Glass vases full of wine corks from crazy night’s past are a great way to “reuse” your corks. It’s a decorative way to recycle. Recycling is great, in all its forms. But once you start filling up vase number four, you may need to start looking for alternative ways to use those corks. Yes, you can go to any store and buy a cork board. But that’s boring. Zero Fun. Plus, it completely lacks personality and a certain je nais se quoi. You can make a personalized cork board for your kitchen or bedroom with a few materials and some free time.

The Options

There are a few ways to achieve this quirky little project. You can use scrap wood that’s lying around the house or an old picture frame. You can create a bulletin board that also doubles as a paper towel rack and chalkboard. For an easier project, choosing something like a frame that already comes with hanging hardware attached is your best bet. You don’t need a border for your board and the size doesn’t matter so much either. You could repurpose an old wooden clipboard for something small and easy to hang. Whatever route you take, you want your base to consist of a sturdy, but lighter weight wood. If you do end up using a heavier base, just make sure you have anchors for hanging so you don’t damage your walls and it’s secure once hung.

What You’ll Need

If you decide to get fancy and create an all-in-one multi-functional cork board piece, you’ll need extra materials such as extra wood for a shelf (like a 1X4 slat), but the basics you need are as follows:

  • Wine Corks
  • Wooden Base
  • Sand Paper
  • Wood or Super Glue
  • Knife
  • Paint and Hanging Accessories

Step 1: Choose Your Shape, Count Your Corks

When choosing the base, sticking to squares or rectangles make for a much easier project. But if you want to be extra creative and don’t mind a little extra work, and shape will do. Once you have your base cut/shaped, line up the corks to determine how many you’ll need to cover the area. Divide the number of whole corks it took to cover your base in half and cut that many corks in half lengthwise with a large kitchen knife so that you’re left with a flat base. This will be the most tasking step as cutting corks is like cutting a potato. Be VERY careful cutting. The best way to cut a cork is by inserting the tip of the knife in the center of the cork (laying on its curve, holding it on both sides) and bringing the blade down and away from your hand to cut one end, then stand the uncut end up on its flat side and finish the cut going the opposite direction.

Step 2: Sand, Glue, Set

Once all your corks are cut and you’ve got the design you want (not all corks look the same, you have the opportunity to create fun patterns and designs based on what you have stored up) sand and clean your base. Then carefully glue your corks to the base. Add some weight to the glued corks as you work with something heavy like a stack of books. Make sure the entire surface is weighted down as evenly as possible. Leave the corks weighted down overnight so they set properly.

Step 3: Paint and Hang

If you have a border or separate area for a chalk or marker board, you can paint these areas before you start gluing down the corks. If you paint after the corks are glued, just make sure you cover them with paper and painters tape so they don’t get painted in the process, too. When everything is dried and set, hang on your wall and enjoy your work.

Variations

A cork/chalk board or cork/marker board can be made easily with chalkboard paint or self-adhesive dry-erase paper.

To add a shelf to your corkboard, you’ll need a few nails and adjustable clamps as well as wood glue to attach the shelf portion. The shelf can be made with any 1×4 or 2×4 wood cut to size. Use a table or circular saw to cut the wood to size. Lumber stores will cut the wood for you if you don’t have a saw. Paint this piece before attaching it. Let it set with the clamps for at least 24 hours, especially if it will be bearing any sort of weight.

You can even use this same method on a smaller scale to make coasters. Just find a plain wood coaster at any craft store for the base. Take this a step further and color the corks with red wine or any fabric dye. Unless the cork has been treated with a seal, they will absorb the color.