Acrylic Message Board DIY

Make your own interchangable acrylic message board and leave yourself short, inspirational messages or use it as a perpetual calendar. Get the full tutorial on www.abeautifulmessHave you ever had something you couldn’t get out of your head until you made it happen? This acrylic message board was that project for me. It started out as an idea for a holiday countdown, but then it felt like too many supplies to only be used 30 days out of the year. So then I thought it might work as a perpetual calendar, but then things got really busy around the new year and I couldn’t squeeze it in in time for Jan 1st. So it sat in my head. And sat. And sat. Finally, over the weekend, I managed to figure out everything I needed to make it happen, and the idea morphed from a calendar into a message board. Now it’s got a day job AND a dream job!

Keep yourself motivated with this acrylic message board that doubles as a perpetual calendar. Find out how to make your own on www.abeautifulmess.comThe hardest part about putting this together was figuring out measurements and having patience while I cut acrylic rectangles. I made a few mistakes because I was impatient, but overall it all came together in the space of two interrupted afternoons. Now I have a fun display board to keep me motivated in my studio and to use throughout the house as a calendar or holiday countdown. I am SO thrilled that this idea finally came to fruition. Sometimes things just need to sit a little to become the best version of themselves, huh!  

Supplies for acrylic message boardSupplies:
– 12″ x 12″ precut piece of wood (or cut your own down to size)
– two 18″ x 24″ acrylic sheets
– two lengths of 1/4″ x 3/8″ x 2′ balsa wood
– two lengths of 1/4″ x 1/4″ x 2′ balsa wood
– 3.25″ vinyl alpha and number stickers
– general purpose sandpaper
– utility knife or Plaskolite’s Plastic Cutting Knife
– self healing mat
– wood glue
– alligator hanger for mounting to wall (optional)

IMG_5432If you’re using 3.25″ vinyl stickers like I did, you need to cut your acrylic to measure about 1″ taller so that you get about 1/2″ of negative space on the top and bottom. Part of this might be covered up by the lip of your balsa ledges. This means your acrylic should be 4 1/4″ tall. Your width will vary depending on the width of your letter or number. I suggest adding about 1/3″ to each side of your letter or number’s width. This will help space them out evenly no matter what word or abbreviation you spell. 

To prepare to cut your acrylic, place it on your self healing mat and measure about 4.25″ from one edge. I then placed my metal ruler on the line where I was going to make my cut and used my utility knife to score a straight line against my ruler. Once I made the initial score, I repeated scoring it with more pressure to help make the cut. I may have had to score it 10 times to get a deep enough cut. Then I laid it against the edge of a table and applied downward pressure until it snapped off. 9 out of 10 times I got the clean cut that I made with my knife. Once I got lazy and didn’t cut it deep enough, it just broke off where it wanted to. 

After getting my length of 4.25″ acrylic cut, I would measure out each letter with about 1/3″ to spare on each side and then make another round of cuts with my utility knife. This is the tedious part, but it’s also pretty fun to see your stack of numbers and letters grow. 

NOTE: I suggest wearing heavy duty work gloves for this part as you’ll be applying pressure to your acrylic and using a sharp tool. Safety first! 

Carefully cut your acrylic with a utility knife and metal rulerIf you want to make this part easier, you can use the thinnest acrylic sheets you can find or maybe skip this and use transparency sheets like the kind you can print on and use with projectors. It won’t have the same sturdy look, but it might be another route to try.

IMG_5461As you can see, I can fit about 3-5 letters across the width of my message board depending on their width. If you were only wanting to use this as a calendar, you could cut one length of acrylic per month and just add three letters each such as ‘Mar’ or ‘Dec’. This would save some cutting, but you’d also need to ensure you have multiples of regularly used letters such as ‘a’ and ‘e’.

Sand and cutPrepare your cut of wood by sanding it lightly and wiping off excess sand with a damp cloth. Then cut your balsa wood so that you have four lengths of both sizes that are 12″ wide. You can use your utility knife or sharp scissors. Sand down your ends.

IMG_5464Run a thin line of wood glue along the top half of your wider piece of balsa wood (1/4″ x 3/8″) and place your other size on top of it so that the top edges are flush with each other. Repeat with the other three sets. These will create your ledges. Since my wood glue needed some time to dry, I placed my glued balsa ledges next to each other, covered them with another piece of flat wood, and placed heavy things on top to help keep the wood from warping while the glue dried.

Glue the edgesOnce my glue was dry, I found the center of the board and lightly marked it. I placed two of my ledges together in the center with the lips facing opposite directions and glued them to the large piece of wood and to each other. Then I gently fitted a piece of acrylic to find the measurement for where my top and bottom ledges should go. You don’t want them too tight, but you don’t want them to fall out either. So just make a mark with a little wiggle room and glue it in place. Again, I placed something on top of these while they dried. 

Add your acrylicAt this point you could paint or stain your wooden base. You could also add an alligator hanger to the back if you wanted to mount it to your wall. Add your acrylic and find a home for your new favorite project!

A perpetual calendar made from precut wood, acrylic, and vinyl letter stickers. Get the full tutorial on www.abeautifulmessI’m going to find a way to use it for Smith’s first birthday decor and will be sure to pull it out when we countdown to Christmas. 

Switch out your letters to give yourself a tiny motivational speech or add numbers to keep track of what day it is!Heck Yes you canIn the meantime, I’m going to enjoy my new signage in this happy corner of my studio. What short phrase would you display on yours? –Rachel

Credits//Author and Photography: Rachel Denbow. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

  • Hi
    I love this by the way. I’m definitely going to give it a go!
    Where did you buy your shelves from? Ive been looking for some like that for a while.

