Make A Whiteboard

There are several ways to make a whiteboard. Depending on what your end goal is and the budget that you have to work with, one of these methods may work best for you. If you want to learn how to make your own cheap whiteboard or dry erase board you just need a few supplies and the time to put it together – going this route can save a lot of money and does not require much skill. The quality of a home made whiteboard depends on how you make it, just because the cost of a cheap whiteboard is low does not mean that it will look cheaply made.

Listed below are the different types of large whiteboards that can be made, their advantages, disadvantages, and the materials needed to make them.

For all of these projects you will need a few tools. Generally this will require:

  • drill
  • glue (liquid nails, or something similar)
  • saw
  • screws or other attachment devices (hangers, wire, etc)

 

Melamine Whiteboard

Go to your local hardware store and look for a large sheet of a plastic looking material called “melamine”. This is the same material that is used to line showers. It is extremely cheap and will allow you to build a very large dry erase board for a low cost. Since this material is generally thin, it works best if you attach it directly to a wall with glue or screws in the corners. If this is not an option you can put a stiffer backing material on it in order to keep it from warping. That’s about all there is to it. This is likely the quickest and cheapest option for making your own whiteboard.

 

Advantages

  • Cheap ($35 for a 4′ x 8′ area)
  • Easy to work with

 

Disadvantages

  • Can easily warp
  • Known to leave “ghosting” marks from dry erase markers over time. This can be reduced by regular cleaning.

 

Plexiglass / Lexan Whiteboard

Again, your local hardware or craft store should have the material you need. In this case, if you want to make a plexiglass whiteboard, you should be wanting a more transparent looking surface. Plexiglass can also be found in various colors and tints, if that is what you want. Plexiglass is a bit stiffer and if used on the wall should not need a backing material. It is easiest to find a piece in the size that you want for the finished whiteboard unless you have the capabilities to cut it to size at home. Mounting can be accomplished with or without a frame and is easily done to walls with regular screws.

 

Advantages

  • Various colors and tins available
  • Stiffer and longer lasting
  • Surface cleans very easily

 

Disadvantages

  • More expensive ($40-$50 for a 4′ x 8′ area)
  • Harder to work with

 

Glass Whiteboard

A glass homemade white board can be used in more ways than the traditional board after some extra work. Since it is transparent, it can be used in a freestanding manner or against a wall as is usually the case with normal whiteboards. The additional work needed with a glass whiteboard comes in the form of a more customized mounting solution. Generally there are two ways to do this. First, build a frame – like a window frame – that securely holds the glass. Secondly, you can apply your mounting hardware to the backside directly and leave the glass unframed or with a minimal frame. For this type of project you want to use safety glass.

 

Advantages

  • Can be more customized as both sides could be used
  • Has a more “advanced” look and feel to it
  • Cleans easily

 

Disadvantages

  • More expensive than the previous two options and requires more work ($75 for a 4′ x 8′ area)

 

Paint On Whiteboard

There a different types of dry erase whiteboard paint available from several companies. The paint can generally be applied to almost any surface, including textured walls. However, the smoothness of the surface can have an effect on the ease of erasing. In addition to transforming a wall or other surface into a dry erase whiteboard, this type of paint can also be used to resurface an old whiteboard. These paints generally take 3 to 7 days to cure – they need to cure prior to use with any dry erase markers.

 

Advantages

  • Can turn non uniform area into a whiteboards
  • Largest area whiteboard covering possible

 

Disadvantages

  • Can be more expensive ($65-$250 for a 4′ x 8′ area)
  • Takes several days to cure prior to use

 

Stick-on Whiteboard Roll

 

There are whiteboard products available that come in rolls. You remove the covering from the adhesive backing and apply it to the surface that you want to make into a whiteboard. Generally these tend to be over medium surface quality – the main area of concern is getting the tape like product on without wrinkles in the surface. If you take your time and apply the rolls slowly and carefully it tends to work out well. These are sold under various names like “dry erase rolls”, “whiteboard on a roll”, and “write ‘n wipe” to name a few.

 

Advantages
  • Can be very cheap (depends on supplier and length/width ordered)
  • More flexible than a rigid whiteboard
Disadvantages
  • Can be tricky to apply correctly

 

DIY Interactive Whiteboard

 

There are various ways to incorporate movement tracking into your own whiteboard. This is a more technical project than just putting a board together and will require some skills such as soldering, bluetooth connections, and custom software. That said, for under $100 you can make an interactive whiteboard – these normally cost several thousand dollars (with all the bells and whistles). When making your own interactive whiteboard there are going to be many portions that will need to be customized to your particular requirements (screen size, distance, tracking accuracy, software needs); a good place to start is this article on designing your own interactive whiteboard.

 

Advantages
  • You can save a lot of money
  • Much more engaging format
Disadvantages
  • Requires more time to build and implement
  • Requires higher level of technical skill

 

Looking for more information on the different types of whiteboards? Check the other pages for further information on:

Portable Whiteboard

Custom Whiteboards

Interactive Whiteboards