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Picture Rail

Source: Martha Stewart Kids, 2003


How can you decorate a room to reflect his growing curiosity without completely changing the decor? The answer is bulletin boards. And not just the kind that come from the office-supply store. You can make your own boards from inexpensive lightweight materials, cut them to any size or shape, then cover with fabric or paint to fit the style of a room.

A bulletin-board picture rail hung the length of a hallway or between two doorways lets you proudly show off kids' artwork while keeping tape and thumbtacks off the walls. It's a beautiful detail in this hallway, and the coarse texture of the fabric (we used raw silk, but cotton canvas also works well) hides pinholes well. Quarter-round molding gives it a finished look.



  • Homasote fiberboard, cut to desired size

  • Fabric, thin enough to fold flat at corners and hide pinholes well

  • Staple gun

  • Hammer

  • 1-inch finishing nails


  1. Cut fabric 3 inches larger than fiberboard on all sides; lay it face down. Center fiberboard over fabric. Wrap one side of fabric around, and staple to back of board with one staple in middle. Pull taut, and staple opposite side. Repeat with other two sides. Continue stapling, working toward corners and adding staples in pairs on opposite sides. Stop just before corners.

  2. At corners, fold fabric to make it as flat as possible: Staple one side all the way to corner, then fold perpendicular side on top of it; pull taut and staple. Cut two ribbons to go across board and around to the back; they will cover finishing nails that hang the board at top and bottom. Staple one end of each ribbon to back of board. Pull taut; staple the other end.

  3. Before putting the boards on the walls, first install the molding using finishing nails. Space the molding so it will sit tight against the top and bottom edges of the boards. It takes two adults to maneuver the boards; one can hold the board while the other hammers the nails through the board into the wall.

  4. As you nail the board in place, lift the ribbon slightly so it's out of the way. Nail the board to the wall along top and bottom, inserting nails at intervals of roughly a foot; if you can find the studs, nail into them. Be sure to hammer the nail heads flush. Once you've hammered in all the nails, glue the ribbons into place over them using a thin line of fabric glue.

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