Make a pocketed ribbon message board

By Shari Hiller and Matt Fox

McClatchy-Tribune News

Message boards are all the rage with the busy lives we lead, so make yours pretty with ribbons that accent your decor and colors that make you happy.

I think we can all agree that for something to function properly, it has to be organized. I know I have to clean up my office between projects or I just can’t find anything and can’t get anything done. Well, to stay organized, I have a variety of different methods I employ and one of them is using message boards at my house.

You know those French message boards that you can slide business cards and notes into or even tack messages or important papers? There’s one by my family desk for the kids’ schedules and papers that have to go back to school, one in my daughter’s room for her notes and reminders and of course a few in my office.

Well, today we are going to make another type of tack board called a ribbon board. And here are the materials you will need to gather.

Materials list:

Homosote board (available at lumber yards)

Lining fabric

Variety of wide ribbons

Measuring tape



Sewing machine

Dual Duty XP General Purpose thread

Tip: You can find homosote at lumber yards more frequently than at a home center store these days. It comes like a sheet of drywall, at 4 feet by 8 feet, or you can have the lumber yard cut it down for you. It's a pressed paper board and it works great for tacking. It will hold up well for years and not fall apart as you staple or tack into it. You also can screw into it to add hanging devices. If you need to cut the board yourself, just use a straight edge and a utility knife.


1. With the board cut, we can get started. First cut a piece of batting just a few inches larger than your board. Wrap it around the homosote and staple it to the back.

2. Then, grab a scrap piece of fabric, I used some lining fabric I had left over and cut it 2 to 3 inches larger than the homosote. I then marked on the fabric the top, sides and bottom edge of my homosote so I would be sure to cover that area with ribbons. The side lines are far enough out to go around the front, sides and some of the back of the board. This is your guide for the ribbons.

There aren’t too many huge ribbons out there that don’t cost an arm and a leg, so I decided to purchase regular 1 1/2-inch and 2-inch ribbons and sew them together to make deep enough pockets to slide a card, note or photo in.

3. Take some time now to arrange your ribbons into a design and then stitch two or three ribbons together to make deeper pockets.

Notice at the top I have attached a single strip of a larger yellow ribbon that overlaps my pencil markings by 1 1/2 inches. I did this because I didn’t think there should be a pocket at the top, so this wider ribbon folds all the way over the top of the homosote board and down the back a bit. Attach one just the same way at the bottom of your fabric so your last ribbon can end right at the bottom of your board without having to wrap around.

4. Next, bring in your other ribbons, overlapping slightly to create your design. End with the last ribbon touching the bottom pencil line indicating it will rest at the bottom edge of the homosote board.

Once your design is complete, determine which ribbons you are sewing together to make your pockets. I suppose it depends what type of notes you will be sticking into them!

5. Then, remove those two or three ribbons from the design and stitch them together on the sewing machine. I used such a small overlap, I wasn’t able to pin the ribbons together. I had to hold them in the overlapped position and feed them into the sewing machine. Continue in this fashion until you have all the ribbon strips sewn together.

Once the ribbons were sewn together, I noticed that they were puckering a bit and needed to be ironed so I ironed all the strips first before attaching them to the lining fabric.

6. Lay the ribbons back in their positions on the board and pin them to the fabric along the ends and stitch in place. Make any adjustments needed so the last ribbon lines up at the bottom edge before sewing.

7. Once the ribbons are all sewn onto the fabric, pin them along both sides and stitch the ends in place.

8. Last, set the ribbon cloth face down on the table, add the batting covered piece of homosote, lining the last ribbon up with the bottom edge, and begin stapling the ribbon fabric to the back of the homosote. You may want to do the middle staple on each side to make sure everything is straight and then slowly fill in, checking the front of the board for level and nice taught ribbons.

Then of course you will want to hang your brand new organization system somewhere and it’s easy to add a couple of toothed hangers at the top of the board. Make sure to space them equidistant apart from center and an equal distance from the top edge. Place them about a 1/2 inch down from the top. These work well to keep the board hanging level. Much better than a wire and single picture hook.

Now I can’t promise anything, but I’ll bet you stay just a little bit more organized than before … mainly because you want to use the gorgeous new ribbon board you’ve created.