Elmer’s #Looks4Less Burlap Monogrammed Memo Board {DIY Tutorial}

I have a bit of an obsession with catalogs like Restoration Hardware, Pottery Barn and Ballard Designs. I subscribe to them all, yet never buy anything because it’s simply too expensive or sometimes I feel I can make the look for less with a bit of creativity and Elmer’s products.

As you all know, I’ve worked a lot on my breakfast nook, but I needed something on the walls to give it that personal touch and functionality as a message/mail center. It just looked kind of bare. Boo. The nook is an area we frequent many times a day: we sort mail, put down our bags/keys, etc. Therefore, I really wanted a chic, unique message board to keep us organized and on top of things. We are a forgetful couple. Ok, maybe me more than him…

Recently, I got a Ballard Designs catalog in the mail, and I was smitten with a product in their catalog:


Burlap Memo Board, $69 each via Ballard Designs (image credit: Ballard Designs)

But $69 a piece was not going to fly in this thrifty household. That’d be $138 plus shipping…so almost $150.

<insert me fainting>

Then I thought to myself…Elmer’s has challenged me to create something I’ve seen in a catalog using Elmer’s products. They sent me some awesome stuff:

Looks4Less06  Looks4Less07

My craft pack included 3 foam boards (1 black + 2 white), 3 glue sticks, 3 packs of Painters pens and an X-Acto crafting knife. On top of all that, they sent a $25 Visa gift card to help me buy any extra accessories I needed to complete my looks for less task**. With all this crafty goodness, how could I not bring my memo board dreams into my breakfast nook?

Now, let’s get crafty! Below is a list of supplies to create your own burlap memo board (note, I made 2, so if you want to make a pair, you’d need 1 extra foam board):

**Note: Thanks to Elmer’s, I only had to spend $5.94 for the burlap (I bought 2 yards in case I messed up, but only used one), $2.97 X-Acto Metal Ruler, $2.00 X-Acto #11 Blades (in case mine broke, which it didn’t)= $11.81 total.

Step 1:  Cut your foam board in half using your X-Acto knife. The board is 20×30, so you should end up with 2, 20×15 inch boards. Using spray adhesive, spray one board and place the other board on top of it to glue them together. If they’re not perfectly flush, don’t fret, just trim any excess hangover using your X-Acto knife. As you can see, I am using a box to cut my boards on so I don’t scratch my counters. Also, use a metal ruler to help guide your X-Acto knife for a cleaner, straighter cut.



I did this twice (to 2 different boards) since I made 2 memo boards. Why did I double up my board this way? Simple! I didn’t want the push pins to go through to the wall when pinning stuff to my memo board, so by doubling up my board I got rid of that issue.


Step 2: Cut your burlap in half and fold in half. You want to do this so that the white of the foam board is totally covered by the burlap, so make sure to double up your burlap as seen below.


Step 3: Using your extra-strength glue stick, glue one edge of the burlap onto the board.



This helps get your burlap in place so you can make sure it’s taut around all the corners. I only used the glue stick for one edge, and then I reinforced it with my staple gun. Basically your fabric will move and shift as you work with it, so the glue stick helps keep it in place while you make sure your fabric is just the way you want it; no need to go staple/glue gun crazy and then take it all out if you end up with crooked fabric.

I finished wrapping, glueing and stapling the burlap to my 2 boards, and this is how they should look at this point.


Step 4: Using my Silhouette SD, I cut out a stencil for our monograms. Mine is the M, Daniel’s is the D. Using my black Painters Pen, I traced the letter onto the burlap.




Then I embellished them a bit with some simple diagonal stripes to add some interest.


Step 5: I create a simple bow using 1-foot of ribbon + floral wire and adhered it to the board using some hot glue. I also attached a 10-inch black ribbon on the back to serve as a hanger.



Step 6: Place onto wall, adorn with some push pins and admire your handiwork!






Cost Breakdown (approximate cost at Walmart, you likely already have some of these on hand):

  • Foam Board: $2.50 each
  • Burlap: $2.97/yard
  • X-Acto: $5
  • Paint Pens: $5 for a 5-pack
  • Glue Stick: $2 each
  • X-Acto Metal Ruler: $2.97
  • Other misc craft supplies: Had on hand (FREE!)
  • Total cost: About $20 for one or $23 for two burlap memo boards!
  • That’s a savings of $52 for one board (or about 70% off) or $115 savings on 2 boards (or about 83% off- WOW!!)


