With my brooch and pin collection growing at a fast rate, I have been constantly on the lookout for a good way to keep them together in a way that I could see them all and make the best choice possible when choosing my accessories every day. For about a year now, I’ve used a temporary storage method I threw together composed of a hard three ring binder and pieces of felt. Lately, the felt has been ripping and the pages becoming harder and harder to quickly shuffle through as brooches are added to my collection, so I knew I finally had to take the plunge and try to make my own brooch board.
Several tutorials already exist on making simple, square brooch boards, and the general concept is the same as the more complicated version I have tried to execute. A slight disclaimer – I am not in the least bit crafty. Artsy? Sure. Crafty? Most definitely not. Unfortunately, I also don’t like to limit myself to the “easy” solution. While I did create a simple brooch board for my vintage and non-Disney pins at the same time as these by following tutorials like Junebugs and Georgia Peaches’, and Betties N Brimstone’s, I wanted a little something more to adorn my walls when it came to my Disney collection. As mentioned, I have absolutely no experience crafting, so was learning as I went along, but figured if I can do it, anyone can! I plan to make a set with Ariel and Eric when I have need of more space, and know that I can create more precise lines next time now that I know what I’m doing.
So without further ado, here’s how to make yourself a shaped brooch board!
Supplies You’ll Need:
- Some sort of material to cover the finished product (I opted for black felt to provide my pins with a softer surface, and to show them off with the greatest contrast.
- Thin, low-loft batting
- Cork board (I needed a sizable amount of cork board for the three separate brooch boards I was planning to make, so was quite restricted in my selection. Michael’s didn’t have anything large enough or affordable, so I went to Home Depot and purchased some “cork board” that I’m pretty confident is just particle board with a thin layer of cork on top. YOU LIE, HOME DEPOT, I know my cork board! I would definitely suggest finding a board that is 100% cork as it would make everything a LOT easier and it will be better for your pins in the long run.)
- Staple gun
- Hot glue + hot glue gun
- Silver sharpie (or something else that will show up on black felt to trace your images)
- Picture hanger hooks – the kind that lays flat
- A helping hand (or two)!
When choosing a stencil, at least for your first attempts unless you’re an expert at operating a jigsaw, I would suggest selecting a simple design. While I would have loved to have full silhouettes, I knew this would be nearly impossible with all of the limbs sticking out everywhere (and not very conducive to maximum surface area), so I opted for the busts of my two favorite Disney characters: Belle and Prince Adam. I googled their silhouettes and quickly found one for Belle and realized that I would definitely need to create my own silhouette for Adam, so found an image of the scene where he’s holding Belle to draw inspiration from.
If you’re smart and think ahead enough (and have a pre-drawn version of what you want to use for your shape), go ahead and print it, cut it out, and boom! Stencil made. I naturally blanked on printing my images (despite the fact that I work in a copy shop), so had to free hand my silhouettes. I didn’t have large enough sketchbook paper, so drew my silhouettes on several sheets and just taped them together for use after cutting them out. All in all, while this took some unnecessary time, it was definitely the most fun (and most immediately successful) part of the process for me!
After cutting out my stencils, I went on to trace the stencils on my so-called cork board as well as the batting.
This is where it gets complicated and a few helping hands are very handy! Using your jigsaw, follow the lines and cut out your shapes on the cork board. At this point, I was only a witness for a small part of the proceedings as we’d come to realize we needed a new staple gun so I had to make a hasty trip to Walmart. Watching my roommate and my sister struggle with this step made me glad I had other things to do – and extremely appreciative! Despite the occasional gasps and “oh nos,”Belle and Adam were finally cut out and ready to go. I had known going into it, that much of the detail and angling would be lost, so was more than pleased with the final results!
At this point, it was dark out, and we’d been driving around and working for a long time, so I figured it would be better to finish the project the following day (despite my stubborn unwillingness to leave something like this incomplete).
The next day, I pulled all of my supplies back out and continued my work. First, I traced along the edges of my two silhouettes with hot glue to glue down the batting I had traced and cut out the previous day. A quick note, if you get a board like mine that only has cork on one side, be sure the cork side is facing up! I definitely tried to attach the batting to the back at one point. Whoops!
The next step is probably one of the most complicated in the process: applying the black felt to the top. I cut the black felt in a large circle around each silhouette in order to provide plenty of extra felt to wrap around and staple on the back of my shapes. I knew this was going to be tricky, and I was right. The facial details were particularly difficult and I barely managed any definition at all – but I did! I realized as I sat struggling with Belle’s face that I could use a combination of methods: I decided to wrap the felt around everywhere but the faces where I would use the stencils to cut out the silhouette exactly and hot glue their features down. It was a bit too late to salvage Belle, but Adam definitely fared better with this method. When stapling the black felt around the rest of their busts, I consistently cut slits whenever an angle appeared in order to work around the formation with as smooth an effect as possible so the felt was pulled as tight as possible.
Once that was done, I went in with my hot glue gun and glued down any areas where the felt was bulging or puckering out.
I had originally started this project with the intention of lining the sides with a black ribbon once the layers were added, but quickly found out that this looked a bit strange and cheap, so opted out of it. Instead, I opted for a simpler solution (if not an infallible one) to cover any of the wood showing along the sides – black sharpie!
Once this is all done the only step left is to attach your picture hanger hooks. (I did two on each, but this will change depending on the size of what you make.)
And then you’re ready to hang them…
…and add your brooches!
Regretfully, I had to take down my Harvey poster to fit my new brooch boards, but definitely worth it! No more overflowing, clunky, awkward binder floating around my room. Instead, I have two of my favorite characters gracing my walls with a solid purpose! And I was amazed to find that I had more than enough space for the Disney pins and brooches I own (although I have five more on the way to me). Guess I need to acquire more 😉
Hope this learn-as-you-go step-by-step was helpful! This concept would work for a whole slew of shapes and designs as long as you take into account how much more difficult it is to work with small, curved details like lips and eyelashes.
Summary of Steps:
- Cut out stencil of desired shape
- Trace shape on cork board and batting, and cut them out
- Hot glue (or staple) batting to top of cork board
- Cut out large piece of felt with enough room to wrap around cork board figure everywhere except the face where there are small details and the felt should be cut to the exact shape of the stencil
- Carefully staple felt to cork board by cutting slits when needed to work around bends
- Hot glue the detail area down and hot glue anything along the sides that is sticking out
- Sharpie (or paint) any wood that’s showing along the sides
- Attach as many painting hooks as needed to the back
- Hang and attach pins
- Enjoy your work!
Miss Lark Bahar