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Monday, September 30, 2013

Zebra-fied Corkboard

Yes, even a plain, boring $10 Walmart cork board can be zebra-fied.  I think it's necessary for a 10 year old girl to be able to pin stuff up on something other than the drywall, and let's face it, a big brown rectangle isn't going to fit into the 'decor'.  And so began my shopping trip.

You will need:
*A corkboard, whatever size you want, I used a 2'x3' that I found for $9.97 at Wal-Mart.  I considered just buying cork tiles and making one myself, but honestly it was cheaper to just buy the board already in a frame.  
*A can of white or pink spray paint.  I used white, but you could do pink with zebra stripes if that's your thing.
*Black acrylic paint.
*Trim - something fuzzy, sparkly, shiny....your options are endless.
*A hot glue gun, and ya know, the glue sticks for it.
*A spoon. 

Step 1.)  Brush any loose dust and debris from the corkboard and go spray paint it.  I used an entire can of paint on this board, so if you go bigger you may want to buy two cans.  Even so, you can see that there are areas that could have been covered better, but honestly she's going to have it covered in artwork and magazine clippings within 10 minutes of me hanging it up, so I wasn't concerned about splotches.  Again, my standard warning when using spray paint, protect your area from overspray, and make sure you're in a well ventilated area.  If you start singing show-tunes five minutes in, you may need some fresh air.  Could you use white acrylic paint and a brush? Probably, but you'd want to prime it first, and ain't nobody got time for that.

See how uneven it is? The cork sucks the paint up immediately.  Luckily it doesn't need to be perfect,
you won't notice once you paint the zebra stripes on.

Step 2.)  Find a reference for your zebra stripes.  Google is wonderful thing and every time I use it I wonder how I made it through high school without it.  Find something you like and try to copy it; it's very hard to screw up zebra stripes.  Just try to keep your lines smooth and not straight, if that makes any sense.  You can create tiny little stripes or big bold stripes, it's a very personal thing.  Alternately, you can let your child draw/paint their own stripes, and if it looks weird you can blame it on them. :)  I went with a 'zebra skin' effect, and it took about 2 hours to paint it on.  I was using a good quality acrylic paint from a tube, but I honestly think a cheap craft paint would have been easier, just make sure it's gloss; a flat paint may flake off later.  My paint was too thick and had to be thinned with water, but if I added too much water it would start to run down the board.  I was completely over the whole thing by the time I was halfway done.   

Aaaaannnnd glue and twist and push,
aaaannnnd glue and twist and push...
Step 3.)  Trim it.  Seriously I stood in Wal-Mart for ten minutes with three different yarns and two spools of ribbon in the 'seat' of my cart trying to decide what I wanted to do.  There were fluffy yarns with crystals woven into them, fluffy and glittery, just fluffy, ribbon that was solid hot pink glitter, ribbon that was just pink and shiny...I had a really hard time deciding. I went with fluffy- there was 129 yards of it, so I knew I could use several strands along each side and make it nice and fuzzy.  If I had it to do over again, I would have went with the glittery ribbon, it would have been a lot easier to glue onto the edges.
I spent about 15 minutes cutting lengths of my fuzzy yarn, about 8 per edge, and then started in one corner hot gluing them on.  I didn't make one long length of glue, I did three spots on the short ends and 5 on the long ends (not counting the giant globs in the corners) and twisting the pieces of yarn so that even if one of the lengths didn't get stuck in one glue glob, it would get stuck in the next glob. (Don't you love these technical terms?)
This could be your fingers.  Don't
let this be your fingers.
Now, you're probably wondering where the spoon comes into play.  Hot glue is, well, hot.  Low-temp glue is hot, but it sets up almost immediately and you won't die if you get it on your fingers.  Not so for high-temp glue guns.   High-temp glue is like lava and stays hot for three or four minutes.  For this project a low-temp is fine, we're dropping glue then pressing in the yarn one spot at a time.  I used the back of a spoon to push the yarn pieces into the glue without burning my fingers....again.  Seriously, it hurts.  When you're done, trim your corners, and hang!

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