Make a Not-So-Tacky Tack Board

Tack boards are great in a teen’s room, and they come in handy for Mom and Dad, too.

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This room was designed as an artist’s studio, so large areas were needed for tacking up works in progress. A tack board was built to cover the entire wall. (SHNS photo courtesy Home & Garden Television)

In a teen’s room, a tack board can provide space for posters, photos of friends and reminders to clean up the room. For Mom and Dad, a small version can serve as a memo board.

Here’s a plan for making one yourself:

Materials and Tools:

Homasote board
straightedge
utility knife or circular saw
dust mask (if using a circular saw)
fabric
scissors
staple gun and staples
tape measure
square
pencil
finish nails

Steps:

1. Measure your wall. (Using a plain wall without windows or doorways makes this project much easier.) Homasote comes in 4-by 8-foot boards. To determine how many boards you’ll need, divide the width of the room by 4. In all likelihood, you’ll have one board that will need to be cut to fit the width of the room. You’ll also need to cut all the boards 1/8-inch less than the height of your ceiling. If you have only a few cuts to make, a sharp utility knife and a straightedge work fine, but if you have to cut more than a few boards, you may want to use a circular saw. Remember to use ear protection, safety glasses and a dust mask for this project.

2. To upholster the pieces, place the front of the Homasote board facedown on the wrong side of the fabric. Cut around the board, leaving enough fabric to fold up and over. Wrap the fabric tightly, stapling as you go. Start in the middle of opposite sides of the board and zigzag back and forth, stapling one edge of the fabric and then the other.

3. To mount the boards, use finishing nails around the edges. Hide the nails, if possible, by pulling the fabric up and over them. If you don’t want to make a multitude of nail holes in the walls, you might try mounting furring strips across the area to be covered. Screw the furring strips into the studs using drywall screws. Note the location of the furring strips and mount the Homasote boards to them.

One caution about Homasote boards: Make sure the installation area is dry. The boards will absorb water and swell. Sheets of plastic foam insulation can be substituted for Homasote boards, but be aware that plastic foam sheets are easily broken until they’re attached to the wall. Half-foam core boards might also be used. They can be found at most craft stores, but sheets generally don’t come larger than 24 by 36 inches.

(Matt Fox is co-author with Shari Hiller of Real Decorating for Real People.)

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