You guys, our new office is SO GREAT! I mean… it’s bright and sunny and moderately removed from the melodic sounds of screaming children in the family room… I love it. Over the next few weeks I’m going to share tutorials on how I sewed the Roman shades and how we framed out the Ikea Billy shelves to look like built-ins. But today, you get to join me in the DIY nightmare that was this cork wall. Never again, folks. Never. Again.
Okay… so I fell in love with the idea of making that whole wall a big giant cork board, but… I was too cheap to do it the way I probably should have. And as God as my witness (*raises hand to sky*) I will find out how to do this right one day! SUGGESTIONS WELCOME! So again, do as I say… not as I do.
I saw a tutorial somewhere that said foam core was good as an underlay for a larger cork board. So I ran over to the dollar store and grabbed a bunch of foam core. I used our brad nailer to attach this to the wall (and don’t EVEN remind me what that wall will look like if I ever take the cork down… ugh.) The nails seemed to be grabbing without going all the way through the foam core and so far I was feeling sneaky smart about the whole cork wall idea.
After some googling, I learned that Jo-Ann has rolls of cork for cheap. (Warning lights should be going off for you right about now…). I moseyed on over and picked up 10 rolls of this stuff. I had plenty of coupons, but it was still close to $50 for all the cork.
My “plan” was to spray the cork with adhesive and stick it up to the spray foam and revel in my crafty expertise. The “reality” was cursing and more cursing. Let’s break this down… the spray adhesive didn’t do jack. Sure, perhaps there was a different one that might have worked, but I wasn’t feeling very experimental after unrolling the cork to see how paper thin it was… just looking at it made the corners and edges rip.
No biggie, I could use the brad nailer. Nope. No matter how I set it, the nails went right through the cork. I mean, duh… it’s cork. Plan C. Staple gun. The staple gun worked, but… it meant you could see staples all over the place. Not good.
Are you getting the gist of this %^*@)_)I()&%$ cork wall so far? Failure was not an option so I finished getting the cork on the wall with my staple gun, banged my head against a wall a few times (but not the cork wall because I didn’t want to rip any of my crappy cork) and started to work on pulling this failure back into the realm of victory. I happened to have some skinny wood trim. So I painted all this and nailed it around all the edges. This was working.
The center seam where the two rolls of cork met was baaaaad. The edges were raggedy and ripped and didn’t meet in a clean line the way the sides had. Hence…. this decorative gold chair rail. I actually LOVE how this stands out in the room and adds a little definition to the otherwise massive wall o’ cork. But between you an me, it’s there to cover the nasty edge.
At this point, I’ve solved 2 of the 3 biggest problems of the cork debacle: the cork is now 75% affixed to the wall and the ratty edges are covered. The 3rd problem was that the sheets of cork were SO thin that they were sagging in the middle. As much as I could relate to the poor saggy cork, it was unacceptable. Little brass tacks to the rescue.
I nailed these up and down the edges where the sheets of cork meet and removed all the staples. I also nailed them sporadically in the middle of each cork sheet to help with the sagging. They thankfully blend into the cork well enough that I don’t notice them even when I’m sitting at the desk a few feet away from the wall. But when you do catch a glimpse, the brass ties in well with the graphic gold chair rail and the rest of the room accessories.
Does the thing work? Yeah… it actually works great. The foam core under the cork gives it some depth and I love having a surface to stick up tear sheets or photos or whatever.
There you have it. Would I consider this a big fat failure? Probably not because I actually love the way the cork wall looks and it works exactly the way I wanted it to. But don’t you dare try to replicate this without considering alternate solutions… maybe an extra set of hands… maybe a better adhesive… maybe thicker cork… you tell me! And I apologize to anyone who happened to stroll by our house a few weeks ago who might have heard some choice 4-letter words wafting out from the office windows.
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