Karen Green: Out Of My Element


Upcycled Cork Board Craft

I used my craft room for real!

So, you all know that we moved out to the cornfield so that I could quit my full-time job and do things like take care of my kids and afford a house that has a craft room.

Lo and behold! I have a house that has a craft room! And I actually did a craft in it! Like all the way, from start to finish!

One day, I know I will finish writing my novel. That does not blow my mind nearly as much as the knowledge that I have finished a craft, in my craft room. True, this was not a very ambitious craft, but it is a very ambitious craft room. It has all sorts of possibilities tucked away on shelves strategically built, and drawers strategically filled. I even have a futon in my craft room, as you all know how fatiguing doing a craft can be.

The craft I completed has an environmentally-friendly aspect to it as well, as it began as a hand-me-down from my husband's sister. I crafted and upcycled! That futon better be a fainting futon, because I swear, I'm going down. Being a Renaissance woman such as myself is all. too. much.

Back to the craft. The craft that I finished. Here it is!

It once was a lonely, discarded old bulletin board, but I finished the crap out of the thing, and look at it now:

Purty, ain't she? She's up on the wall in the playroom, now festooned with all manner of participatory ribbon and badge of merit. You know, the stuff that will hopefully ensure that I have confident children who know their parents are proud of them, but not children who think the world revolves around them and that every breath they take must be praised. It's a fine line, made all the finer when they have such a handsome place to display their accomplishments.

So, here's how I did it:

First, I painted a ratty old bulletin board that my sister-in-law didn't want, with some leftover white house paint. Cork absorbs like a mo-fo, so I probably did five coats before it was generally opaque.

Next, I laid my word stencils out along the top, squirted some pretty Martha Stewart acrylic paint into my kid's little snack bowl thing, and taught myself how to apply the paint with those little squishy-dabby sponge applicators (also Martha brand). Since I had never done this before, I began with the wrong size squishy-dabby thing, and got paint all over the edge of the frame. Be sure to keep some towels or a cat handy to wipe the mess off.

(Yes, that's a sewing machine on the table. Think I've ever used it? As if. But doesn't it make me look ambitious?)

Next, I used the squishy-dabby to stencil on a decorative outline.

I would like to say that my five-year old helped me do it, explaining away the very uneven-ness and general effed-upedness of my decorative outline, but my five-year old was sitting at her own little table in the craft room, making a birthday card for her cousin, and doing a much better job at her craft than I was doing at mine. 

Once I had finished three sides of the border, then realized that I should have started with the border and not the words, as I had left no room for the border at the top, I called my five-year-old over for her professional help and advice. I abandoned the role of creative director, and let my kid call the rest of the shots.

Here is her final design:

Placement of most images correspond with the exact spots under which my five-year old left her tiny blue fingerprints. Related: there is no point in telling a five-year old not to touch something because the paint is still wet. That, foolish reader, is simply an invitation to get little blue fingerprints all over your craft.

So there you have it — a finished craft, finished by me, and art directed by Cassidy as I am not to be trusted with such things.

Stay tuned for my next craft project, a cross-stiched pillowcase which should be done in time to offer to my eldest daughter as a gift upon her graduation from university.