Favorite past project: wine cork board

Many years ago, before Etsy.com was in full swing and not long after my 21st birthday, I had seen a picture in a design magazine of an entire wall made out of wine corks.  It got me thinking that it would be super awesome to have a cork board made entirely out of wine corks.  I know now that this is not an original idea, as evidenced by the multitude of such cork boards no available on Etsy.  But at the time, I thought it was a pretty original idea and became slightly obsessed with it.

Although I like wine as much as the next person, I knew it would take me way too long to amass the necessary volume of corks on my own (especially because at the time, my budget mostly involved screw-top wines) because I didn’t want a dinky little cork board; I wanted it to be really, really big.  So I asked my friends and family to help out–and they were fabulous!  Every few months or so a friend or family member would show up to my house with a ziplock bag of wine corks for me.  It still took me years to get enough corks, and I eventually started getting antsy for my new cork board; I even knew exactly where I’d hang it in the dining room as soon as we moved to our condo in Evanston.  So I actually hit up the Italian restaurant in our neighborhood for corks too (and found out I wasn’t the only person who had made such a request) and they were happy to help.  Then, finally, a couple of years ago, I counted and realized that I probably had enough corks to make my giant wine cork board dream a reality.

The problem?  I wasn’t exactly sure how to go about actually creating the board.  I had wanted to cut each one in half lengthwise initially, but I never found an efficient way to do this.  But I was determined that one way or another, I’d get my cork board.  So here’s what I ended up doing.  I purchased some thick foam board from Michaels in a sort of neutral-cork-y color.  This served as the backing for the board.  I also purchased heavy-duty hold craft glue.  Then I popped in a movie and poured a glass of wine and got to work gluing the corks to the board in a sort of two-by-two pattern.

Once I had adhered all the corks to the foam board, I took the entire thing to Michaels to have it framed.  The finished thing was about 20×28.  I didn’t get a super-expensive frame, but I got a nice one.  And I used a coupon.  When I brought it to the framing department, the rather disagreeable woman taking my order said, “you know this isn’t perfectly straight, right?”  I was a little annoyed. After all my hard gluing work, she was pointing out that my hand-made cork board wasn’t perfect, which obviously I knew.  So I replied, “yes, but considering all the wine I had to drink to make this, I’d say it is pretty straight.”   Luckily, she laughed.  She said that the slight unevenness of the corks didn’t really matter as long as it didn’t bother me, which of course I said it didn’t.

Anyway, I thought the whole process (other than the years of collecting corks) was remarkably easy.  And a few years later my labor of love is still going strong, and has become a great conversation piece in our home.  I use it mostly for parties–I like to put up the menu because I feel that posting the menu adds a lovely sense of occasion to any event.  Here’s a pic my long awaited board during the last event we hosted, which was a wedding shower:


Here’s a slightly closer-up pic:

What do you think?  Have you created a cork board before?  How did you do it?

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