I finally finished a picture board that I’ve had in the works for months, and I’m so excited to share it with you!
I don’t know about you, but I love photos. And I’m not just talking about photos on my phone, though those are great too. But there’s something about holding a photo or seeing it on the wall that really does something for me. So I wanted to find a solution that works for our home to get some of those photos off of our phones and onto the walls.
Now, I truly love the look of gallery walls, which are so popular right now. But with the way that our house is laid out, I don’t have very many large walls, and most of the walls are occupied already. Plus, I wanted something that I could add to easily as time went on, freshen up with new photos, rearrange, that sort of thing.
So I decided to make a picture board, a really large picture board. We had an extra piece of plywood from a project, so I decided to commandeer it and try my hand at a DIY picture board. It was actually pretty easy, and I really like what it does for the play room. Not only does the picture board serve as artwork, essentially, but it makes the most of the wall space and brings some different textures, color and pattern into the room.
The other great thing about DIY picture boards is that you can literally make it into whatever you want, whatever shape, fabric, texture, size you want. The possibilities really are endless, so I’m going to just share what I did in broad strokes because you really can take this in a lot of different directions, depending on your space.
Step 1: Batting
Glue your batting to one side of your picture board with spray adhesive. I think I used Elmer’s for this project.
I used ½-inch batting, but you can choose thicker if you’re going for a plusher look.
Step 2: Fabric
Lay your fabric down facing down. Place the batting side of your picture board down on the backside of the fabric. Fold the fabric over the edges of your picture board and staple to affix. Do this on each side. Be sure to pull the fabric tight as you go. Save the corners for last and fold them as you would if you were making a bed with “hospital corners.” Then staple the corners in place as well.
I chose a heavier upholstery fabric with a woven texture. But as with most parts of this project, you can choose whatever suits you best. I mean, you don’t want something that’s so delicate that it’s not going to withstand the upholstering process, and something like silk might be a pain to get to a point where it looks right. But there really is a wide range of fabric that would work for this project. If in doubt, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask the staff at the fabric store for their opinion. It’s what they do, and they really don’t mind.
Step 3: Ribbons
This is the most tedious part of the whole picture board, but when it’s done, it’s super satisfying.
Affix the ribbons in a crisscross manner across the board, either diagonal or perpendicular, weaving the ribbons as you go and stapling the ends to the back of the picture board.
Now, the key component of this is to get the spacing right between the ribbons. I suggest either using a sewing guide (as pictured below) or some kind of template. Even a cardboard square would work, just to make sure that your spacing is consistent. I had a couple goes at this, and the first time I worked on it, I tried to measure the distance between each ribbon, and it was just really very difficult.
So my advice is to start from the center. Get the first two ribbons on, from corner to corner or dividing it into quarters if you’re doing the ribbons perpendicularly. And then use your guide to work from the center out. I did the two ribbons on either side of one center ribbon, and then switched to the other side and did those two. And I switched back and forth in that manner until all the ribbons were on.
For the spacing, I found that the most effective way to do this and keep it consistent is, like I said above, to use a template. Once I got the middle ribbons on, I placed the template next to the center ribbon and lined up the next ribbon, pinning it down to keep it in the correct trajectory while I stapled it down on the back. I then did the same for the other side of the board for that same ribbon.
Attaching the Ribbons
When I affixed the ribbon, I made sure that there was no slack, but I didn’t pull them super tight because I wanted to be able to weave the subsequent ribbons in. Also, the decorative nails remedied any sort of looseness that there was from the whole process, though there was hardly any.
I used ½-inch grosgrain ribbon because it’s a sturdier ribbon that doesn’t have that slickness that can be difficult to work with. But you can choose whatever works for you and whatever you like the look of.
Something that I learned that might seem obvious is to be sure to buy enough ribbon. Seriously, measure out how much ribbon you will need and be sure to buy enough. The reason that this picture board took me months to complete was not because this is a difficult project. It’s because my husband estimated that four rolls of ribbon would be enough to crisscross an entire photo board that is more than 5 feet wide and 4 feet high. And it’s because this sounded reasonable to me, ha!
“So go get more!” you may say. Well, obviously, but it turns out that stores really only carry a couple rolls of each color of ribbon and don’t restock often… like for months. Finally, I gave up on getting enough tan ribbon accumulated (no, I could not find it online). So I decided on two colors and gathered up all the white I could find, which, incidentally, it seems stores carry more white and black than other colors (FYI).
Step 4: Decorative Nails
Now that you have all of your ribbons on your picture board, pound a nail into each of the ribbon intersections. It was helpful to use some sort of implement to hold the nail since they were rather short. We jury-rigged some wire cutters to get the job done, but I suspect a thin pair of pliers would also do the job. I also recommend a rubber mallet for the decorative nails to keep them decorative after you’ve pounded them.
The decorative nails that I used were 7/16-inch nails. This is yet another way that you can customize your picture board, by choosing decorative nails that go with your room and your fabric.
Step 5: Hanging
To hang our oversized picture board, we used an interlocking system utilizing wood affixed to the back that fits into wood attached to the wall and into the studs. See the photos below. We used two of these interlocking panels at the top of the board, and then we put wood of an equal width on the bottom so that the bottom of the board was the same distance from the wall as the top.
And that’s it! Super simple but fun way to display your photos!!
Go Forth and Feature your Photos!
Cherish those memories and make them a feature in your room! Get them off your phone and onto the walls. Look at them every day and love them!