Corkboard Jewelry Holder Tutorial

April 3, 2012 · 11 comments

in Decorating, Good Things, How-To, Making Stuff

It’s How-To Tuesday! Today I’ll be showing you how to make a fantastic cork board jewelry display. Like most girls I love jewelry. But there were lots of pieces that I rarely wore because they were in a giant jumble in my jewellery box.  I tried to find some way to organize all my necklaces and bracelets and earrings in an easy-to-see way, but I have a lot of stuff and there just wasn’t anything that really fit my needs.

I was browsing at the Container Store a few months ago for–get this–a container. I needed someplace to stash my knitting supplies, but instead I found a really cute magnetic bulletin board. There was a necklace hanging from one of the pegs and the wheels in my brain started to spin. I considered buying the magnet board to store my jewelry on but it was $50 and the magnet pins were $12 for 8 of them. Way too expensive.

After wandering around my second favorite store, Hobby Lobby, (my favorite, in case you had to ask, is Target. Duh.) I decided to do a corkboard jewelry display, using an empty picture frame.

The great thing about a corkboard holder is that it can be completely customized to whatever your jewelry needs are. Using push pins makes it possible to change your storage as your jewelry collection changes. Have a lot of long necklaces? No problem. Suddenly get obsessed with bracelets? Just add  a bunch of pushpins and you’re all set.

This is an incredibly easy project. It requires zero artistic ability. Things can get a little spendy if you go out and buy a brand new frame (use that 40% off coupon that most stores offer online!). There are lots of frames at thrift stores or you might have some ugly art around your house that can be tossed while still using the frame. All the materials you’ll need (besides the frame) will cost about $20. Considering how much jewelry boxes and displays are, that’s a real bargain!

I originally made my corkboard from a pre-made frame that I got at Hobby Lobby. But I also made a corkboard for my daughter, India, and used a hundred-year-old frame that that my grandma gave me which had an ugly, faded print in it.

The important thing is to consider your jewelry collection. Think about how many necklaces you have and how long they are. What about bracelets? And earrings? Do you mostly wear post earrings or danglies? You’ll want to consider how much square footage you’ll need. You don’t want to make too small a corkboard. Remember that bigger is better since it’s likely that you’ll be accumulating more jewelry through the years.

Another thing to consider is where you’ll put this thing. Mine ended up being 28 inches x 32 inches and that’s not exactly a size of frame that can be stuck just anywhere. I wanted mine kind of near my closet but not out in broad daylight for my kids to pull stuff off of. I ended up putting it in what I fondly call, “the poop room” (the little room in my master bath with the toilet in it).   It works for me.

These are the items you’ll need to make this:

Picture frame. It doesn’t need to have glass or a backing. Just the square frame.

Thick foam mounting board. This can be cut to size at any craft store or picture framing shop.

Roll of cork. This can be found in most craft shops.

Spray Glue.

Pushpins. India opted to make some cute pushpins but I prefer clear.

Ribbon for dangly earrings (optional). I used thicker ribbon to make it easier to see the earrings, but any width of ribbon is fine.

Utility Knife.

You may also need a heavy-duty staple gun for the backing.

I highly recommend using the thickest mounting board that will fit in your frame. The cork is actually pretty thin, it’s the foam board that will do most of the actual holding of your jewelry.

If you’re using a frame that has something else in it, pay attention to how the print and glass are held into the frame. Sometimes there are little nails called brads. These can either be removed or simply bent out of the way with a flathead screwdriver.

Before you start assembling your project make sure your mounting board actually fits in the frame. This is especially important if you had it cut at a store. If it’s too big, use a utility knife and a ruler to cut it shorter. Once it’s the right size it’s time to stick the cork to the backing board.

Cork is very brittle. It’s incredibly easy to break it or even stick a finger through. It’s best to roll it out on the ground and not lift it.  If your frame is big, it’s nice to have an extra set of hands helping out. The cork board we’re making today is for India’s room, so I’m having her do most of the work. Teach a man to fish, right?

Roll your cork out on the ground using something (or someone) to keep it unrolled. Some heavy cans of food will work.


Spray both the cork and the foam board according to the directions on the glue. It’s sticky, smelly and messy. You should absolutely do this outside!


Place your foam mounting board onto the cork and press it down thoroughly. If the edges aren’t attached well,  spray them again.


Once the glue is dry (it should only take a couple of minutes), use a utility knife to cut off the extra cork.



If you want to do a ribbon across the cork board to hang your earrings on, this is when you’ll do it. I put mine along the bottom, but you can do it wherever you like. India wants to use hers as a bulletin board so she didn’t want a ribbon at all. If you do want an earring hanger, hot glue one side to the back of the board. Once it’s cooled down and is very secure (at least five minutes), pull the other side of the ribbon extremely tight. The ribbon will eventually sag if it’s not as tight as possible. Even so I put a few pushpins in the ribbon to keep it from drooping in the middle.




Once your ribbon is all finished, you can flip the board over and place it in the frame. Hopefully yours already has a wire for hanging. If not, you’ll need to install some hooks and wire.  You can figure that out because you’re smart. And good looking!



If you used a frame that previously had artwork in it, you’ll hopefully be able to use the clips or brads that were there before. India pulled the brads out of our antique frame and hammered them back in so they were nice and secure (are you totally digging my pink hammer? I have a pink drill too!)



Once you’ve gotten your cork board all put together it’s time to hang it up on the wall.The final (and funnest) step is to stick your pushpins in and hang up your jewelry! It will feel so wonderful to have everything organized and right at your fingertips!