Distressed Vintage Corkboard

Corkboards make for great mood boards. You can quickly pin your ideas/ inspiration, shift them around easily, and remove ones that deviate from the current theme. However, they often come pre-packaged as a drab slab. On the hunt for ideas, I was quite drawn to framing it with an ornate frame. Installing an entirely new frame on the corkboard was going to set me back way beyond my budget. DeSerres had some for around $250, and vintage frames online were not that much cheaper.

Inspired by a vintage photo frame I ordered via The Painted Lady on Etsy, for a university graduation photo, I decided to glue decorative corner pieces onto the existing frame. I found mine at Home Depot, and each pack of 2 costed me about $8. The corkboard was bought, on sale, at Michael’s for $10.

Now for the grunt work. Shanty 2 Chic provided an easy, thorough, and cost-effective way to achieve the distressed painted look – with petroleum jelly. You can refer to this tutorial for images that take you through it step-by-step.

If you want to achieve this particular look, read on.

Wooden decorative corner pieces
Dark acrylic paint
White latex paint
Paint tray (Paper plates will do!)
Painter’s tape
Petroleum jelly


  • Your corkboard’s frame may be treated, so you’ll need to prep the surface by sanding off the varnish. If you have a rotary sanding machine, that will make the job go by much faster. If not, you’ll just need a bit more patience to do it manually.
  • Start with the base coat. Acrylic paint is used because it is cheap and dries rapidly. Paint the area that you want to show through. I painted the frame and the corner pieces and used painter’s tape to prevent from painting onto the cork panel. Allow for it to dry.
  • Rub petroleum jelly on the areas that you want to show through the topcoat as this provides a buffer between the base coat and topcoat. Generally, you’ll want to apply it on the corners and edges.
  • Paint the entire corkboard and the corner pieces with the latex paint. Allow for each layer to dry before applying another. I had to use three coats for thorough coverage. Don’t worry if the corkboard starts to bubble a bit as you’re painting. It should lay flat once the paint has dried.
  • Glue the corner pieces onto the corkboard. Allow for the glue to dry and set completely.
  • Using a coarse-grade sandpaper, gently abrade the where you want to show the base coat.
  • Hang it up, and pin your inspirations and ideas! (Tip: Repurpose old stud earrings as pushpins.)

5 thoughts on “Distressed Vintage Corkboard

  1. Wow! I totally LOVE this look 😀 I’m always so scared of doing these types of projects myself and end up buying them anyway, but I feel like I can give this a shot!! Thanks for the simple tips and inspiration 🙂


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