Your corkboard may already have a frame, but chances are it's fairly boring, as frames go -- a plain strip of wood stained to approximate the color of the cork. You have many options to dress it up.
Paint and stain, for example, work well. If the frame is already varnished, sand it before staining or painting. Sanding creates a rough, porous surface to which the paint can more easily adhere. Next, protect the cork by lining it with wide masking tape around the inside of the frame. You may also want to spread newspaper over any uncovered areas of cork.
The best method of paint will depend on the effect you want. If you want a light coat of color, spray paint is a good option. If you want something that has the thicker, high-gloss effect of enamel, choose a brush-on acrylic or enamel, and follow it with a few coats of clear, brush-on sealant. In addition, you can create patterns or use stencils.
Another option is to cover the frame with a decorative surface. You could paper it with wallpaper samples. You could add decoupage images or gold and silver leafing. You could use a staple gun to add fabric and battening for a quilted effect.
You can also glue on items that not only resurface but also reshape the frame. For example, you could glue old playing cards around the edges of the frame, and then varnish them several times to add strength. Or you could flatten aluminum cans and shape them into burnished ornamentation for the edges. (See How Recycled Aluminum Can Crafts Work for tips.)
What if your corkboard doesn't have a frame? If the board is a standard size, you may be able to use a ready-made frame from a poster shop. Most of these frames have glass or Plexiglas panels, which you'll need to remove -- a corkboard isn't so useful if you can't get to the cork.
Many frame and art supply stores also have customizable frames, which are sold in incremental lengths. You can buy the lengths that fit your board. Assembling the frame may require some special framer's supplies and tools, such as points and a point driver.
On the next page, we'll look at ways to add color to the cork itself.