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Home Office Decor Series #2: Painted Bulletin Board & DIY Thumb Tacks

Welcome to the second piece in my Office Series where I discuss, in installments, each of the pieces I have up on my home office wall.

Office Wall Decor

This post is about the diagonal checkerboard-patterned corkboard. This is an easy one to make – a painted bulletin board that can be customized to your office colour scheme, with a set of matching thumb tacks or board pins. 

If you are interested in another item in the series, skip to that post: DIY Magnet Board & Magnets DIY Chalkboard & Chalk Tray Ink Transfer on Canvas Owl String Art


I use my corkboard exclusively for dissertation-related notes, but that does not mean I like having a dull, monochrome background for my notes! I simply bought a piece of corkboard, doubled it up so that the pins wouldn’t pierce the wall and painted it in a diagonal checkerboard pattern. This particular design requires a little bit of patience if you want to get the lines straight and even.

As you may have already guessed, this design relied heavily on masking tape. I wanted a peeking pop of colour, so I painted the sides yellow. The bottom of the corkboard is at eye-level when I’m sitting at my desk, and I like that every now and then, I’ll catch a glimpse of yellow.

Because this is a geometric pattern, it helps to be as precise as possible. Before anything else, I marked the bare corkboard and drew the diagonal lines with pencil. To paint this pattern, I started off by placing strips of masking tape diagonally first in one direction, then the opposite (over what is now the white space). I then painted the entire board with two coats of black acrylic paint. Acrylic paint dries to a plastic finish, so if you have to make any corrections, do it immediately while the paint is still wet. To tell you the truth, one coat was probably sufficient, but I went ahead and painted a second coat for good measure. After the paint was dry to the touch, I peeled off the masking tape.

The white strips were a little less straightforward to paint. First, I needed to paint white the strips going from left to right (marked by the blue lines). To do this, I placed masking tape on either side of the blue lines in the picture above (with the tape partially covering the black squares), creating a channel in between where I painted two coats of white. Once that was dry, I peeled off the tape. Next, I did the same in the opposite direction, going from right to left, marked by the green (neon yellow?) lines. After the paint had dried, I went over the edges of the lines freehand with a tiny paint brush.

Finally, before I painted the sides yellow, I taped off the edges on the upper surface to prevent any of the yellow paint from getting on the pristine black & white. Put on some mounting strips on the backside and there you have it, your very own customized corkboard!

Custom Thumb Tacks or Board Pins

I love things to fit into a colour scheme. I also love custom-made things, so it only made sense to paint my own thumb tacks to go with the corkboard, right?

I started with a box of regular silver thumb tacks. As far as I can recall, I made 20 of each base colour – white, black, yellow & magenta (which turned out to be almost maroon). I painted 2 coats of each colour, let them dry completely, then painted random symbols or patterns on them in contrasting colours. Because thumb tacks are so small, it helps if you stick them on the side of a box and then proceed to paint. Once the paint has dried and cured completely (I gave it two days), coat each pin with a thin layer of clear nail polish to seal them. Alternatively, you can spray on a layer of acrylic sealant. This helps prevent chipping from repeated use. Voila! Customized thumb tacks at your disposal.

Stay tuned for other pieces in this series!

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