Building a Custom Memo Board

By Kate Riley March 12, 2010

I cannot keep track of all of the school calendars, memos, and tiny pieces of paper that bombard me on a daily basis.  I live for memo boards as a place to display all those reminders of things I need to do or people I need to call.  If it’s not staring me in the face, I’ll just forget about it.  Memo boards help to keep me sane organized.

Back in January, I mentioned the need for more organization in my mud room.  Actually it’s not really a mud room, just a wee hallway and closet back by the garage door.  I like to pretend it’s loftier space than it is and call it a ‘mud room’.

The easiest way to make a memo board is to find a bulletin board in the size you want and cover it with fabric.  Well I’m a troublesome creature and after a search, I couldn’t find a frame in the exact size I wanted, so I decided to just build a tall narrow memo board to fit the hall space.

custom memo board



nail heads in memo board



2’ x 4’ thin plywood from Lowes or home improvement store

Fabric and batting to size


Trim molding

Caulk or spackle

‘D’ Ring hooks

Nail heads

Finish nails




Staple gun



Sawhorses (optional)

Building a Custom Size Memo Board:

Cut your thin plywood to your specification with a SkilSaw.

cut board

Cover your wood with batting and fabric, then staple all around.

staple fabric pair

Next, measure and align your ribbon on your board.  Once you have your diamond design, secure the ribbon to the back with staples.

making a memo board

Use pliers to hold your nail heads in place, and pound into board with a mallet.  Secure ‘D’ ring hooks to the back, then hang on the wall.

nailheads and d rings

Cut your molding to the size of your memo board and secure to wall with finish nails.  Fill any cracks or damage from nails with spackle or caulk.

fill with caulking

To the hallway, I added some color to plain wall hooks with some craft paint.

craft paint

hand painted detail hooks (2)

Voila ! A ton of organization on a narrow strip of wall !

custom memo board

Have a fabulous weekend everyone !


  1. I love memo boards! In college I made one out of faux leopard print fur with hot pink cording! It was fantastic and totally fitting at the time!

  2. Kate, you are fabulous! Your blog is the first on my list and if I am short of time, your’s is the one I go to everyday. I envy your energy and creativity. These memo boards are gorgeous and your post from yesterday is now in my favorites. Keep up the good work.

  3. I haven’t made one (yet), but the thing I really like about yours is that they’re puffy looking (the boards with the ribbons). Not too much, but just enough to give some dimension. Good stuff!

  4. sweetie. i have seen so many of these boards made DIY style and yours hands down is the best! my favorite. great job!!!! and thanks for sharing the lovliness…

    happy weekend!

  5. Ok first i love the memo boards, i am going to have to make one of those.
    Second i love that you put that Youtube video on your blog. I have been on a major Jason Mraz kick lately so i was abnormally excited when me and the boys saw him on Sesame Street, too cute!!

  6. Great project! I made something similar with a chalkboard that is made of sheetmetal so things can be put up with magnets. Love, love, love the bejeweled magnets. Definitely have to make some of those!

  7. that’s really fun! i was just thinking today that i needed to find a good tutorial on a message board- i want to make one in my daughters’ room to fill an old window space… thanks for the tips!

  8. I love your boards…and oh would I ever love to have a few too. I especially love the magnetic ones. I’m drooling! Great job. Maybe, just maybe some day if I ever get inspired I will make one. Or maybe I just need to pray one of my uber talented friends would make one for me. With lots of pink and light green and blues. Just like my blog colors. Love, love, love! Thanks for sharing how.

  9. They look great! I made a similar memo board for my home office but I haven’t hung it up yet. Where did you find those awesome brads? I’ve been looking for something similar for a different project!


  10. I love love love these! Is it just me or do I smell a giveaway? I’m sure there are many of us who would love to have a little bit of CG at home… ;)

  11. This would have solved so many issues when my kids were still home. Now, I can keep things pretty organized with a simple desk calendar…but a few years ago, it was crazy at our house. We had post it notes everywhere!

  12. I love this, I made one but it didn’t turn out nearly as nice as yours, time for a redo. Have a great weekend

  13. I love both of these so so much I think I could use one downstairs and the other upstairs, it looks like its time to go to home depot lol

  14. I am almost positive that this is the most beautiful memo board I have ever seen.
    I love the little hooks below as well!
    You rock girl! (as always)

  15. Love both of those projects! I think the magnetic board is particularly inspired – magnetic sheeting has GOT to be less expensive than that magnetic paint – great thinking! Hmm, I have a blank area in my laundry room that might need some attention…

  16. How the hey nonny do you have time to do all you do? I love this project.

    And I, too, like to rename things to make myself feel better. My back patio is always the “terrace”. My small home, a “cottage”. My husband? The Lover.

