How to Make a French Memo Board

You’ve probably seen French memo boards, but you never knew what they were called.  They are the bulletin boards covered in fabric and fashioned with coordinating, criss-crossing ribbon.  The ribbon intersections serve to hold photos, notes, and more.  It’s easy to learn how to make a French memo board.

There are all kinds of styles that you can buy, or you can learn how to make a French memo board of your own.  You can combine these two options-buy one that you like, and finish it off with your own personal touches.  However, let’s assume you’re going to start from scratch.

These are the basic materials you need if you want to know how to make a French memo board:  The board itself, fabric covering, polyester batting, buttons or tacks, ribbons, a ruler, and a glue gun or staple gun.  You’ll see a few variations or additions in the instructions below.

First, choose a piece of board or cork that’s suitable for a backing.  If you use a piece of wood, it should be something soft like balsam or particle board.  Medium- or high-density fiberboards are too hard.  Cork should be substantial enough to withstand a staple gun or gluing, or glue it to cardboard first.

French Memo Board

Photo by JessiePearl on Flickr

Next, decide on the pattern for your board.  Where will it hang?  What do you want to celebrate?  You can go to a fabric store and find fabrics to fit just about any theme.  Buy a piece of fabric at least as big as your board, PLUS an extra three inches all the way around.  In other words, if your board is 16×20, you need a piece of fabric that is approximately 22×26.   While you’re at the fabric store, buy a piece of polyester batting, almost as big as the fabric cover.  Ask for low-loft-you don’t want a really thick piece.

Now you’ve got to fasten the fabric and batting to the board.  Some people use a staple gun and some use glue.  Lay down your fabric, wrong side up, on a hard surface.  Smooth it out carefully.  Next, center the batting on the fabric, and smooth that out.  Last, lay your board squarely in the middle.

Staple the fabric and batting to the board.  Put one staple at the center of each side.  Every time you put in a staple, your next staple is on the opposite side of the frame.  Don’t turn the board; work your way around the board.  Pull the fabric tautly and evenly.  Fold the fabric at the corners as neatly and smoothly as possible, and staple them well.  You can cut the edges down to make them lay flat.  Flip your board over so it’s face up.  If there are wrinkles, you might have to remove a staple and redo it.  Some people use glue for this step, but we recommend the staples.

Next, measure the ribbons for the board.  To make your latticework design, lay some ribbons diagonally from right to left and some from left to right.  Your longest ribbons will be the diagonal length of the board, plus two inches.  Lay them on the board and measure the distance between each of them so that they are spaced evenly.  Pin them in place.  Then you can fasten the ends on the back of the board with glue or more staples.

At each place where the ribbons cross, you need to fasten them down.  Some people manage to sew them down using buttons.  You can also pick out some decorative upholstery tacks.  These are stronger than pushpins, with steel-plated shafts that measure one-half inch.  Push these into the center of each crossing.  You don’t need them on the ribbon crossings along the edges.

If you are having trouble getting your upholstery tacks in, you can try hammering in some small carpet tacks and then glue buttons on top of them.  Don’t be afraid to add a few extras.  Lengths of beads, feathers, or fringes make playful or exotic touches.  Look in your local hardware and craft stores for decorative pushpins or tacks.

Once you become confident with how to make a French memo board, you can let your creative juices flow.  Create a triptych effect by using picture connectors.  You can find artwork connectors-Invis A Link is one brand-and connect three individual sections.

More tips for making a French Memo Board

If you are having a hard time in finding messages that your loved ones left you at home then you now have a choice of making an elegant memo board right at home. You do not require any special skills to make French memo boards and are sure to find many different uses for it other than pinning memos.

You will first need to collect all the material required for the memo board. You can visit your nearest stationery store and buy craft foam board of your desired size, preferably ½ an inch thick. Next, buy loft batting that has to be used as padding beneath the fabric of your choice.

Make sure that the fabric you buy is larger than the size of the board so that you can wrap it over the board and staple it on the rear side. Satin is an excellent cloth that provides a rich feel to the board. You will also need to buy another simple fabric to cover the rear side after your board is done from the front. You will also need ribbons that have to be crisscrossed over the board. You may also buy buttons that can be sewed on to complete the french memo board feel.

You will first have to lay your satin on a flat surface and place your batting over it. Next, lay your craft foam board over the batting while making sure that the batting size and the board size are the same. Wrap around the extra satin towards the rear of the board while ensuring that there is no crease in the front and then staple it carefully. The next step is to turn the board on its back and lay your ribbons diagonally across the front. Make sure to space it out correctly if you plan to use it for displaying photographs or appointment cards. Staple their ends at the rear of the boards again and then lay another set of ribbons in the opposite direction diagonally so as to form several “X” designs on the front of the memo board. You can also sew or glue buttons at each intersection to make it look attractive and also to make it easier for holding memos, photos, cards, recipes, shopping lists, etc.

French memo boards can be made in a vide variety of colors since you can choose from various finishes and shades of satin. You can also use buttons of different shapes and sizes. Once your board is complete, you can easily hang it on a wall by stapling an extra ribbon at the rear, before covering the entire rear of the board with a simple fabric so that it looks acceptable from the back. You can also make extra French memo boards and gift it to family and friends. Children and teens will surely love your creation, as this will offer them a wonderful canvas to display their drawings, sketches, paintings or photos. If you are unable to make these boards by yourself then do not worry. Simply log on to the Internet where you are sure to find many websites offering a wide range of french memo boards at reasonable rates.

You can engage in the wonderful project of making french memo boards and enjoy this activity with your children too, provided you do the stapling yourself. It would be fun to visit the store and choose the fabrics of your choice. It does not take a long time to make french memo boards and you are sure to enjoy using these boards for a very long time.

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