Create a Backdoor Bulletin Board

Someone should warn prospective parents about how much paperwork must flow to and from school and activities in order to raise a child. And they should also be warned that in the morning when you say, “kids, time to go to school,” is more likely to mean, “kids, start running around like crazy trying to find what you need for school.”

That’s why we came up with our backdoor bulletin board – to help us find the information we need in order to get the family out the door without so much drama.

Using templates and clip art from Microsoft Office Online, as well as made-for-printer card stock, postcards, and clear sticker sheets, our latest iteration took only a few hours to put together from start to finish.

Study the anatomy of our bulletin board

There is a lot going on in our bulletin board because there is a lot going on with our family. Let’s take a look at the bulletin board’s anatomy so you can get some ideas of your own.

1) Birthday and Anniversary Calendar (from a template)

2) Custom notes printed on postcard paper (from a template)

3) Pen tied to a tack

4) Message center (card stock with clear stickers) for posting messages

5) Emergency Contact Sheet (from a template)

6) School calendars (post the ones you get from school)

7) Wrapping paper background

8) 3 separate file folders used as hanging pockets

Get your bulletin board ready

We applied wrapping paper to our bulletin board for two reasons. First, it gives it a nice punch of color, and second, it hides some doodles that were left over from the days when it was in my oldest son’s room. You could also cover the board with fabric (and might in fact find that the pin holes are less obvious than on the paper).

Take advantage of templates

I am all for taking shortcuts as long as the results are as good or better than if I did all of the work myself. That’s why I used templates from Office Online for as much as possible in this project; they allowed me to get great-looking results and saved me time. Here is how templates work.

Look for templates. I start at the Office Online Template Gallery and search for templates that I could use.

Download the template. After searching, a list of templates that meet your search criteria comes up. Click one of the templates and then click Download to copy the template file onto your computer.

Customize the document. After the template downloads it is opened in the appropriate program (such as Word, Excel, or PowerPoint). From there you can add your own content and then print it like any other document.

Here is how we used templates to create sections of our bulletin board:

The Birthday and Anniversary Calendar gives you an annual calendar as well as space for you to type all of the important birthdays and anniversaries for the year.

Print note such as weekly activities, check lists, and important information on postcard. I used the Special offer postcards, back (works with Avery 3263 and 8387) template.

The Emergency Contact Sheet template helped me to put important phone numbers in one place. After I typed in our contacts I printed the document on card stock, and then cut the emergency contacts and family and friends list into 2 separate pages.

Create clip art stickers

I purchased a package of clear sticker sheets from our local office supply store and then set out to create some stickers to adorn the bulletin board.

Browse for clip art. I browse for clip art from Microsoft Office Word. I just click Clip Art on the Insert menu, and then start typing search terms in the Search for box. After clip art appears in the Clip Art task pane, I click it to insert selected pieces it into my Word document.

Print on sticker sheets. After I filled my document with 2 pages of clip art, I printed the pages on the sticker sheets. I was careful to read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to set up the printer and load the paper into my printer’s paper tray.

Cut out the stickers. I let my youngest children cut them out (they are 10 so can handle scissors; if your children are younger then you get to do it). The clear stickers are forgiving because if there is too much space around the clip art it still won’t show up on the finished product because the background is transparent.

Put it all together

With all of my elements ready it was time to put it all together.

Mount plain elements on colored paper. Here I borrowed a technique from my friends who scrapbook. I cut out colored paper about ½” larger than each element and then used spray adhesive to mount each item on the colored card stock. (I use card stock because the spray adhesive will leak through normal paper.)

Create your hanging pockets. I just cut the tabs off of file folders, then stapled the right and left edges shut, and then added the kids’ names that I printed on postcard stock and then mounted on colored paper.

Get a pen ready. Tie a pen to a ribbon or string and then attach that ribbon to a thumbtack. Just make sure that the ribbon is long enough to allow family members to write anywhere on the bulletin board.

Create a message center. This is really just a place for family members to tack messages for each other. I created this area by cutting a piece of card stock, then adding 2 clear labels that were made from clip art (they say “New” and Hot!”).

Start sticking. Now you can tack up the elements you have created and affix stickers wherever you want. This is where the kids can have fun decorating their folders and you can make sure that important elements like their school calendar and their school lunch calendar are displayed where everyone can see them.

Bulletin boards are not just for the backdoor

You can use some of the ideas and techniques highlighted in this article to create a custom bulletin board for a child’s room, your office, or even your kitchen. Your choice of background paper or fabric, paper colors, and stickers will give your bulletin board a look that is your own. And who knows – maybe mornings won’t be quite so frantic with everything in one place.