Lisa Kyle Young Photography

Making a French Memo Board

Being a photographer I have lots of photo prints of family and friends all around the house. I have them in frames or on mats or anything that I can find that is creative and different. I even put a few on our bulletin board. I had been eying up French Memo Boards at stores and thought this might be a good project to try and make one myself.  I could use this board to hang in our laundry room/mud room and fill it with family photos. Yes, I have relegated my family to the laundry room! (Wink, wink…)

Now to come up with the design and learn how to do it. I read a few blogs and watched a few tutorials, my normal process before trying something new for the first time (well and even the second or third time). I knew I needed  wood or board or a frame or something as the base for the board, and I would also need some batting, material, ribbon, buttons, and a staple gun.

Next was coming up with a design to determine how many rows of ribbon and the distance between the rows of ribbons and where the buttons should be placed. This took a bit of trial and error but luckily I use Adobe Illustrator quite a bit so I used it to come up with several designs to determine what size photos could fit where. I also took a look at quite a few memo board images on the internet to compare number of buttons and where I should place them. There is no right or wrong just a personal preference.

I ended up deciding on 5 rows of ribbon in each direction, evenly spaced. I toyed around with an uneven design but finally decided on the evenly spaced design.  I also decided to put buttons on every place that the ribbons crossed except for the ones close to the edge. I went round and round and just drew my designs in Illustrator and then picked the one I liked the best.

I usually try and use whatever I can find around the house before breaking down and going out and buying things. You just never know what you can reuse.  Being an artist and painter I  have a large stock of framed stretched canvas on hand. I found a canvas that was 28″ by 22″ and about 1″ thick, a perfect size for my project.

Based on that size board I could then calculate the amount of batting, material, and ribbon I would need. Since I was using a canvas for my base I could use a pencil and write on the back of it.  I used a measuring stick and measured the lines for the ribbon and the button locations and marked on the back with the pencil. The photo below shows the pencil markings on the back of the finished product. The round circles denote where the buttons should be placed on the front side.

Lisa Kyle Young Photography - French Memo Board

I always have bits of material and batting for my sewing projects laying around so I searched through my sewing room and found enough batting to cover the board. I also had some green fabric that I had been wanting to use for a project and thought the material I had would be perfect. Our laundry room and mud room have a green theme, think gardening, so I thought a green fabric would work well. I did need to go out and buy some ribbon and buttons.  Finding enough buttons of the same size and the same color proved to be a bit of a challenge. Our local sewing store doesn’t seem to stock large quantities of the same size and same color buttons. They had a large variety but not over 12 in each style. I needed 13 hence why I decided to use a different color for the center button. You thought I was trying to be unique, no, it was all I could find. Small town living at its finest.

I cut my batting and material to easily cover the front and sides of the board and also to hang over an inch or two on the back. My husband helped me hold the fabric while we staple gunned it to the back. I cut my ribbon to the correct sizes and again with the help of my husband, one holding and one stapling, we stapled the ribbon to the back of the board using the pencil guides on the back of the canvas frame.

Lisa Kyle Young Photography - French Memo Board

The next part and the hardest part of this project was trying to figure out how to attach the buttons, glue them, sew them, or what? Well I had considered this early on in the design process and that’s what led me to select the stretched canvas as my base.  I can sew the buttons on easily through the canvas since the back was accessible and a needle (a strong needle) could go through the canvas. If I had used a solid piece of wood then this would not have been possible. I probably would had to have glued the buttons down.

The last part was to add some wire to hang the board on the wall. The finished product.

Lisa Kyle Young Photography - French Memo Board

As with many projects, the majority of time is spent in the planning process and gathering together all the materials. The actual putting the board together was very, very quick and actually very easy. Hindsight is 20-20.



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