Homemade Memo Board

Matt Fox shows how to make a memo board to keep you and your family organized.

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Doesn't it seem like life gets more and more hectic? Modern technology, although convenient, certainly can be stress-inducing as well. There are more calls to make, more bills to pay, more things to remember. It can be overwhelming.

Like many others, my cohost, Shari Hiller, and I lead very busy lives. Sometimes, it feels impossible to keep up with all the details. We've found that keeping a memo board right by the back door helps keep us organized.

And we are not alone. Memo boards are a common sight in many homes. They can be found in the office, in the kitchen, in the shop, in the kids' bedrooms — just about anywhere there's a need to pin up a reminder or a memento.

While I might be perfectly happy with a cork bulletin board or a white dry-erase board, Shari isn't so easily satisfied. She doesn't find these boards particularly attractive, and I guess I have to agree. So, as is often the case, we decided to make our own memo boards. We used the following materials:

homasote board
quilt batting
spray adhesive
fabric
buttons
ribbon
staple gun
drill

We found that a homasote board is a very handy material to use for the base of our memo board. Homasote can be easily cut for a custom size or shape.

Homasote is also great for this project because it is rigid enough to stay straight and flat when hung on the wall, but pliant enough to accept pins or tacks.

Begin by cutting the homasote to the required size. Next, draw diagonal lines from corner to corner and from center to center of each adjoining side to create a diamond shape. Drill two holes at each intersection; these will later be used to apply decorative buttons.

Next, you'll need to cut a layer of quilt batting to the size of the board. Spray the entire face and all four edges of the board with a canned spray adhesive (typically available at home stores and paint stores). Let dry. The surface of the board is very porous, so it helps to apply one coat of adhesive to seal the face.

Once the adhesive is dry to the touch, it's time for the second coat. Spray another coating of adhesive over the face and edges of the board. Carefully lay the batting on the homasote, making sure that the batting is flat against the board.

To cover the board, we used a decorative fabric. Fabric is inexpensive, easy to apply and comes in a wide range of colors. Any large fabric store will have a selection of suitable fabrics in a fairly wide range of colors and prints.

You'll need a large enough piece to cover one face of the board, plus about three additional inches on all four sides. A 24-inch-square memo board, for example, would require a 30-inch-square piece of fabric.

Carefully lay the fabric on the board, making sure you've positioned it so that you have an even amount of overhang on all four sides. Smooth the fabric down over the batting and over all four edges. As you apply the fabric, you want to make sure that you smooth it and stretch it slightly, but not so much that you distort the fabric's weave.

To attach the fabric, cut away the excess at the corners and fold it into the edge. Staple the fabric to the back of the tile.

Stretch coordinating satin ribbons on the diagonal and attach them with staples. Be sure your ribbons line up with the predrilled holes.

To finish the memo board, sew coordinating buttons through the predrilled holes and secure them in place with a knot. Use mailing paper or wrapping paper to finish the back.

If you're anything like me, this memo board might be just what you need to help you remember all those telephone calls and appointments. I just hope I remember to use it!

(Matt Fox and Shari Hiller alternate writing this column. They also are authors of Real Decorating for Real People and co-hosts of the Home & Garden Television show Room By Room.)

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