  • I love this idea! It’s a bit like those lightboxes you see everywhere – except a million times cuter because of the natural wood! it would look SUPER cute if you painted the ‘ledges’ pale pink or a cool mint – ah, I’m having awesome ideas right now!

    Thanks for the inspiration!
    – Georgina

  • That before and after picture of the room going from yellow to white is really incredible. I really need to the interior of my home painted. It would be fun to paint each room a different color and coordinate them all together. I’ve never painted a home before, so I’d love to get some ideas as how to go about it.

  • On of the houses on our street has an entry way with a big glass door. On the wall behind is a message board like this that is back lit. Every few days they change the message! It’s so fun! Sassy Beyonce quotes, the office quotes, internet jokes or just a nice have a great day etc. Everyone in the village talks about it!

  • this is honestly the cutest idea ever! brings me back to my scrabble days! such a fun game!

  • The best part about this blog is the amazing photography skills! And both of your published books are top-notch quality. Keep up the good work!

  • This is such a cute idea! Love it for short messages to your partner too 😉
    xoxo from Miami, FL – Jessy

  • L O V E the shelving! Is this a DIY of yours as well? If not, can you share where you got them?

  • I love this project! It so fun! It would be great to make a couple sayings and change it out often. I can’t wait to make one!

  • I loved the project!
    And your history about all the things you thought to do with it made me think in all possibilities of words/days/emojis. 🙂

    Tks for sharing =)

  • I love this idea! This project is something that could really have so many uses throughout the year. I have an awkward spot next to a kitchen cabinet where I think this will be perfect! Thanks for the great idea and easy directions!

  • The entire display looks great. Where did you get that wall mounted shelving?

  • Cute idea! It would look so lovely in any room 🙂

  • Hi I would write GO 4 GOLD
    This is a great project & I hope I can manage to make it with my 9 year old daughter as part of her home schooling. We recently got all excited about a clock from the Conran shop that shows the date in this way, with SUN (Sunday) shown in red to remind you to take time out. It also tells the time but is way out of our current budget.
    What you have shared here has got me feeling all fired up again and I am sure my daughter will feel the same. I just know she will be into making one with coloured lettering x
    Thank you

  • Looks so great! But definitely one for the boyfriend to do for me, I’m hopeless at tools! x

  • Such a great DIY!

    I would love to make a massive one of these for motivational phrases in my office.

  • I love this! I have so many projects on my list!! I’ll get to all of them eventually. 🙂

  • I LOVE this! I have been looking for something to put in my craft room! This is absolutely perfect!
    Do you have a tutorial for that shelf? Or would you mind telling me where you get them?!
    Thank you!

  • I LOVE this! I have been looking for something to put in my craft room! This is absolutely perfect!
    Do you have a tutorial for that shelf? Or would you mind telling me where you get them?!
    Thank you!

  • Heck Yes! Love this. Ahah. I would write little love notes to my husband and kids!!

  • I LOVE everything about this! I have been looking for something to put on my wall in my craft room, and this is perfect!

    Do you have a tutorial for these shelves, or wouldn’t mind telling me where you got the brackets?

  • I LOVE everything about this! I have been looking for something to put on my wall in my craft room, and this is perfect!

    Do you have a tutorial for these shelves, or wouldn’t mind telling me where you got the brackets?

  • This is an awesome idea! You guys are so creative!!!


  • I love it! I’ve been dreaming something up like this for a long time, but it never came to fruition. You did such a great job!!

  • I can see this being a lot of fun. When I was a teenager, we had “therapy” magnets on our fridge that were just a bunch of words about feelings and it was always funny to see what someone would leave up for others to see. I can see that happening with a board like this.


  • This might be one of my favorite projects from this blog! I just love how creative and different it is! I’ll definitely be heading to the craft store soon so I can pick up supplies to make this 🙂

  • i love how it says ‘heck yes’! mine would say ‘smile more’ or ‘laugh more’, you know, something super cheesy like that (:


  • Absolutely love it! Made some thing similar last year. Love A Beautiful Mess <3

  • Love it! I made something similar last year, although yours came out better. Thanks for tips.


  • What a fun idea! I also LOVE the shelf, I’ve been looking for something just like that. Mind sharing where it is from?

  • I love it too! I like the idea of using it for a daily calendar. Would be perfect for a home office 🙂

  • This is so fun! I love the idea of using it for a daily calendar. My boyfriend and I just finished building a home office and this would be a perfect addition to our bare bookshelf! haha

  • Q: Why are comments closed on previous posts?

    Also, has ABM ever thought about making something like this…

    This message board is really cute. I can’t wait to try it out.

  • What a cute idea! I love the fact that you can change the board up as often as you like.

  • I would post “Hands Off Facebook n Get Back to Work!”

    But somehow I think it would be easy for me to ignore…..

  • This really turned out great – I’m glad you ended up pushing through and finishing this project despite the delays. And I also love the positive, affirming message you’ve decided to showcase 🙂

    x Kathryn

  • I love that you can put whatever message you want on it!

  • How adorable! I love the use of typography in art, and this project in particular looks like the expensive sort of design you’d find in a hipster boutique. “Heck yes” is also a brilliant phrase, haha 🙂


  • This would be a great idea for kids. It’s a more sophisticated version of those alphabet fridge magnets that kids used to have

  • I wish you guys would do a cost breakdown with your crafts and stuff and/or link to where you got everything – I think it would be super helpful. You may have covered this topic somewhere? Just a thought!

  • It’s a really nice idea! I want to change my room. This is a really nice decoration for my new room.

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