This DIY French Memo Board is a great decorative way to organize your life. It’s a project with minimal sewing, and a lot of hot glue. I’ve been working on an activities center for our family, to help keep our schedules and to do lists organized and easily seen. My husband has short term memory loss and my daughter has a short attention span, so asking me about the same thing multiple times is a regular occurrence. I want to empower them to know the info themselves, so having an activities center with a memo board, calendar, cork board, and chalkboard is a must. You can choose fabric, ribbon, and buttons to match your decor. My husband said this one reminds him of ladybugs and he loves it. I used an old blank canvas as my base. These come in all shapes and sizes. It’s a nice sturdy base that is easy to find and fit for hanging on a wall. Ok onto the tutorial…
SUPPLIES for French Memo Board:
- 1 Blank canvas
- Cotton fabric slightly larger than canvas
- 2 Layers of batting slightly larger than canvas
- 1 High temp hot glue gun
- Several glue sticks
- 2 Spools of 1″ grosgrain ribbon – Depending on the size of your canvas, you might need more or less. Having left over ribbon is always good. Having not enough to finish the project is never good
- Matching 1″ buttons – I bought a mixed bag of white buttons at Walmart for $6. I needed a total of 21…1 for each ribbon intersection
- A spool of thread that matches the buttons
- A hand sewing needle
- A steam iron
INSTRUCTIONS for memo board:
1) Lay your fabric out on your work surface. Place the canvas on it, face down. Pull the fabric up around the canvas, so it lays on the back, overlapping the frame a bit. You can use a piece of chalk to mark this measurement if needed. I used a corner of the fabric, so I only had to cut two sides. Lay your fabric back down, and cut out the piece, according the the canvas overlap size. If your canvas is square like mine, your fabric shape will be square too.
2) Unroll your batting. Mine was doubled up, which makes for a softer finished look. Place your fabric piece on top of the batting. Cut out the batting around the fabric, so your batting and fabric are even sizes.
3) Using the iron on the cotton setting, with water inside for steam, iron any wrinkles out of your fabric. Set the fabric aside.
4) Center the canvas onto the batting, face down.
5) Heat up your hot glue gun with a glue stick inside of it. You’ll be using hot glue to wrap the batting and fabric separately around the back of the canvas. I added glue to the frame section, to hide any messy application.
6) When the glue gun is hot, squeeze some glue onto the center of one side of the canvas. Pull the batting up and flat onto the glue. Use your metal scissors to smooth down the batting onto the glue. If the glue doesn’t go through both layers of batting, add glue onto the 1st batting layer, where you placed the glue the 1st time. Press the 2nd layer onto the glue and smooth with scissors.
7) Squeeze an ample line of glue along the canvas back edge, on one side of where you added it 1st. Carefully lay the batting edge along that glue, smoothing with the scissors. Repeat for the other side. Leave about 2″ from each corner without glue. Repeat again for the 2nd layer of batting.
REPEAT STEPS 6 and 7 for the other sides of the canvas and batting. The 1st repeat should be the opposite side of where you started, so the batting has smooth tension.
8) There are different ways to wrap corners. If you have a different method than what I used, feel free to use it. I worked one corner at a time. Squeeze hot glue on one corner. Pull the corner of the layered batting up tight and place it onto the glue. Smooth with the scissors. Add more hot glue to that corner. Fold one side over smoothly, adding more hot glue if needed. Repeat for the other side at that corner. Do this for each corner.
9) Using the scissors, trim off any excess batting.
10) Lay the batting covered canvas on the center of the fabric back. Repeat the same wrapping steps for the fabric as you did for the batting. I had some excess fabric, so I added more glue along the inside of the wood frame and smoothed the fabric down. This gave the fabric better tension.
11) For the ribbon, I started corner to corner. On the back of the memo board, add a line of hot glue diagonally down the corner. Lay the end of the ribbon on that. Let it dry. Pull the ribbon across the front to the opposite corner. Pull it tightly to the back. Add another diagonal line of glue. Lay the ribbon on the glue. Clip the excess ribbon. Repeat for the other diagonal. When you are done, you should have an X across the front.
12) For the next set of ribbons, I made them about 3″ away from the 1st ribbons. For these, I wanted them to be even lengths. I laid the ribbon on the front, 3″ parallel from the 1st ribbon, leaving a few inches of excess, to wrap around the back. I cut the piece at that determined measurement. Before I glued it, I measured that piece against the remaining ribbon, cutting 3 more pieces the same length, for a total of 4 even ribbon pieces.
13) Lay the ribbon on the memo board, wrapping one end to the back. Add hot glue where that ribbon wraps. Press the ribbon onto the glue. Use the scissors to smooth the ribbon.
14) Flip the memo board back over, smoothing the ribbon across it. Weave the end under or over the intersecting ribbon if needed. That depends on if the parallel ribbon is over or under the intersecting ribbon. They ribbons should be woven under and over each other for better tension and structure. Pull the ribbon tight. Add hot glue where the end lays on the back. Press the ribbon end onto the glue, smoothing with the scissors. Repeat with the 3 other ribbons.
REPEAT STEPS 12 and 13 for the 3rd set of ribbons. If you have a larger canvas, you can add more ribbons if needed. Make sure to weave the ribbons at the intersections, to create a nice tension.
15) At each ribbon intersection, I hand sewed a 1″ white button through the ribbons, fabric, batting and canvas. This was easy with most of the buttons. It’s tricky around the side intersections and the center where the wood stretching bar is. I saved those for last. Make sure to knot on the back or inside a button hole.
16) I cut a piece of Oly*fun that was slightly smaller than the back. I used the same hot glue application as the wrapping (except the corners) to add the fabric backing. For the corners, they didn’t need to be wrapped, so I added glue at the corners and laid the fabric flat. Take your time with this, as you can’t adjust the evenness of the backing like you can the wrapping.
17) For hanging, you can either poke holes through the back of the Oly*fun under one edge of the wood frame, or add a hanger of your choice. I choose to poke holes through the Oly*Fun and hang the memo board on large screws.
I use French memo boards for various things in my house. An activities memo boars is great for showing party invitations, school memos, to do lists, schedules, and lists of important numbers. I have ones that hold fancy hair clips and fascinators for easy access. You could pin on momentos, prize ribbons, photos, magazine images, articles, artwork, flowers, and what ever puts you in a good mood. What do you use French memo boards for?