiration Friday!


  34. What an awesome job you did! It looks fabulous! I would love for you to link up Thursday (actually it starts tonight) to It’s a Party!

  35. This looks so great -- I love it!

  36. Perfect! I love how it pulls all of your colors together! Great Job :)

  37. i seriously thought that was a real grain sack. fabulous job!!
    i would love for you to link this up to the flashback fridays party going on over at my blog. it will be going all week!
    check it out!
    {love} lauryn @

  38. wow! It looks amazing! You did such a great job! I would not have thought to make a cork board to cover the side of your fridge! Thanks for the inspiration! Have a Happy Weekend!!!

  39. There are so many french grainsack projects out there but yours really looks unique. I love the turquoise stripes. It really looks great!

  40. This turned out so nice. Love the blue color you used. It looks fabulous. Thank you for sharing such a wonderful idea. Have a great weekend. Bobbie

  41. Another very clever and great looking project!

    Thanks for linking to a Round Tuit!
    Hope you have a great week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  42. this looks awesome! great job!

    new follower, looking forward to more of your posts.

  43. Looks great, and hides the fridge as well. Beautiful color choice:)

  44. This is beautiful! I'd hate to cover it up with anything. Thanks for sharing. Pinned it!

  45. Wow! That turned out FANTASTIC! I love the large graphic, I'm checking for the tutorial right now! I love how the side of your fridge now looks like a wall. Great job!

  46. Gorgeous! I love it! Would love for you to share this at my Motivational Monday link party...

    Hope to see you there!
    Clydia {Three Mango Seeds}

  47. It's crazy how whenever I'm looking at linky parties I always pick your stuff without even realizing it. I love this wall hanging. It is fabulous and the tutorial is great.

  48. Wow! I can't wait to learn about freezer paper transfers! Your project turned out great. Thanks for sharing!

  49. Whew ! Good one. Read like a mystery story - lots of suspense. What a great project - and what a lot of WORK. I am following you and have put a link to your blog under my Creative... links.
    - Joy

  50. I absolutely love this look! You did a fantastic job! Well done!


  51. Becca, this is just fantastic. I don't think I'd want to cover it up. My kids are just back at school for the first time this year and I'm sinking in notices from the school. I could quite easily fill this size board up. I'm thinking of decorating in burlap anyway. A fantastic tutorial as always. I want to thank you so much for linking up each week to my "Thriving on Thursdays" linky party. You always have such fantastic ideas. The party will be starting again in just over 12 hours so if you get a chance, I'd love to see what you've been up to this week.

    Anne @ Domesblissity xx

  52. Super cute! I'd love for you to link up to Do Something Crafty Friday:

  53. Wow! Great idea {again!!}. Way to cover up something not so exciting with something fabulous AND handmade! So glad you shared at Shine on Fridays; I always look forward to your projects!

  54. What a nice way to elevate the look of a bulletin board. Great addition to your kitchen.

    Beth @ Hungry Happenings

  55. What a fabulous tutorial!! It turned out beautiful. Thanks so much for linking up to Mop It Up Mondays!

  56. Love this one!!! The colors are perfect. It makes a great statement!

    I'm giving this project a little FB action on the Creatively Living FB page!

    Thanks for linkin' it up!

  57. Hello from your newest follower! I would have thought you got your hands on an antique grain sack- my favorite part of this is knowing now that I can make one! Hope you stop by and visit!

  58. That's incredible. When I saw the pictures, I assumed it was an antique or something. It looks amazing! Would you mind posting this to my link-up party also? (Making Space Mondays)


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