By Jessica Wilson
I’ve long been a fan of clipboards. They make me feel official. Sure, a list is a good start towards accomplishment, but when your list is clipped to a clipboard it projects an air of efficiency. At least, I like to think so. There are all sorts of ways you can dress up a clipboard, from painting to mod-podging with fabric – your options are many. When I was still in the throes of unpacking from a move, I wished I had a clipboard to organize all the scraps of paper I jot notes on. My clipboard, however, was packed away in one of them darned boxes that threatened to crash on my toes as they tilted this way and that like wallflowers waiting to be asked to dance. To solve the stress of searching I thought I could make my own. I had clothespins aplenty and more pieces of cardboard than the recycling bin, but then, whilst out and about, I spotted a most gorgeous bamboo cutting board for all of $5 and decided that THAT would become my new clipboard, my new and improved clipboard. So happy with it, I’ve written up a how-to just for you readers. There is very little you will need to purchase other than the cutting board, I hope.
Materials and Tools
Flat bamboo cutting board with cut-out handle
Assorted fabric scraps optional
Heat’n Bond or similar iron-on adhesive
Super tacky glue such as E-6000
Wooden clothespin I found bamboo clothespins at my local World Market
Cork coasters, cork floor protectors, or a pack of cork buttons
Handful of thumbtacks
Equal handful of vintage buttons
Chalkboard contact paper or clear contact paper
Small strip of thin elastic, approximately 6″
Small notebook or assorted paper pieces
Thin cardboard optional. Can use cereal and other food boxes.
Step 1: Give your cutting board a wipe and a rinse. Dry thoroughly with a cloth before applying any glue. To add a bit of fabric pizazz, pick out a large scrap that will cover about 3/4 of the board. You can get all fancy and use a ruler to measure, or you can do like I do and simply grab a piece of fabric and see how much it will cover before trimming it down to a rectangle. Bring it over to a hot iron and create a nice hemmed edge all the way around.
Step 2: Glue or sew your hemmed edges down. If you sew the edges you can add a small loop of elastic to one side to act as a pen keeper when the whole fabric piece is in place. Now apply Heat’n Bond to the back of your fabric according to the package instructions. Peel off the backing and iron the fabric piece to your cutting board. If it won’t bond (one of my boards wouldn’t hold the stick), use E-6000 to adhere to the board.
Step 3: Use a hefty dollop of glue to adhere your clothespin to your board. You can use the Heat’n Bond to cover your clothespin with fabric if you’d like.
Step 4: Break out your cork coaster or floor protectors and figure out where you want to place it/them. The floor protectors are generally backed in adhesive so sticking them on is extra easy – just peel and stick. They are, however, fairly thin, so you may need to double up on them. One of my boards used a coaster and the other used up ten protectors (five, doubled up). If you need to glue your cork down, slather the back with your glue and press it on to your board.
Step 5: To personalize your thumbtacks, give each tack a swipe or two with a small square of sandpaper to roughen the surface up. Pop them into your cork, add a small dollop of glue, and then a button. Set aside to dry.
Step 6: To add your notepad you can repurpose a store-bought notepad with the cover removed, or you can make your own. To make your own, select an assortment of scrap paper and trim down to a size that fits on your board. Bring it to your sewing machine and give it a small running stitch across the top. The closer the stitches are together, the easier the paper will rip off. Give your hand-sewn notepad a little support by gluing it to a piece of thin cardboard. Once dry, use scissors to trim the cardboard around your notepad. Cover the back of the notepad with glue, but before gluing the whole shebang to your clipboard, cut a small snip of elastic (about 2″), fold it in half, and position it to the underside of your notebook. This will be handy to hold your writing implement of choice.
Step 7: You can create a whiteboard or chalkboard to add to the back of your cutting board by simply sticking a piece of clear contact or chalkboard paper to the wood. If using clear contact paper, you can also stick the paper to a solid fabric of your choice and glue the whole bit to the back of your board. Dry erase crayons or markers wash off easily so you can use your board over and over again.
Step 8: Fill your board with all sorts of happy ephemera. And hang somewhere for easy grabbing. This project has oodles of customizations. Use more clothespins and less tacks or more corkboard and no clothespin, it’s all up to you! Enjoy!
About the Author:
Jessica Wilson is most happily known as “jek in the box” and spends most of her time crafting it up and taking pictures. She can often be found standing on benches over on Flickr and creating all sorts of kiddie crafts on her blog scrumdilly-do! She lives a life of scrumdillydilly and loves to share.