A paper background adds color, pattern and brightness to your corkboard. You don't have to do much. With a craft knife, trim the paper to fit inside the board's frame. If your board doesn't have a frame, fold the paper neatly over the edges as though you're wrapping a present. Score the edges with your fingers to make them look crisp.
You can affix the paper with thumbtacks, double-sided tape or spray adhesive. Liquid glues can cause the paper's grain to warp, and you may not be able to achieve a smooth surface. Additionally, many types of glue will leave some sort of adhesive residue -- either a sticky patch or a bit of black, rubbery goo that never quite comes off.
Why does that matter? Because paper is temporary. Over time, it will acquire thumbtack holes -- in some cases, enough that the paper can't adhere or hold together any longer. Some colors will fade, especially if your board sits in direct sunlight.
Specialty paper stores have large sheets of gorgeous handmade papers in every color. Some have patterns -- an Art Deco motif or Japanese floral could be especially striking on your wall. Some papers have metallic leafing. These papers can cost between $3 and $10 a sheet. Before you use one, you might want to figure out how often you'll need to replace it.
A cheaper option is to use wallpaper samples or remnants, which you can obtain free -- or close to free -- from interior decorators or creative reuse centers. You can also use wrapping paper, or repurpose old wrapping paper from gifts. Pay attention to the size of the pattern; some wallpaper designs are scaled for walls, and they'll look odd within a corkboard's frame.
You may not have a piece of paper large enough to cover the entire board, but that's fine. Use a quilter's approach. With a craft knife, trim the paper into squares or diamonds. Then tack them or glue them to the board in a grid or a harlequin pattern.
On the next page, we'll look at a often-ignored touch: the thumbtacks and pins.