As I mentioned yesterday, I really need a blocking board, so I decided to be crafty and go the DIY route.
I went to the lumber yard, and bought a 8' x 4' x 1/2" sheet of homasote -- which is made out of recycled paper and is used for a myriad of things such as insulation, flooring, sound control -- and had the table saw guy cut it into two 3' x 4' pieces for me. The 3' x 4' dimension is a little on the large side, but I figure having two will give me some good options for blocking out larger piece needing either an 8' x 3' OR a 6' x 4' space.
I started off by duct taping the edges for reinforcement (it is pressed paper after all!). I applied the tape a little off center so that there is more overlap on the backside of the board, again for added reinforcement for the staples that eventually will hold the fabric in place.
I then place a layer of cotton quilt batting on the front, which is about 1 - 2 inches wider than the dimensions of the board, then covered it with a happy plaid / stripey fabric which is woven in 1" increments (kind of). I lined up the plaid as best I could with the edges of the board, flipped it, then stapled it down with an upholstery-type stapler.
I then trimmed up some felt (rotary cutters rock!) about 1/2" shy of the dimensions of the board, and glued it down to cover the back. The felt backing makes the board prettier, and prevents the possibility of the staples scratching tabletops or floors.
That's it! I used regular craft glue to attach the felt -- we'll see how that works out in the long run. I have a glue gun, but was too lazy to deal with it yesterday, so if the felt starts peeling off, I think the glue gun will be a great fix.
That's it! Easy peasy.
In terms of cost, the homasote was $12, and a trip to the fabric store for the felt, batting and fabric was $30, for a grand total of $42. I could have kept my cost even lower by using poly batting instead of the organic cotton, and found less expensive fabric, but $42 for two blocking boards is a good enough deal for me.