Like canvas, corkboard displays a rich texture that stands out from the dull flat surface of your walls, and it's just waiting for a splash of added color and creativity. With the help of decorative painting techniques, you can convert an ordinary bulletin board into a charming focal point for your kitchen or home office, drawing greater attention to your important messages and scheduled events.
Little or no surface prep is necessary before you paint your corkboard. Remove any push-pins and sticky tape residue, then gently wash the surface with a mild cleanser or detergent and allow the cork to dry. If you opt for an acrylic latex paint, first apply a shellac primer to ensure that the top coat is evenly absorbed. The shellac works as a sealer, and it will also conceal any stains and uneven coloration.
Applying Interior Paint
An interior acrylic latex paint applies easily to primed corkboard, dries quickly, and is ready for a follow-up stencil or faux finish coat within as little as two hours. These paints are available in thousands of colors to complement your home decor, so you can select a bold color that draws extra attention to your bulletin board. For instance, a turquoise corkboard stands out against a tan or yellow wall, and a bright orange bulletin board will draw viewer's eyes in a predominantly blue or green room.
The Ideal Sheen
A paint with a flat sheen visually smooths the cork's rough surface, while an eggshell, satin or glossy sheen may do a better job of showcasing the cork's texture. A flatter paint finish, however, serves as a better base coat for stencils or other decorative painting techniques. Apply your paint using a disposable foam roller or foam pad so you can push the coating deeply into all the corkboard's nooks and crannies.
Once your base coat is dry, you can add a second color by using masking or painter's tape to section off a border that you can paint in a different shade. Alternatively, use tape or geometrically shaped stencils to add colorful squares, triangles or circles. You can personalize the corkboard in your daughter's bedroom with stenciled letters that spell out her name. In a kitchen, use stencils to add colorful images of fruit to your corkboard.
Making a Message Center
Your corkboard can serve double-duty if you apply a chalkboard paint in place of an ordinary interior paint. You can post notes to your corkboard with refrigerator magnets if you apply a magnetic primer. There's no reason you can't use both paints to convert your corkboard to a magnetic bulletin board, although the combined thickness of these specialty coatings may visually conceal the cork's natural texture.
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- PaintPro: Paint Primers
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- Ace Hardware: Pick the Best Paint Sheen for Every Job
- Apsense: Use Cork Notice Boards For Displaying Information
- Plaid: Notes Bulletin Board
- Bob Vila: Top Tips for Using Magnetic Primer
Mike Matthews is editor of Green Building Product News, a national publication that covers sustainable innovations in building and remodeling, and he has spoken at national conferences on green building. He has also served as founding editor of "Paint Dealer" magazine.