Ballard Designs inspired message board

Ballard Designs has so many wonderful pieces in their catalog- I keep looking through the current one for inspiration!

I've been admiring the burlap and nail head message board for awhile now- for our office makeover.
As much as I love Ballard, I figured I could probably make my own for a lot less than the $79 asking price for the large board.

Here's how I made mine- you might find ways to tweak it yourself.
I'm really happy with the results!

This is Ballard's version and what I worked off of:

I started with some basic supplies:
foam core board
cork squares
fabric- (using my new fabric BFF, Osnaburg)
spray adhesive
staple gun
nail head trim

I went with a square shape just to keep things workable with the cork.  It was easier to cut the foam core and less messy.
I had to trim and piece the foam core a bit so the cork was to a solid backing:

I just used painter's tape since it was what I had next to my worktable.  Cover the seams completely so you don't have it flopping around.
Gluing the squares onto the foam core was the next step:

Once I had let these dry for a few minutes, I got out the spray adhesive and gave it a light coat of spray.

Then, I carefully laid out the Osnaburg onto the board.  I left a 2" seam all around the edge to wrap around to the back side.
Next, I pulled the edges slightly and stapled with my gun to give the edges a smooth, crisp look.

Once the fabric was on, I put four nails into the corners directly through the board to the wall.

The nail head trim went right over the nails to hide them. 
After I had the four corners covered, I did halfway point nail heads so they would be evenly spaced apart like this:

Once that was done, I just measured 4" between the remaining nail heads and it came out pretty evenly.
Here's what was on the wall before:

-and now with my new Ballard inspired message board:

This will now be a fun spot for photos and memorabilia for our Hollister inspired office!
My brother in law was kind enough to loan me his 1969 Hawaii license plate for the room.
I also kept one of the vintage postcards (previously framed in the before shot) and added a 1963 Hawaii travel brochure that I picked up at an antique store.
I found out that you could fly round trip to Hawaii, first class, (from the West Coast) for $338!
Wouldn't that be nice!  :)

Speaking of low cost, here's the cost breakdown of my project:
foam core board: $3.49
package of cork squares: $7.99
Osnaburg fabric 1 yard (with leftovers): $4.99/ yd.
nail head trim: $1.79 per package- I used just under one and a half packages
adhesives: I used what I had on hand with my supplies
Total $20.05

I saved almost $59 to make it myself!
I hope this inspires you to make a designer piece yourself!


  1. very cute. may need to spruce up my cork board or my inspiration board as I call it!

  2. That turned out very cute! I love the license plate and if I could get the West Coast for cheap I would be hopping on that plane to Hawaii!! :)
    Have a great day!!

  3. That is perfect! It looks just like Ballards! Thank you for a great idea!

  4. Great Ballard's knock-off! You just saved all of us $59 :) Looks great, Denise!
    Hope you have a wonderful week! ~hugs

  5. They are identical! Smart girl you are!

  6. I am with you I love Ballards, just not their prices, they are so easy to knock off and you did a wonderful job!


  7. well done....way to save some money

  8. Very well done Denise! Yours looks just as good as the Ballard one at such a great price. Nice work!

    Have a great day.

  9. Just one word - Fabulous! I found my 1st license plate in the shed the other day and told the hubster it's coming inside. Love that yours is from Hawaii


  10. I love this! You did a great job, I am loving the office redo.


  11. What a great project, Denise! I love how you broke down the cost and compared to the Ballard price! Nicely done!
    Best Wishes and Blessings,

  12. Looks great, I love the nail heads :)

  13. Good job! Thanks for the tutorial.

  14. Hi, Denise! I'm admiring all your creative projects here so can you please share them with us at the Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop? I hope to see you at :)

  15. I LOVE upholstery tacks....looks great!


Thanks for taking the time to leave me a note!