Cork Board Message Center: A Weekend Project

Cork Board Message Center: A Weekend Project

How to make a cork-board/chalkboard message center using pot rest trivets

I have a new fridge. It’s shiny and stainless steely and I love to see it gleaming when I look into my kitchen. And I would like for it to remain visible this time.

Normally, my fridge door is a catch-all spot for pictures, takeout menus, and miscellaneous papers that might be important (don’t know what to do with it? Grab a magnet and pop it up!), and I’m starting to get tired of that kind of clutter. Opening my last fridge was a daunting task involving some careful strategic planning lest the action trigger an avalanche of cards, grocery lists and unpaid bills. I rarely got a snack without cursing. Since we just moved into our new house and I’m not even remotely close to unpacking boxes, I figured now was as good a time as any to set up a new spot to organize these little bits of miscellany.

I had a few ideas of what I wanted, and they all involved cork. Being busy and somewhat strapped for cash, I didn’t want to spend a ton of time being finicky on details or hunting for materials, and of course I wanted the materials to be cheap. Those criteria in mind, I cast about the interwebs for some inspiration, and this is what I came up with.
cork board chalk board message center

What you’ll need to make this Cork Board Message Center:

  • Cork trivets/hot pot rests 
  • Chalkboard paint
  • Sponge brush
  • Poster strips
  • Thumbtacks
  • Chalk

I used four trivets to make my message center, but because this is a very simple setup, you can use as many — or as few — as you want. On that same token, you can add and subtract trivets as you need or want, and inexpensively, too: I got these bad boys at the dollar store, two for a buck fifty. I think I’ll probably end up adding more to my message center as time goes on… but largely because I don’t trust myself to not overflow the few that I have already.

cork board chalk board message centerNow that you have your trivets, paint as many pieces with the chalkboard paint as you like. I painted two: one in black and the other in a grey/taupe sort of color. I left the other two trivets plain, but you could get even fancier and paint them pretty colors, using acrylic or toll paints. (I actually intended to do this, but I liked the neutral colors that the plain cork afforded and so I left it alone… totally not because I am lazy.) I used Martha Stewart Chalkboard Paint because that is what Tracy happened to have kicking around her house (merge your craft supplies when you can!) but I’m sure any brand would work just as well.

Using one sponge brush per color, apply at least two coats of paint, one vertically and the other horizontally, with at least an hour of drying time in between. I stopped at two coats, and while you can write on them without any trouble, an extra layer or two of paint would make the surface a bit harder if you wanted it to be.

Once the paint is all dry, find your layout by arranging the pieces on the floor until they please you. Hold them up to the wall to figure out where you want them to go and make a wee pencil mark for each one to remind you of the placement. When you’re doing this part, it does help to have someone with you to make sure they are straight. And don’t rely on the advice of a two year old, because let me tell you, they will just shout “YEAH!” when you ask if it’s straight, whether it is or not.

Cork board trivet message center
I realize that a shot of this message center in the midst of a nicely decorated and organized kitchen would give you better incentive to make it than this close-up does, but I currently do not have those circumstances available to shoot in. I will ask you to kindly use your imagination this time!

Your layout selected, you can now peel the backing off of your Poster Strips and stick them to your cork pieces. Make sure you affix the correct side: the tape should have a side marked “wall side”, and you will, as you may have assumed, want that part to stick to the wall. All you have to do now is peel the backing off of that wall side, press the trivet to the wall where you wanted it to go, and… that’s it. You can go ahead and stick all your fridge decorations on there with some push pins and make a few notes on the chalkboards with some chalk.
I already have some plans in mind for future trivets: I would like to paint a few with magnetic chalkboard paint so I can still use my favorite magnets, and I’d like to figure out a way to keep a piece of chalk handy for notes. I will have to be careful, though… this is so easy and cheap to make that I can totally see my kitchen walls slowly becoming covered in cork.

What kind if improvements will you make to yours? Can’t wait to see!

– Joc

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