I made a simple Memo Board as a housewarming gift for some friends of mine. They have a country-style “rooster” theme in their kitchen and I borrowed a quilted hot pad that had the colors of their kitchen decor to guide me for the final painting. 

This project was done entirely in Project Designer BASIC. I used a Rooster pattern similar to one below from the Pattern Depot, but you can use whatever pattern you want or none at all, if you wish.

Everything was carved and cutout from a select pine board that measured: 28” Long x 11.25” Wide x 0.75” thick 

These dimensions allow for the extra 7” added to the layout so that the board will be kept captive by the rollers during the entire carving and cutout procedures. This is very important. See the 7 Inch Rule TiPS & TRiCKS for further explanation if you need it.


Start the Designer software and create a new “virtual” project board with these dimensions: 21” x 11.25” x 0.75” thick… or change the dimensions/thickness according to the stock you use (remember – make your “virtual board” 7 inches SHORTER than your “carving board” will be!).

Now, use the “Line Segment Tool” to draw whatever shape you desire for your Memo Board. I selected the “Snap to Grid” feature for help in laying out the outline and also used the line utility, “Change Form Tool” (make the “Utility” Toolbar visible from the selection in the View Menu) to convert the memo board’s top straight line to a curve, so I could create the arched top. I then turned off the “snap” feature and “tweaked” the arch to my liking.

I created the recessed curved-top area the same way, made it a carve region, then typed the text and rotated/positioned the words. For the shelf, I just copied and pasted the board outline then repositioned the lines to make the shelf profile. I also drew a narrow rectangle on the shelf and assigned a recessed “Horizontal Dome” to it so a pencil wouldn’t roll off the shelf. I created a recessed carve region rectangle for the insertion of some cork shelving sheeting. The cork sheet is about 1/16” thick, but I made the recess 1/8” deep (0.125”) so I could apply two layers of cork in it. You can download the completed version of the Memo Board outlines and text to see how each component is laid out/assigned.

(The file is zipped, so you’ll need to save it to your hard drive, then unzip it before you can open the mpc.)


I added my rooster pattern between the text and adjusted the Depth and Height (depth 0.3” / height 999), and assigned “cutpaths” to the perimeter of the shelf and memo board shape. (Flipped the cut so that it will cutout on the outside of the lines.)


When done, save your project, then upload it to your memory card.

NOTE: If a project has a cutpath very close to the ends of the “virtual” Designer board, you will get a false error message, warning you about possible interference with the aux roller and asking if you want to Manual Jig or Auto-Jig when you are uploading the project to your memory card. You should click “Ignore” and DO NOT select Manual nor AutoJig. A minimum 1/2″ clearance on the top of the board is the only area you need clearance on for a cutpath. You do NOT need any cutpath clearance at the bottom or sides of the board at all. The bit cannot hit anything at those edges when performing a cutout, so you are perfectly safe. This assumes your actual board will have the extra 7″ length and that you select “center on length” when you do the project setup at the machine. Here’s what the “false error” message looks like…


After carving, your board will look something like fig. 4a. Now, separate the parts, and sand to prepare the wood surfaces for final finishing. Glue/fasten the shelf onto the board. (fig.4b)


I painted parts of the design to match a kitchen decor, applied a light pine stain overall to “antique” it, and finished with two coats of wipe-on satin poly. I then cut two cork shelf sheets to fit into the large recess. It has a “sticky-back” making installation simple. Lastly, I put a loop hanger on the top arch and gave it to my friends!