DIY: French Memory Boards

We recently moved our “office” into a corner of our living room.  Living in a smaller space with two children necessitates having a multi-purpose room!

I wanted to decorate this area with something that was both aesthetically-pleasing and functional. Cate suggested a French memory board, but rather than buying one, we decided it would be fun to try and make it ourselves. Although the idea of a memory board can be reminiscent of dorm life, if done with the right materials, it can be a nice way to create a meaningful and useful display; more worthy of this type of dorm.

With Cate‘s expertise, we used a simple burlap fabric and embellished it with bright orange ribbon for a pop of color.  Our end result was clean, modern, and fun.  Here is what we did:


  • Fabric (of your choice)
  • Canvas (or a bulletin board)
  • Ribbon
  • Batting (optional)
  • Staple gun
  • Tacks (or buttons for embellishment)


  • Lay your fabric down (with nice side facing out), and place the batting on top.
  • Place the canvas on top, face down, and measure the length/width of fabric you will need to be able to wrap it around to the back of the canvas.
  • Remove the canvas, and cut fabric and batting to the appropriate size. I like to use a rotary cutter, with a self-healing cutting mat for precision and ease.

  • Once your fabric and batting are cut, lay the canvas on top and, pulling the fabric/batting taut, staple to the back.  Staple in the center of each side, and work outwards, alternating sides, toward the corners.

  • Once the sides are stapled, fold the edges as if wrapping a present, and staple.

  • Boring so far, but now you’ll attach the ribbons.  Depending on how you want the ribbons to look, you can either attach them in the traditional way (in diagonals) or, as we chose to do, in a more modern way with straight intersecting lines.
  • Cut your ribbons (as many as you want).
  • Measure the length of the board, and then place the ribbons at appropriate distances apart (for example, if your board is 10 inches and you have 3 ribbons, you would place one at 2.5 inches, another at 5 inches, and the last at 7.5 inches).

  • Once the ribbons are placed at the right lengths, overlap them in an over-under fashion.

  • Pull tightly, and staple the ribbons to the back of the board.
  • The areas where the ribbons intersect need to be held together firmly in order for it to successfully hold things.  You can do this in any number of ways (with tacks, buttons, staples, a sewn seam, etc.).  We chose to staple and then place a tack over top.
  • Fill the board with art, pictures, memories, etc. (when you get tired of one thing, you can easily change it up!)

Such an easy way to personalize a space! Hang and enjoy.


About Kristin

Kristin is a photographer who lives in Durham with her husband and two children; she was born and raised in New York but has fallen in love with living below the Mason-Dixon. Before pursuing photography, she worked as an elementary and middle school teacher. She loves to read, sing, craft, and spend time with her family.
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5 Responses to DIY: French Memory Boards

  1. Stephanie says:

    Beautiful!! I wish I had know this when I tried to make one of these in high school. The result ended up being way too “froofy” because I used too much batting, a navy toile fabric and yellow ribbon with tiny eyelets. Gah! It was so dorky that I didn’t take it to college.

  2. Daniel says:

    What website is that on the computer in the last image? It looks so hip and fresh.

  3. Cate says:

    I love it all so much! What a fun project . . . so proud of us.

  4. Pingback: DIY Cozy French Memory Board | Shelterness

  5. Pingback: DIY: Fabric-Covered Bulletin Board « ohmipiaci!

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