Make a Custom Bulletin Board with Acoustical Tile

I am one of those people who tends to not function at my best when my surroundings are not pleasant and inspiring.  Yes, I can survive – but really, life is too short not to have some lovlies around you while you work.

A while back I was working from home with increasing regularity and I really wanted to fill the space above my work area with something fun, lively and inspiring.  I decided that since I like to change things up occasionally, a bulletin board would be the best solution. Because my husband and I share a working desk area, I knew I would want something similar for his side of the desk.  I also knew I wanted some graphic punch and that it could not be too feminine, since I was “gifting” my husband with the same scenery.  Oh, and did I mention that I wanted it to be inexpensive?  No sweat, right?

Make a Customer Bulletin Board with Acoustical Tile  | countingwillows.comFirst off, this is the space I wanted to transform with the bulletin boards.

Make a Customer Bulletin Board with Acoustical Tile  |

As you can see, I had a board on my side of the desk (the left side), but it was not holding up well, was too small and there was not any consistency between the two work areas.  Because this room is visible from the kitchen/dining area and is near the bathroom on this level, I wanted it to look nice even when we are not working in here.

As I mentioned before, I wanted a graphic punch and had specific colors in mind, so I decided my best bet was to find a fabric that worked for me and make my own bulletin boards. Finding bulletin boards already made in my sizes was not likely to happen and having them custom made would definitely not be inexpensive.  I found a fabric I loved, bought it with a 40% off coupon and set to find some material we could use to make the board.

Lucky for me, when we headed to the home improvement store to try to figure out what the board could be made out of, we found these 2′ by 4′ acoustical ceiling tiles that fit the bill perfectly (here is a similar one).  They are light (my husband was worried about putting a lot of weight on the wall), easy to cut and can hold a push pin.  I have used homasote board in the past, but these were less expensive and easier to work with for this project.

Make a Customer Bulletin Board with Acoustical Tile  |

I gathered up my supplies and was ready to go.  I used a long ruler, an utility knife, a tape measure, some fabric and inexpensive pin tacks.  Since the tacks would not be seen, I just picked the cheapest flat tacks I could find.  All told, the supplies cost me just over $19 for both boards total!Make a Customer Bulletin Board with Acoustical Tile  |

I started by cutting the board to the correct length and width.  It worked well to score the front and push nearly all the way through.  Then I could see the same line on the back, cut lightly along the back and break the extra piece off.  It was a little rough along the edges, but the fabric covered that up.

Make a Customer Bulletin Board with Acoustical Tile  | countingwillows.comNext, I laid out my fabric.  Note that I used the BACK of the tile as the FRONT of the bulletin board.  The face of the tile has more holes and could mess with you when you are pinning things to the board.  So use the BACK of the tile as the front of your bulletin board.  Then, while the board was still right side (back of the tile) up, I stretched and tacked the material into place in a few spots, so I could make sure the design stayed straight.

Make a Customer Bulletin Board with Acoustical Tile  | countingwillows.comThen I flipped the board over and finished tacking it all around, neatly folding the corners in similar to wrapping a present, just tucking and pulling where I needed to to make the front look good and the back not too bulky.  Don’t be shy on the corners – use the tacks as needed to hold the fabric in place.  You can see here how the face of the tile is actually the back of the bulletin board.

Make a Customer Bulletin Board with Acoustical Tile  |

We set them in place and I loved how it was looking!  To install them, we had to think a bit.  In the end, we used four clear 3M Command Hooks per board, two on the top (upside down) and two on the bottom (right side up) to hold the boards into place.  Because the tile is so light, it worked great.  Over a year later, the boards are still tight to the wall.  We had the hooks on hand, so that is not included in the $20 total.

Make a Customer Bulletin Board with Acoustical Tile  |

This is how my side looks hung on the wall.  You can just make out the clear clip on the top, middle of the third circle in from the right.  They are not noticable at all.

Make a Customer Bulletin Board with Acoustical Tile  |

And this is how it looks as I sit here today.  I love looking at special pictures of my family and having a spot to put inspirational quotes and images.

Make a Customer Bulletin Board with Acoustical Tile  |

As I mentioned, we did this project over a year ago and we are very happy with the boards.  It is always nice to reflect on how something works a while after it has been in use, so here are some thoughts about the project in retrospect.

Because the board is covered in fabric, you can see the pin holes even after you remove the pins.  For that reason, I would probably not use this graphic print for a board that will see lots of changes.  For an ever changing board, I would pick a fabric with smaller, busier print or more of a texture than a print.

Also, the tiles work perfectly for simply pinning paper and photos.  If you have heavier things to hang, you might want to consider using homasote board.  It is stronger and could stand up to heavier items.

Still, two large, custom boards for under $20 is a steal, so I would call this a worthwhile project!

If you try this project, please let me know – I would love to hear how it works for you!

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  1. says

    I’ve just covered a corkboard in fabric for my husband to use in the study. I love what you did in your work area. Thanks for the tip about the pins I’ll have to keep that in mind when I’m buying pins for his board.

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