This is the first mock-up of a crate wall for the display crate. It is white burlap over 36 x 36 x 1/2" homasote with 1 x 4 pine battens.
Thank you to the Edgewater Historical Society for the materials suggestion. The homasote is a light-weight, self-healing material used for all of the EHS' walls. It will be forgiving of the many push pins and hanging nails that will be used over the years. It is a bit like an affordable cork, but far more robust.
The white burlap provides a nice cover for the homasote, and with its loose weave helps hide the holes that the years will inflict as shows rotate through the display crates. I also think its off-white textured surface will help it look clean over the years.
The pine battens are a standard part of crate design, but also serve to hide the burlap edges, strengthen the homasote, and provide secure contact points for the hinges that will be added.
This first panel provided several lessons. I will be taking it apart tonight. The homasote needs to be painted with a white latex paint before the burlap is applied. This is to prevent off-gassing and bring out the white in the burlap covering. As well, I want to use a spray fixative to secure the burlap on the face of the panel and ensure it is tight and free of creases. The battens will hide the edges of the burlap. Then the battens and homasote will be painted white.
If that works, then I will make up the other five sides of the crate and start testing hinges!
And then we will end up with something like this: