Decorative edging for plywood



Hi all,

I run a local youth centre that work with around 50 kids. We are in the process of applying for funding and are planning an exhibition to showcase artwork produced by the kids.

For this, I need some large display boards. Now I was able to get hold of some unused pieces of plywood from a local timber merchant. They kindly gave me approx. 30 sheets of 1 sq meter boards (7mm thick) - which will do the job perfectly for us. I've just finished painting these and they are looking spot on. Once all of the artwork is placed on to the boards you wouldn't see much of the plywood anyway.

The only issue is the edging isn't finished - even if I was to sand/file the edges down it still looks a bit shoddy. I don't want to use tape or paper, as that would eventually start peeling off and I want to use these again and again. So I'm looking for something long lasting. I really think with some nice decorative edging it would really make the artwork stand out.

So really I'm just looking for ideas on a good - but low budget way of applying some form of decorative edging on these boards. The edging would need to go over the top, sides and bottom - so let's say minimum 2cm to max 5cm over the top. See mock-up below to get an idea of what I'm trying to achieve:


I know I can get pieces of wood and make a border myself, but I think this would be a bit tricky and time-consuming, since it does need to go around the sides too.

I've spent a fair bit of time Googling the options and can't see much. The closest thing I've found is rubber U channel edging like this one:

But that's just for 1m and doesn't look that great. I can't really spare more than £5 for all of the edging for a single board.

Has anyone got any ideas?
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Not necessarily the answer trim wise but if you could borrow a trim/ edge router then you could make decent edges and if necessary apply black paint using masking
I doubt you’d be able to buy edging at £1.20 a metre, unless someone donates some hardwood from an old table
Iron-on melamine edging tape. You'll need a dry electric iron and a sharp large heavy chisel (something 25mm wide or wider) or a sharp plane iron to trim to length and to width. At a pinch the job can be done with a Stanley glass scraper (one of the yellow plastic thingies). Gives a clean, flush edge at minimal cost
may i suggest you ask the kids theres a fair chance one or more may have a mother or father or uncle with a table saw router or other way off making a rebate or groove or converting say 38x69mm cls into 3x 21x38 strips with a rebate or a 7.5-8mm central slot for the board edge this option allows you to use both side off the boards as a face so different work on material on both side on the wall protected by the 6mm lip on the floor or table attached to several other boards in a "W" zig zag pattern will be self supporting with both sides visible if pinned together with for instance loose pin hinges or other methods
another material choice that i think will look good for at least the first couple off years is 2x1 [roof]tile baton with a groove in it it will have a green or other subtle colour to the wood grain to show its treated that fades after a couple off years

3.3/4.5 will give economic conversion 5.4 may work but would probably need the timber cut to length mitred alternating to use the cut end for the next side then groove where as 3.3 and 4.5 can be grooved full length with double cutting and off cut triangle perhaps used as back supports or other use as you have dozens lol

where in the country are you based ??
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if you are really really skint cable ties and a 4 or 5mm hole 20% down and 20% up on the sides set to angle required and pull firmly the boards can and will sit uneven iff angles shallow but its cheap as chips lol
worth asking local wood yards and other sources for free or reduced materials for a good cause even the council for a donation or the name off other groups 'societys or merchants willing to help or give materials at a reduced or indeed free machined or not condition
local paper or radio station may be another avenue and dont forget social media and the internet??
if it was round here i would jump at the chance to help but materials delivered and collected as i am doing 95% covid isolation as choice

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