  17. I’ve actually made a memo board for my daughter but honestly, nowhere near as fancy and awesome looking as yours!! I’ll have to try making one like you did. They are AMAZING!

    And that Sesame Street song… haha! I’ve been hearing it for weeks now as my little ones watch Sesame Street every day! I heard the geese last night! I do believe they are back!! Woo hoo for Spring!

  18. Hmmm … that’s was really good :))) Love what you did, really!
    Wish you a lovely weekend.
    Thank you for the inspiration.

  19. I have not attempted the memo board yet, but I did make a pretty fabulous magnetic board for my daughters room, using your instruction. It’s HUGE, so that all of her creations can adorn her wall instead of my kitchen floor(which is what happens when she puts them on the fridge and baby brother pulls them all down).

  20. I just made two French memo boards last month – one I gave to to my mom. For hers, I sewed an antique mother of pearl button at the x’s. Since the basis for the board was a painter’s canvas, that was easy to do. I use regular old quilt batting and a nice piece of fabric I found in the remnants bin at JoAnn Fabrics. Both came out so cute!

  21. Nice! I like the simple, yet glam magnets. If I could guarantee that my 2 year would stay away from them, I’d make some too. As usual, your crafty skills have me impressed! :)

  22. I have always wanted to make one, but just haven’t yet….. but reading your how too I just might give it a go…. yours are so pretty thank you for showing us all how….. have a great weekend.


  23. Loved this! I have a narrow hall as my “mudroom” but I still didn’t have the space for something like that. I just posted about my long cabinet in my kitchen that I painted with magnetic and chalkboard paint. Hope you can check it out!

  24. ialso made a memo board, but without batting – i just use pins to secure everything. Yours look great

  25. I didin’t mean without batting, I meant without ‘ribbon’ oops … i should not post before my morning tea

  26. I was looking for a hostess gift for family we are visiting this summer–the magnetic version is perfect. They have a stainless steel fridge, which is not magnetic and miss hanging things in the kitchen.

  27. My very first decor project (at the age of 11) was a memo board. I used the circular saw to crockedly cut a piece of plywood, covered it with purple fabric and nailed it to my bedroom wall. It wasn’t the best looking memo board, but functional and I was so proud of myself. I tend to repurpose bullentin boards though.

    I love the glam magnets, I’m filing that away in my future project files.

  28. Girl – you are KILLING me! Amazing….love, love, love it. My memo boards are rather paltry compared to these – I’m working on it. haven’t gotten my House DIY groove back yet but Spring is here and I’ll be back in the game. :)

  29. I LOVE your memo board! I love how it’s big enough to hold lots and lots of items :) I honestly think my brain has just up and left me some days (babies do this to you, apparently), and I really need a big memo board like this. I just made a different style of memo board last week…blogged about it here:

    And I love it….for pictures…but I really need something like the one you made for mail, etc.

    Thanks for the inspiration!!


  30. Oh dear. someone must have turned me in. I so need to organize the memo board in my kitchen. I’ve been batting the idea of making one for the past week. Hmm. Maybe I can get it done this week with ready cut plywood. Thanks for the tutorial.

  31. ooh! i used that same fabric from your magnetic board (the brown kind of quatre foile one) to recover my piano bench (but mine is in avocado green)! i’m going to take this to mean i must have fabulous taste since i chose a fabric that you chose! hehe.

    i love the bling magnets, too–so cute!

  32. I just really love that you hung it right above the hooks. Why haven’t I ever thought of that?! You can bet I’ll find a place to do that around my house! Thank you! Marija (fellow lawyer turned designer turned blogger :)

  33. This is lovely! And, I’m very impressed with your chain production of memo boards. How do you find time, is beyond me.

  34. OH I love these. I love your style by the way. I just found you. I think you need to adopt my poor house! LOL

  35. I also love making memo boards, but I do it a little differently. I like to use a painter’s canvas from the local craft store. They are great because they are all framed in! I lay batting, fabric & ribbon and staple it all on. I use decorative buttons to anchor the ribbons and hand sew them into place right through the canvas! I then hot glue a piece of thick interfacing on the back just to give it a finished look. Finally, I attach picture hanging hardware right into the wood frame and it’s done!

    The canvases come in all sizes and make the project quick. I love your magnetic board–great ideas!!

  36. You didn’t mention how you secured the frame to the actual board…or did I miss something? Thanks so much! I love your work!!

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