Burlap Message Board Chore Chart

I'm not sure if any of you other moms have the same struggle that I do with getting the kiddos to do their chores, but I suspect there are certainly some of you out there. I've tried a number of ways to make them more fun, including fun ways to chart them. They've all worked wonderfully, at least for a time, but as the kiddos grow, the responsibilities need to change, as do the chore charts.

Since my little guy isn't so "little" anymore, he doesn't need the entertaining chore charts anymore. And his rewards are much different too. Now he basically just wants money so he can buy things that I won't buy for him. And that's good because we're getting into the stage where he needs to learn how to manage money, and that money isn't "free."

I've also learned that if I'm going to expect him to do his chores every week, then I have to remember to pay him every week. With today's electronic financial payments, I don't always have cash on hand. So though I intend to pay him, I confess that I sometimes forget. Then when I finally catch up, I over-compensate his allowance because I can't remember how long it's been since I paid him. Hopefully, he'll learn money management better than me!

So I came up with this version of his "big boy" chore chart. It's really for both of us. It has his list of responsibilities with little magnet markers, and for me, it has pockets where I can keep and distribute cash. So at the end of each week, I can pull money out of the "Bank of Mom" pocket and distribute his allowance accordingly. He also does extra chores, like mow the law, that he gets paid for, and that will come out of here, too. I have pockets for the bank, tithings, savings, and "spendings."

I plan to keep a bit of actual cash in the Bank of Mom, because it's just niftier for my son to be able to have access to "his own money." I'll also have some play money that I plan to print with my son's picture on it, in case I run short of cash on hand. Luckily, I have no difficulty with my son being dishonest (at least at this point, thank God!), so I don't have to worry about him shuffling money on his own. I realize this won't work for everyone or for every age.

I had this uber-cool message center on the fridge that I got some time back, at the Goodwill store, I think (bargain!) It's a Dayrunner brand, which I think is sold at Target or Walmart.

I thought it would be great to add the chore chart to the existing setup. So follow along and I'll show you how I did it.

The first thing I needed to do was pick up some materials. Usually I have enough supplies in my stash that I can make do with what I have, but since I was trying to match the pre-existing message board, it required a trip to the fabric store. Which really for me is soooo not a problem! I just LOVE going there. The colors and textures and prints, oh my! Anyway, I brought the purchased project to the store with me and found some burlap and muslin that very closely matched.

I also needed a piece of sheet metal. Home Depot has little squares for 69 cents! Perfect! I was afraid I would need to buy a big roll.

While I was there, I grabbed an empty box for the pieces of cardboard I would need.

Begin by tracing the size and shape of the purchased board onto the cardboard, and cut two pieces. Your cardboard should be pretty thick and sturdy.

Next, cut the burlap and muslin about 4" larger than the purchased board, to allow excess fabric for positioning and securing.

The muslin piece will be used for backing to the chart, and to cover the cardboard. But the burlap piece is the frame. Cut out a rectangle slightly smaller than the final frame. Fold back about a half-inch of the burlap inside the rectangle to make a finished edge.

Use the muslin to make pockets. I used my embroidery machine to stitch the title onto the fabric before making the pockets, but this is entirely optional.

Layer the pockets and stitch together.

For my chart, I had pockets on one side and clear vinyl on the other side. Ultimately, I'll slip a chore list behind the vinyl that can be changed as needed.

It's important to check your alignment with the burlap frame to make sure you're not covering something you didn't intend to, and covering what you did.

Stitch the pockets and clear vinyl to the piece of muslin. Cut a slit into the vinyl near the top to allow insertion of the chore list.

Draw a line of fabric glue down the seam between the pockets and the vinyl.

Apply a strip of ribbon to cover the seam.

Align the burlap frame onto the chore chart and stitch just along the edge of the burlap, securing the burlap to the muslin. (I pinned everything!)

Now set the chart aside to work on assembling.

The sheet metal is used to create a background for the magnets to be used on the chore chart. Cut the metal to the desired size.

Place the metal onto one of the sheets of cardboard, ...

... checking the alignment with the vinyl window in the fabric piece. When you're satisfied with the alignment, glue the sheet metal in place.

Next, being careful about the alignment of the fabric chart, flip the piece of cardboard with the fabric and secure the fabric to the cardboard, thinning out extra fabric at the corners. Basically, this process is just like upholstering a seat cushion.

When you flip the cardboard back over, everything should be securely placed.

Using the other piece of cardboard, apply a layer of muslin and burlap in the same manner as the previous step, creating a backing for your message board.

If you're making multiple boards and want to tie them together, create a zig-zag of ribbon between the two message boards, covering the ends of the ribbons inside the front and back pieces. Glue the backing piece onto the back of the message board, placing the unfinished sides together.

The message board that I was replicating actually had stitching all the way around the edge, that went through both cardboard pieces. I gave this a shot and it didn't turn out too badly (yes, a sewing machine can sew through cardboard) but it was awkward to do and I think a little tough on my ancient little singer. Probably better suited for a commercial machine, but it's up to you if you want to give it a try.

And lastly, I created a chore chart list with boxes for each chore and each day of the week. I mounted the list on a piece of cardstock that was printed like burlap and slide it into the vinyl slot. There's a store of magnets at the bottom that can be shifted as needed.

If you wanted to do the calendar and the bulletin board, it's the same process without the chore chart part.

There you have it!

Good luck if you give it a try! I'd love to see your finished work. And I love comments, too!

And be sure to check out the endless list of inspirational ideas at my home page childmade.com.

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