My parents have everything in their basement.

Call it 40-some years of life stored away in boxes, bins and chests of drawers.  It’s gardening and handicraft materials, boxes of canning jars that get dusted off every September only to be stored away again when emptied, old paperwork, clothes for every season (maybe my coworker can refashionista some outfits for me?!), and more.

Recently, while my mother was sorting through old photographs and picture frames in preparation for a garage sale, she came across an ornate frame, white with gold applique.  “What do you think”, she asked.  “Could I get $6 for this?”  Six bucks.  I wanted it.  I had an idea.

You see, just prior to that I’d been rummaging around and came across a box of corks.

Not a shoe box like you might imagine, but a BOX of corks.  50 cm x 50 cm x 30 cm = 75,000 cubic centimeters of corks.

A lot of corks.  Representing 40-some years of wine drinking.  Oh the stories they could tell!



“Why not,” I thought, “make a cork board?”

First off, I needed a durable piece of cardboard to fit the back of the frame.  I chose to cut a piece out of my iMac box as it was thick and did not have a fold in it or tape on it.  I used the preexisting nails in the frame to secure it in place.

Once I flipped the frame over, I found the centre of the frame using a ruler and simple maths; and started to carefully glue the corks into place using a hot glue gun I’d borrowed from, you guessed it, my parents’ basement.

It took longer to do than I imagined, because don’t ‘cha  know, many corks are slightly different sizes and widths 

so it took some time to piece them together, a bit like a puzzle.  I enjoyed thinking of the cork’s stories, reading the little pieces of history on each one and trying to imagine who opened and drank the bottles contents.  It was fun!


Once I got to the edges, I found out I was lucky… the cork layout meant that I didn’t have to trim any corks to make them fit well into the space.  I just had a little bottleneck up in the top corner, but I plugged that hole with an old champagne cork that will be a useful hanger for lanyards, spare shoelaces or some-such.  Bingo.

To finish it off, I bought a “heavy picture” hanging kit from my local hardware store (up to 50 lbs) and got it up on the wall!  Now I have an organization station that is also a visually compelling conversation piece.  Those corks are still soaking up stories!



I also managed to repurpose another, smaller frame I also found in the basement to make a jewelry hanger.

Again, I visited my local hardware store and purchased a role of fiberglass screen… I wanted some anyway to make a home-made sprouter (blog post still to come on that one!) to grow winter greens, and it just happened I had this project in mind as well.

I used my trusty still-borrowed glue gun to attach the screen (cut to size) to the back of the frame.  I cut an old plasticized twist tie in half, twisted each one into a loop and glued them into place.
Now it graces my bathroom with functional beauty!