Well, what do you think? Did I do a good job creating the #looks4less? Next time you’re bummed that you can’t afford something out of a catalog, think about how you can recreate it yourself using craft supplies and some imagination. The project took me about 1.5 hours total, and you can view my shopping experience over on Google+. Can’t think of anything to make? Elmer’s has created a wonderful how-to guide that is sure to inspire anyone to create something beautiful.

And, Elmer’s is being uber generous and providing 2 gift packs to one of my lovely readers so you can create my project (or any other project you’d like). How great is that?!

The prize pack included:

• Black 20×30 Foam Board • White 20×30 Foam Board • CraftBond All-Purpose Glue Stick • CraftBond Repositionable Glue Stick • CraftBond Extra-Strength Glue Stick • X-ACTO Designer Series Gripster Knife • Painters Assorted Colors Set

Drawing is open until December 8th at noon CST.

To enter leave me a comment with what you’d make using the gift pack (and a way to contact you if you win- Twitter handle, e-mail, something…please!). Giveaway is only open to blog subscribers, so make sure you follow my blog over there on the right handside. Smile

Good luck!!

I’ll be back tomorrow with another Ballard Designs knock-off for the holidays. You won’t want to miss it!


This project has been compensated as part of a social shopper insights study for Elmer’s #gluenglitter #collectivebias #CBias All opinions, photos and ideas are my own, as always.



  1. Go Against The Grain
    November 29, 2011 / 2:39 am

    OMG! I love them! They turned out great Monica. Nice job!

  2. lilmoomoo
    November 29, 2011 / 7:40 am

    They turned out awesome! I like yours much better :)lovelovelovemoo.

  3. Amy @ The Mom Hood
    November 29, 2011 / 12:02 pm

    You did an amazing job – I couldn't tell the difference!

  4. theplussideofme
    November 29, 2011 / 2:31 pm

    Love it! I know what I'm doing over Christmas break now…. And actually.. Might do this for a few gifts for friends!

  5. Monica Johnson
    November 29, 2011 / 3:43 pm

    Oh my gosh, I love these! Would be the perfect gift for girlfriends! 🙂

  6. Andrea
    November 29, 2011 / 5:31 pm

    that's a really cute project! what a great idea. so cute for gifts too for people!

  7. Mommy This and That
    November 30, 2011 / 4:03 pm

    You are killing me with these awesome projects! I adore this…I now have two things to make!!

  8. Carolyn
    December 1, 2011 / 7:36 pm

    Seriously Monica, is there anything you can't do? I love burlap and these look amazing. I'm going to try and do this in Lauryn's room.

  9. Tonia @ TheGunnySack.com
    December 1, 2011 / 8:10 pm

    Wonderful! I would love to have a couple of these to hang in my house!

  10. Rebecca E. Parsons/Cre8Tiva
    December 1, 2011 / 8:31 pm

    so cute!!!

  11. Chrissy @ The Outlaw Mom Blog
    December 1, 2011 / 10:42 pm

    So simple and so gorgeous. Love the black and white with the burlap. Isn't the Spray Adhesive the best?! It's my fave. Great tutorial!

  12. Go Against The Grain
    December 1, 2011 / 11:19 pm

    Ok for my contest entry: I'd def. make that awesome letter wreath that you showed us how to do!!

  13. Emmi
    December 2, 2011 / 2:02 am

    Super cute! Love it! I would do something similar. I wanted to actually cut out the letters and cover them with fabric. It would be the first initial of each kid's name and I would hang it in their rooms! mommyfreetime at gmail dot com

  14. - Brittany aka Pretty Handy Girl
    December 2, 2011 / 2:29 am

    I love the striped letters! Very nice knock off. Thinking there might be one of these in my future ;-). Thanks for sharing.Brittany

  15. Vanessa
    December 3, 2011 / 2:23 am

    HI, MonicaI love Elmer! I would use the board to make some art project and the painters pen to color the board. Love this stuff. Vanessa

  16. Amber
    December 4, 2011 / 12:16 am

    Your project rocks! I don't know what I'd make, but I might try your project..it's so cute! amber at thriftyninja dot net

  17. Stephen and Amanda O'Dair blog
    December 5, 2011 / 2:05 am

    oh my those are so cute! I want to make a shadow box. beeacutie2 @ gmail .com

  18. Anonymous
    December 8, 2011 / 1:10 pm

    I would use it to make what your project! I would make one for my cousin, since her birthday is coming up 🙂 You can contact me on twitter @theplussideofme

  19. BR
    December 8, 2011 / 4:56 pm

    Great tutorial! I would make this project with the letters B and J. (on Twitter I'm @belenesq)