Ashley's Office DIY Decor


Making an inspiration board for my office has been on my DIY To-Do List for a while now. I talked about my childhood love of inspiration boards (and Jonathan Taylor Thomas) in this post a while back – almost a year ago! I love the idea of having a designated place where you have permission to clutter it up with things you love and gain creative inspiration from. An inspiration board can be a pretty powerful thing to get the creative juices flowing and over time, it basically turns into a piece of art that completely captures all of your creative senses.

I bought this super cool frame at a local thrift store (Love of Jesus for you locals) for eight bucks. Coming in at around 36×29, it’s a pretty good size – perfect for an inspiration board, right?! The slightly weathered gold details had me at hello and I couldn’t bear to even think about painting it. So gold it stayed!

The frame didn’t come with any backing, so we cut down the backing that came with the frame we used for our magnetic chalkboard project (good thing we kept that around in our scrap pile out in the shed). Obviously, you can’t have a cork board without cork. I bought a package of cork tiles, connected them using duct tape (as suggested here by Sherry over at Young House Love) and cut them to the size of the backing board. At this point, the plan was to cover it with fabric, pop it in the frame and be done with it. But then I remembered seeing Genevieve Gorder’s studio on HGTV. She covered a whole wall with Homasote (which is really cork-like) and painted it with chalkboard paint. Genius! So back to Staples I went and picked up a roll of cork. I cut a piece to size and attached it to the duct-taped cork tiles using spray adhesive (Scotch Super 77). Having two layers of cork, plus a frame backing may seem like we went a little overboard, but it ended up being a good thing. Neither the tiles nor the roll of cork alone were thick enough to securely hold a push pin, and the backing makes the finished product all sturdy and awesome.

Luckily, we had a lot of chalkboard paint left over from, the magnetic chalkboard project. I painted the cork using a mini roller (which is the cutest little thing ever!). The paint had awesome coverage and looked great after two coats, but I did three just for good measure.

Like my classy painting contraption? I used four cans of tomato soup to help hold the cork up so I didn’t get any paint on the counter. As you can see from the paint-covered can, I can get a tad clumsy when it comes to paint.

Once the paint was completely dry, I plopped that sucker into the frame. To keep it in place, Greg applied some caulk adhesive to the seams and let it sit overnight.

To make sure the edges didn’t pop up over night, I weighted the board down with something heavy on each corner. The next morning, the caulk was still a little wet, so we let it sit until later that night. It seemed like the longest day ever because I was dying to get it up on the wall and put it to work.

The frame didn’t have any type of hanger on it, so we had to add some. First, Greg drilled two small pilot holes in the frame so the screw wouldn’t split the wood. He also filled the hole Liquid Nail for extra security. He’s definitely a “better safe than sorry” kind of guy when it comes to hanging things on the wall! All that was left was to screw on the D-ring hangers, put two Gorilla Hooks in the wall, and hang the whole thing up!

And now, finally, the finished product…

Looks pretty nifty, right?! I haven’t had a chance to fill it up but I’m loving how the black cork makes the gold frame really pop. I also love the fact that I can write on the board itself.

Aside from the new inspiration board, my favorite thing in this corner is the ceramic dog (from HomeGoods). We like to call him Milo! When I first saw him in the store, I thought I would spray paint him a fun color. Now, seeing him in his new habitat, I’m second guessing myself. At this point, I think I’m going to wait until the rest of the office is finished before making any changes.

I picked up the small robins egg blue dish from a local thrift store for $3, which is perfect for holding extra push pins. To finish things off, I snagged the cup of paint brushes from the cabinet and a stack of House Beautiful magazines from the living room. This grouping may change later down the road, but I’m digging the look for now.

On top of the stack of magazines is a candle (from Terrain) I bought for my office a while back. I’m not planning on burning it until my office is “done”, though. I guess you could say it’s going to be my “reward”. I love the design on the jar, and my great grandmother loved persimmons, so in a way, it reminds me of her. I’m looking forward to enjoying the relaxing scent of Japanese persimmon, peach, and red currants. Yum!

I’m so excited to finally have a place to corral inspiration for house, blog and graphic design projects. It’s also super nice to finally have something hung on the walls in here! It’s about time, don’t you think? ; )

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  • Reply
    Casey @ wafflingdesign
    August 15, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Beautiful!! I like the dog in black too

  • Reply
    August 15, 2012 at 11:56 am

    This looks so great. I have been wanting to make one as well…I will have to put it on my list. Great Job!!

  • Reply
    Heather @ AccomplishingDreams
    August 15, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    At first I wasn’t a fan of the gold frame, just not my thing, but once I saw it all put together and up on your pretty gray wall, I am in love! It looks great and you may have convinced me gold frames can be ok 😉

  • Reply
    Ashley Rae
    August 15, 2012 at 1:26 pm

    I had NO idea you could paint cork!! I LOVE this idea. Bulletin board + chalkboard + amazing frame. OMG. Perfect.

