17 Apr

Oversized Message Center (PBT knock off)

Pottery Barn Teen

Jenny and I used to be neighbors and our boys were friends. Her youngest daughter, Natalie, was crazy about My Littlest Pet Shop and you know how I feel about my pups so we were instant buds.

Somewhere along the line, this little girl sprouted up and was in need of a tween bedroom makeover. They asked me to work some magic and create a message center a la Pottery Barn Teen. Apparently, Nat had been drooling over their Blue Bubble Dottie Style Tile Set but the $300+ price tag made Jenny gag.

Luckily, I didn’t have to start from scratch. Jenny had already picked up the whiteboard and cork tile squares. So they were covered in fabric and batting or chalkboard paint accordingly.

style tiles

If you feel like you’ve seen this all over Pinterest you probably have. The difference between those projects and mine is that I didn’t conveniently scale this down to fit ready-made frames. I couldn’t since I had to build around what I was given.

I checked my wood bin and pulled out some furring strips along with (4) 48″ base mold trim pieces. I boxed out the tiles, securing the corners with glue and hardware then prepared to install the face frame. Sidenote: Anytime I catch baseboard molding on sale I scoop it up – you should too.

build a box

Now listen, mitering wood trim doesn’t have to be hard. I’m all for shortcuts to save time and frustration and alleviate complicated mathematical equations (like addition and subtraction).

Here’s my simple solution for mitering these (and any) 45 degree angles – no math necessary.

measure molding

…the up close & personal view:

miter corners

The trick is repeating Step 2 twice with the bottom board on top the second time around. I like to use arrows to remind me which way to set up my cut at the chop saw. Bonus: If someone else is cutting your wood you’ll save a good 15 minutes of arguing about who screwed up the direction of the cut with this tip.

After all the cuts were made, I glued up the corners and sank in some staples for good measure. If you want to get technical here you could use biscuits to join the wood, pulled tight with a Bessey clamp until the glue sets. Or you could get really fancy and make your own picture frame jig. But that would probably be overkill for this project.

staple corners

Overall, this piece measured 4′ x 4′ and was quite heavy. For extra support I added horizontal braces across the back before screwing in extra-strength hanging hardware.

add backer braces

I admit, it’s not beautiful from behind but it does allow for easy dismantling should Natalie ever decide she doesn’t like it and wants to re-redo her room.

Message Center

Which she’s probably suggested a few times since this knock-off was delivered.


One thought on “Oversized Message Center (PBT knock off)

  1. This would be great for my boys! I could use Iowa Hawkeyes fabric for the squares or even applique a big "I" on a block. Awesome tutorial.

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