a message board for gramma

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I don't know about you, but I find it especially hard to think of gifts for elderly people, especially those in a nursing home. How many pairs of slippers or boxes of candy can one person use? So the other day when I was paying a visit to Gramma at the nursing home and she was fumbling around in a drawer looking for some loose pictures she wanted to show me, I had an idea... a padded message board! She was all over the idea of a place to display these things on the wall, so I vowed to come back with one later that week.

My first instinct was to run over to Target and pick one up tout suite, but then I remembered... I've taken the handmade pledge! Oy, but I'm so busy! I checked the garage for a scrap of 1/4" plywood and actually had one already cut to message boardish size, just shy of 18x24". Sold! I'll make it myself. This project is as old as the hills, but I'm doing a tutorial anyway.

To make this project you will need:
-a piece of 1/4" plywood, you decide the exact size
-2 medium triangle ring hangers
-see-through ruler or L-square ruler
-staple gun
-disappearing fabric pen
-package of upholstery tacks (they come in packs of 24, I only used 17)
-remnant of fabric big enough to cover the board + 2" all around
-remnant of  quilt batting just big enough to cover the board
-3+ yds of or 5/8" ribbon (I used exactly 3, for a bigger board, get more)

I attached the hanging hardware first. I thought it would be safer than doing it after the fabric and ribbons were on.
It's a good idea to mock up your ribbon placement on a piece of paper first. Fold it in half horizontally & vertically to find the center and plan for a ribbon criss-cross there. I think it looks best not to have 45 degree diamonds. Make sure whatever angle you choose, that you mirror it on the other side. Add parallel lines, repeating every 5" or so.
I'm channeling my inner 94 year-old and have chosen an ivory brocade upholstery fabric. She's gonna love it! Trim the fabric with 2" of extra all around. Trim batting to the board size.
Now layer the batting between the board and the fabric and staple. Staple one side, then the opposite side, pulling tightly.
Be careful at the corners...
Now use your mock up to mark the ribbon placement. Make holes with pins and stick the tip of the fabric pen through.
Lay on ribbons and cut allowing  for 2" overhang, so you can staplegun the ends to the back. Now you can pound in the tacks, but FYI, the tacks I used came through the back. If you care about your table, put a scrap piece of wood underneath. Turn over the board and flatten the points with the hammer.
And there you are Gramma!

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