The History Keepers ::: The Life Sized Pinboard Cork Wall

So we've been talking about history keeping and the history keepers and perhaps you are thinking that it is all too closed away -- shoved away in attics and drawers and forgotten.  Perhaps you are right.

Today, we are going to talk about keeping history front and center for your children and planting those seeds of history in their MINDS instead of on paper.  While the examples I use in the tutorial below are of "pinnable" things like recipes and such, this wall o' cork is now used for pinning photos and ephemera -- the fabric of our lives so to speak.  It is a way to show the kids what matters -- to plant images in their heads even if those images are lost someday.  It is a way to introduce a tactile method of THEIR memories as THEY pin things to the wall.  Join me as I show you how to make a life-sized pinboard for the entire family!

Our other use for this giant wall O cork?  ALLLLLLLLLL those art projects!  School has started and the art has started coming home in droves.  We start in one corner and display the best of the best until the wall is full.  Then, we decide which to keep and start all over again.  Ready to learn how to MAKE a wall 'o cork?

basement cork wall amy renea a nest for all seasons


So here is the thing.  I love pinterest.  I am totally a pinterest girl.  I have over 125 boards.  (EDIT -- I have cleaned them out to around 108 boards or so now...STILL way too many!) Seriously.   Good GRACIOUS that is a lot of boards!  What am I thinking??  All of that to say -- I miss old school inspiration boards.  I miss flipping through magazine, ripping out the pages with that satisfying top to bottom swwwwish and pinning them on corkboards.  I miss the tactile handling of inspiration.  

Pinterest gives us the entire world of art to explore, pin and capture, but there is still that missing element of interacting personally and physically with the clippings.  There is something about those old magazine clips that make you connect more deeply to the photo, the art, the design, the vision of the creator behind them.  So I decided that I wanted to bring back that feeling and go BIG with a life-sized cork pinterest wall, with pared down boards, pared down pins and the simple celebration of inspiration -- old school.

cork board diy basement cork wall amy renea a nest for all seasons

It all starts with a good old fashioned corkboard.  I "pinned" a few clippings, gave my board a title with simple tags, twine and the foolproof chalk markers.  Then I decided to go BIG or go home and I dragged out some of those huge frames that I had been collecting from yard sales, thrift stores, side of the road trash heaps....all those empty sad frames that needed a good home.  They found one on this wall o' inspiration!

kitchen board baseent diy cork wall

The frames are layered over the painted cork wall, separating the expanse of cork into "pinboards", again categorized with simple tags.   How to MAKE a giant cork wall?  Well, hold on tight because here we go!


1.  Those 6 x 6 cork tiles are the foundation of the wall, and while they come with little tacky squares to attach them, I found hot glue to be MUCH faster and held better.  so save those little foam stickies for a smaller project and use your heavy duty, high temp hot glue on the back of the tiles to attach.

2. When you open your cork tiles, you will notice there is a "bumpy" side and a smoother side.  I loved the look of the painted finish oer the smooth side, so that is what I went with, but you go for what suits YOUR fancy.  Just be aware that the bumpy side will need MORE paint for a solid color!

painted cork

3.  When you start attaching the tiles, start in the very corner of your wall and start working your way down AND over at the same time.  Then, start stair-stepping your way across the wall, lining up the cork tiles exactly in the corner to minimize any spaces.

4.  Warning -- you probably WILL have some spaces that don't fit exactly!  (...unless you are perfect :)  Don't freak out and start ripping down tiles.  Just make slight little adjustments and keep stair stepping across the wall.  Squeeze tiles in when you need to, leave a little space if you need to, but DO NOT go to the opposite wall and start working your way towards the middle.  Disaster will ensue!!

cork wall halfway

5.  Once the tiles are attached and have had a chance to dry fully, start painting!  I liked a more matte finish against the texture of the tile, so I went with an eggshell interior paint.   If you have any spaces, let the paint pool in those holes, creating a seamless surface.  The paint will drip, so make sure to catch those before they drip along your cork and add multiple layers of paint to make sure the surface is completely flat.

front view basement diy cork wall amy renea a nestforallseasons

6. I added in a few plain old cork squares without paint (see the bottom left?), along with a few little 4x4 tiles to add interest.  I also added a large canvas in the middle of the arrangement to add yet another layer of interest and contrast to the wall.  Here is the full low-down on this creative basement space:

diy basement cork wall with arrows

1.  Everything you see in that greenish, greyish brown is painted cork, the base of the entire space.

2.  I painted our piano to blend into the wall and added a song inspiration pinboard.

3. The large canvas anchors the arrangement, but you could also use 4 large frames or do a whole wall in 8 by 10's -- the options are limitless!

4.  Empty frames fill out the rest of the "pinboards" , along with additional cork boards hung directly on the wall (to the left, out of frame)

So you tell me -- do you think the "after" beats the "before"?

before cork wall after cork wall

Pin It

Miss part of the History Keepers Series?  Catch up by clicking the links below!

Quotebooks (If you make ONE THING from this series, make THESE!)

The Journals (yes, these are different than the quotebooks, but just as easy!)

Footprints and Handprints (CAPTURE those tootsies!)

A Gallery Wall (PRINT and DISPLAY those photos!)

Life Sized Cork Board (A solution for ALL those art projects!)

TBALL Photos -- A Better Way (I KNOW you are sick of them too!)

Book Canvases (...for the mom who needs some art motivation)

SCHOOL Pictures  (An improvement on tradition!)

Portions of this  post have been previously published on the Crafts Unleashed blog. Some photo Supplies have been provided by Consumer Crafts. Without these supplies, these project ideas and craft ideas would not be possible, so THANK YOU to our sponsors!


Laurie Ritchey said…
What a great idea, and it looks so attractive too! Thanks for the how to. laurie