Turn an Old Storm Window into a Family Message Board


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Staying organized is a challenge for any busy family. Everyone has activities, appointments, sporting events and meetings. Having a schedule in one place so everyone can see at-a-glance what’s happening makes life easier. If you’re going to hang a message board, you might as well hang something that coordinates with your home décor and reflects your family’s personality.

I love old architectural elements. Reusing old windows not only keeps them out of the landfill, but it’s much more interesting (and less expensive) than a new one.


I chose a sash with three panes — one for cork, one for chalk paint and the third for paper and suction cups.

Step 1: Clean up the window with soap and water.

Step 2: Remove any loose paint with sand paper.

Step 3: You could fill in all the holes and dents, but I like dings and lumpy paint. It gives the frame character.


Step 4: Choose a paint color that coordinates with your kitchen or home office décor. I wanted a colorful and bright message board so I used teal in a high gloss.

Step 5: It took two coats to cover the old paint.

Step 6: Use a razor blade scraper to remove the dribbles.


The Chalk Pane

I love chalkboard paint for quick notes and lists. You wipe it clean with a sponge and water. It comes in a variety of colors, but I like basic black. You can also find it in a magnetic version.

Step 7: Using a foam brush, cover the left pane with chalkboard paint. It took three coats for complete coverage. Write your messages with any chalk.


The Paper Pane

Using decorative scrapbook paper gives you the opportunity to add more color and patterns. You’ll find a huge selection at the craft store.

Step 8: Cut a piece of paper to fit the middle frame.

Step 9: Paint Mod Podge on the PATTERN side of the paper with another foam brush.

Step 10: Stick the paper to the BACK of the window frame. When you turn it over, the pattern will show.

Step 11: Attach suction cups with hooks to the glass to hang keys, ribbons or pins.


I could have stopped there, but I like embellishments. Trims add another layer of color and texture.

Step 12: Glue a matching or coordinating rick rack ribbon around the paper (on the front) with craft glue.


The Cork Pane

You can find cork at craft and home stores. Be sure you buy a piece thick enough to hold push pins.

Step 13: Cut the cork to fit the pane. The piece I bought was too thin, so I used a double thickness.

Step 14: Glue to the front with white craft glue.


After the glue and paint is dry, you’re ready to finish.


You can decorate the frame with all sorts of things: more ribbon, paper, stencil, paint and yarn. Anything goes. I wanted something different and a little funky. I found felt balls made from wool roving at a craft store. Because it’s wool (which dyes beautifully), the colors are saturated and bold.


Step 15: Lay out the wool balls on opposite corners.

Step 16: Rearrange until you get a pattern you like.

Step 17: Glue in place.


If you plan to hang your message board, screw eye hooks to the top of the frame and add a chain.

Message boards make wonderful gifts. Choose colors and paper to go in a teen’s room, laundry room or a home office. It’s a perfect alternative to a boring old cork board!

Interior designer Merri Cvetan writes about her DIY projects, including upcycled crafts, for Home Depot. Merri's interior design career started in earnest when she bought a 1890s farm house, and she has since worked on historic house museums and redecorated homes in her area. You can view Home Depot's selection of windows online here.


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