A Family Message Center for Less than $52

 

Single-calendar

As a working mom of 5 some days I am just desperate for ways to teach my children to be a little more self-reliant.

I noticed that one of my friends had a small white board on an easel on her kitchen counter, it’s brilliant because she writes on it each night just what her kids need to do the next day.

But with 5 children to juggle I needed more room to track schedules. The boards that I designed for this project are for a family with three children but really, that’s a lot more realistic, not everyone is as crazy as me!

The Design

message board side by side drawings

Tacky gold frames are easy to find in thrift stores, and I was lucky enough to come across a stash of over 60 matching frames with glass at my local Habitat ReStore. Needless to say the art was horrible but I knew the frame and glass would be perfect. Glass works just like a white board and both dry and wet erase markers work perfectly so all I had to do was to create a design that put a solid color behind the glass in order to show off the writing.

I decided to create an erasable weekly calendar so the kid’s could see the whole week in advance and add their own notes. I also created a matching board with white board space for general reminders, chores or notes and cork board to pin up schedules, artwork or photos.

The Materials

Message Board Materials

  • 1 frame for each board you intend to make (mine are 2’x3′)
  • I used pads of white board and burlap to create the surfaces for my boards, I found these in the scrapbooking aisle at Michaels’s Arts and Crafts
  • 10′ of screen molding if your board is 2’x3′
  • White satin spray primer and paint in one
  • Decorative buttons
  • Gold thumb tacks
  • Unpainted wood letters and any decorative motifs you like, Michael’s has a large selection
  • Glue gun and glue
  • Glue stick
  • message-board-materials-2

The Process

Watch the video first, these instructions are meant to help you remember the order or answer any additional questions.

message-boards-process-photo

  • First, dis-mantel the frame
  • Paint the frame and the lengths of screen molding
  • Use the cardboard from the frame and draw a grid for your calendar, I liked 9 squares leaving room for general reminders or notes
  • Cut burlap squares to fit your grid and glue them to the cardboard with a glue stick, I found that a heavy adhesive showed through the fabric and the glass will hold the fabric in place once the piece is put together
  • Reassemble the frame, glass, and fabric covered cardboard
  • Measure the inside distance from top to bottom of the frame and cut two pieces of screen molding to length (you can have this done at your local hardware store
  • Using hot glue or another clear drying adhesive attach these lengths to the glass covering the line where your burlap squares meet
  • Then measure each length of screen molding individually to be sure your horizontal pieces fit correctly, cut them and glue them down
  • Apply your day of the week initials, or decorative elements with the same glue and you are ready to go
  • If you decide to make the second board follow the same procedure but discard of the glass or buy a frame without glass
  • Take the cardboard from the frame to Michael’s or another frame department and ask them to cut some foam core to size
  • Apply the burlap and white board squares (they also have chalkboard squares and plain burlap if you wanted a more neutral look)
  • Put the board into the frame and attach the screen molding in a grid as described above
  • You can use your child’s names or initials to give them ownership over part of the board
  • Glue buttons to thumb tacks to make decorative pins for the cork board section if desired

Watch the video if you are confused about any part of this process, or comment and I will respond!

The Outcome

Load up the boards with all the info you need to make your life easier! These boards not only can help give you peace of mind but they really are a valuable learning tool for your child. I even used them for young non-readers by drawing simple symbols or line drawings to represent what was happening that day, waves for swimming, swings for the play ground, a broom for chores, etc.

You should, of course, make these in any color palette that works with your decor I just liked the idea of a bright cheerful message center, anything that makes to do lists seem a little more fun is good in my book!

after-angle

The Budget 

$4.99 – for each gold frame

$9.99 – Burlap  squares (they are $19.99 but I used my handy dandy 50% off coupon)

$9.99 – Whiteboard  squares (they are $19.99 but I used my handy dandy 50% off coupon)

$9.80 – Screen molding ($0.98 per foot)

$5,98 – White glossy spray paint and primer

$1.00 – Buttons from Michael’s dollar aisle

$.99 – gold thumb tacks

$.69 – each letter

$1.49 – decorative wooden elements

$7.50 – foam core (with a coupon)

$0.00 – I had the glue gun and I stole the glue stick from my kid’s school supplies

TOTAL: $52.05 (I should have put one of those dumb decorative wood pieces back…rats!)

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