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Transform Your Thrifted Memo Board With These Simple DIY Upgrades

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Let’s bring back those underrated memo boards that are filling up the thrift store shelves. You walk into a thrift store or even a new craft and decor store and you see memo boards that look like they’re meant to blend in. They are just crates to hold photos, notes and anything else, but don’t really reflect your style. A thrifted memor board is the perfect blank slate waiting to be customized and made into something unique. In this post, I’ll share how I found a basic memo board at the thrift store and gave it a DIY upgrade by adding some colorful accessories that made it feel fresh and fun.

Why I love Memo Boards

I think everyone knows by now I have a “normal” and “healthy” relationship with my local thrift stores. I feel like there are so many memo boards. I imagine that most of these memo boards are donated by a recent college graduate or someone who has converted their stationary and other items to digital format. In the world of simplifying our lives with technology, I feel now I have so many folders, saved images on 3 different platforms… it can be so overwhelming and disorganized. Moving a bit backwards and more simple, I find for me, I am the worst at out of sight, out of mind, and when it comes to files in folders on computers and phones I’ll forget the most daily things. Memo boards are great for keeping lists, photos, notes and even as a moodboard to help you bring a space together or a stand-alone decor. The only negative is that mood board designs bought off the shelves rarely match the design style.

Memo Board Construction

Most memo boards are built in the same manner. A fabric-wrapped board, diagonally cross ribbon and buttons give it a tufted effect. There are so many possibilities here, from a full deconstruction to changing fabric to something totally your aesthetic. You can use the fabric you removed as a template by carefully removing all staples that attach the fabric to the board. Take note of the way the corners and edges are folded before stapling the fabric in place. Most memo boards have neutral or linen-colored fabric. If you use this fabric, you can simply leave the fabric wrapped around the board and focus on the buttons and ribbon.

Thrift Flip Memo Board 4

Memo Board Deconstruction

Start by removing all the buttons using a pair pliers. most of the time the head of the button will come off but the pin portion of the button will stay in place, that is fine we will install nail head push pins along side them and they’ll over that. Be careful to protect the fabric from the tools. A clean kitchen towel can be used to prevent the tool from damaging the fabric.

Ribbon Upgrade

The fastest way to upgrade is by sticking the ribbon directly over the previous ribbon. It helps keep things aligned, and you’ll install the new ribbon so tight that you will not notice the old ribbon underneath. Install the new nailhead pins, starting in the middle and working outward to the edge. Pull the fabric tight with each new pushpin. Once all the pushpins have been installed, wrap the ribbon around and staple the board to keep it in place.

Thrift Flip Memo Board 3

If you are choosing a more sheer ribbon and the other ribbon is noticeable underneath, or the ribbon you’d like to use is more thin than the previous ribbon, you’ll want to mark an single side of the ribbon, where it touches the edge of the memo board, this will serve as your reference point for your new ribbon. Once you’ve marked it, carefully pull the ribbon out, taking care not to damage the fabric covering the board. Repeat the previous steps, laying out the new ribbon according to your reference marks and installing the pushpins from the center outwards.

Thrift Flip Memo Board 1

Finish it with a Frame

You can either stop here, or you can upgrade it with a frame. I keep a stack of frames for such projects in my closet, as well as frameless prints and artwork. You can find frames that are inexpensive, but without artwork in antique shops and thrifts shops. Also, I encourage people to ignore the artwork in the middle when shopping in these places. So many people pass up great prices on great frames because they don’t like the artwork, the artwork or print can be removed from the frame. We placed our memo boards in the frame, secured them with very few trim screws, and it was perfect.


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