  • Reply
    Caitlin @ Desert Domicile
    August 15, 2012 at 1:28 pm

    It looks so good and I like how deceptive the board is since you can write on it AND push pins into it! By the way, I’m so jealous of your gold frame haha I’ve been scouring our local thrift stores for something similar for a different project and I’ve been having zero luck! If you find another one, send it my way, ok? 🙂

    • Reply
      August 15, 2012 at 1:29 pm

      Will do! ; ) Good luck on your search!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    August 15, 2012 at 1:57 pm

    I absolutely love this! I didn’t know you could paint cork either! I’ve been wanting to create a pretty message board/ family center in our kitchen for a while now and I think this will be perfect. I have navy walls in the kitchen and I think the gold would look awesome. I think you should keep Milo black. He helps ground the space and looks awesome next to the chalkboard. Now I’ve found a use for the extra chalkboard paint I have stashed in the garage! Thanks for sharing

  • Reply
    August 15, 2012 at 2:00 pm

    It’s beautiful! I have a similar frame hanging above my sofa, with chalk board paint (blank until I fill it with just the perfect quote) and my walls are also gray. Such a pretty combination! I may switch out my heavy painted wood with painted cork instead. Brilliant!

  • Reply
    Christine @ Casa-de-Christine
    August 15, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Love this! I’ve never thought of painting cork with chalkboard paint- that’s pretty brilliant! Thanks for sharing! That little set up is so cute- love the ceramic dog!!

  • Reply
    August 15, 2012 at 2:53 pm

    That looks amazing! I had no idea that you could paint cork. The hubs and I have two Boston Terriers and we were eyeing up those French Bulldog statues at HomeGoods as well. Sigh, I wish they were Bostons and not Frenchies.

  • Reply
    August 15, 2012 at 3:14 pm

    LOVE the chalkboard painted cork! What a great idea. I just recently turned an old frame into a chalk board too. I sort of wish that I had thought to use cork behind my chalk board paper. PS Love the frame!

  • Reply
    August 15, 2012 at 9:23 pm

    I totally save candles as rewards, too! I have three special ones that I’m waiting to light — my boyfriend and I move into our new place next week 🙂

  • Reply
    August 15, 2012 at 10:31 pm

    I love this! Classic and colorful at the same time. Plus how cute is that mini roller? 🙂

  • Reply
    August 16, 2012 at 3:58 am

    I love that Idea – combining the cork and the blackboard paint. Yours looks beautiful :-)!

  • Reply
    Erin {Home Everyday}
    August 16, 2012 at 10:14 am

    This is the most beautiful inspiration board I have ever seen! Also, Milo is adorable too!

  • Reply
    Christina @ Homemade Ocean
    August 16, 2012 at 11:12 am

    Love love love it!!! I would have thought the cork would have soaked up all the paint. What a great idea.

    • Reply
      August 16, 2012 at 11:16 am

      Thanks! The paint soaking in was first thought too, but I just decided to bite the bullet and give it a try. I think that might have happened with Chalkboard spray paint, but the Valspar chalkboard paint is the bee’s knees : )

  • Reply
    August 16, 2012 at 1:29 pm

    Love it, especially the dog! i have the dog (from Homegoods) but it’s white. I’ve contemplated painting mine black because it looks like my dog and my dog is black…haha.

  • Reply
    Melody K
    August 16, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    You never cease to amaze me. Well done! Beautiful!

  • Reply
    August 16, 2012 at 7:00 pm

    Brilliant idea! I love it 🙂

    -Naomi {Starry Eyes + Coffee Cups}

  • Reply
    August 17, 2012 at 10:04 am

    Where are the fun pushpins from?
    That looks awesome!I love it all!

    • Reply
      August 17, 2012 at 10:14 am

      Thanks! I can’t remember where I bought them, but I do know the brand is See Jane Work. Here’s a link:

  • Reply
    Brooke H.
    August 17, 2012 at 11:52 am

    Love it!!!! 🙂

  • Reply
    August 20, 2012 at 6:53 am

    Love how your new inspiration board looks! Just wondering though — won’t the pushpins leave more obvious holes since the board is painted black?

    • Reply
      August 20, 2012 at 9:46 am

      Thanks! : ) Nope, not at all! Once you take a pin out, you barely see any hole at all. I guess the paint soaked in enough to make pin holes not noticeable.

  • Reply
    August 20, 2012 at 10:42 am

    I love this! Months ago I purchased a framed cork board and I have been planning on replacing the cork with wood to turn it into a chalkboard. Is it harder (less smooth) to write on the cork as opposed to wood?

    • Reply
      August 20, 2012 at 10:45 am

      In my opinion, it’s just as easy to write on compared to our metal board in the utility room. You can always paint the cork, and if you don’t like it, cover it with the wood as you were planning on. Just make sure you use paint rather than spray paint. Hope that helps! : )

  • Reply
    August 21, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    I am so jealous of people who find such great used items for awesome prices! Your use of chalkboard paint is brilliant. I also love the gray walls (that’s the same color we painted our master bedroom) and the bright white cabinet looks beautiful against it.

  • Reply
    January 20, 2013 at 9:37 pm

    I love this board! But am so curious what brand/color paint you used on your wall?! Please let a girl know 🙂

    • Reply
      January 21, 2013 at 12:34 am

      Thanks! It’s Slate by Restoration Hardware.

  • Reply
    July 9, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    This is a wonderful project, elegant and easy to make!

    I also love your white cabinet, can I ask where did you get it?



    • Reply
      July 9, 2013 at 9:09 pm

      Thanks! It’s from the Martha Stewart line at Home Decorators.

  • Reply
    August 23, 2014 at 1:32 pm

    So cute!! I have been wanting to re-make my vision board and the addition of chalkboard paint is genius. Thank you for the idea. 🙂

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