DIY Whiteboard on the Cheap

Every startup needs or MUST HAVE whiteboards, it’s just how it goes. Whiteboards offer a great way to draw, post reminders, and explain things. I know at college I was always using whiteboards to help explain building websites and/or tech stuff. Installing a DIY whiteboard is a simple project that you could get done TODAY and/or any weekend. I found whiteboards very useful and wanted to setup some whiteboards on my walls in my apartment here in Arizona.

Well talking to a couple of people at the rails as well as the ruby meetup about whiteboards gave me some great tips and tricks that I wanted to blog about.

Most whiteboard that are 2ft by 2ft or so, cost about $10 to $20. If you want a HUGE whiteboard or wall to wall whiteboards it can get EXPENSIVE QUICKLY. Luckily there a simple solution, the fine people at Lowe’s sell this 1/8th White Tileboard for about $12.78 with tax for a 8ft by 4ft. (they can even cut to down to different sizes at the store!) This tileboard acts the same way as a whiteboard and is wicked cheap!

Being the entrepreneur that I am I wanted a whiteboard in my home office (my little startup). I used the OOK 30lb frame hangers for this project as well as for hanging all my frames on the wall. These are simply amazing, cheap, small, easy to install, and hardly noticable on a wall after removal. These work great on drywall and just need to get nailed in at a angle. I also use some hooks to hold my wine rack in the kitchen.

So here is the parts list for setting up a whiteboard in a home or office and not have to worry about it ripping out your wall or leaving huge holes.

1 30lb OOK Picture Hanging Hardware about $2 at Michaels or some hardware shop.
1 8ft x 4ft 1/8th White Tileboard about $12
1 drill or sharp knife
1 hammer (or rubber mallet)
a friend and possible a leveler

Okay, so some notes and tips, as you can see from the picture below, 4ft x 4ft is LARGE and it MIGHT not fit into your Del Sol, so be sure to either measure or plan a bit before picking up of the tileboard. I made 2 trips, 1 to Lowes and had them cut the 8ft x 4ft tileboard (whiteboard) down to 2 4ft x 4ft pieces. I was able to bend the board to fit into my Prius and then just pulled it out when I got home.

(*NOTE: Sorry for the lack of quality in the pictures, I have horrible lighting in my garage and apartment, but I feel that they help get some points across.)

Prius with Whiteboard

I took the 1/8th tileboard and drill 2 holes (you can prolly cut them, its only 1/8th thick) where the OOK hooks would go. I placed the holes about 4 inches from each end as well as about 1 inch from the top. Once the holes were large enough, I fit the OOK hangers into the tileboard.

Drill Holes

I then got a friend to hold the board where I could hammer in the small nails and leveled the board before putting in each nail. Once the tileboard is mounted, be sure to grab some

DIY Whiteboard

(*NOTE: I could not get a good picture of the whiteboard from how my room is setup, so although it looks like its at an angle is actually perfectly straight.)

Well I hope you are enjoying a nice whiteboard in your home or office and please comment about your setup or if you used other methods of hanging.

Comments.

    • author John
    • /
    • date October 20, 2007

    Oh, I forgot to give you another great tip. Make sure to pickup a bottle of Expo Cleaner, and make sure to give it a SOLID precleaning. Keeping a white board… white is hard, so be sure to put a solid layer or two of Expo Cleaning solution on before using it daily.

    • author Justin
    • /
    • date October 23, 2007

    I’ve been a big fan of the write board cling sheets. They are a bit pricier, but you can put them almost anywhere (i.e. you can turn your desk into a whiteboard), and it’s super easy to expand the amount of write-space.

    • author Denis Kutch
    • /
    • date December 21, 2007

    My new architectural office…under construction…will have a custom framed 4′ x 8′ whiteboard ‘idea and thinking’ wall. Your approach sounds great, especially the cost. Two questions: You referred to the material as both “titleboard” and “tileboard”. Which is correct? Do ink images remain after erasing? Thanks, Denis

    • author John
    • /
    • date December 22, 2007

    Hey, Thanks for comment, its TileBoard. (I just went back and fix that, thanks!). I would HIGHLY suggest bring a expo marker and make sure and it should be easily removed with just a swipe of the thumb.

    As long as you use a “dry erase marker” you should be fine. I HIGHLY suggest picking up a large bottle of Expo cleaner and windex and doing a “preclean” before heavy use. I also suggest cleaning the boards (back to white) at least once a week, to keep from colors “permanent sticking”.

    Let me know how it goes, post/blog about it or post a comment/link of pic of the office. Enjoy!

    • author George
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    • date December 30, 2007

    I have been happily writing on all types of GLASS surfaces with whiteboard pens, for years.

    The best one is to keep a whiteboard pen in the car so when you get a call while you’re driving, you just pick up the whiteboard pen and let loose on your windscreen or even the side window. Much easier than trying to find both a pen and a piece of paper to scribble notes on.

    Based on that, you could just hang a sheet of glass on your wall, or even a cheap sheet of perspex if you want. Use that as a whiteboard.

    • author Carol
    • /
    • date January 9, 2008

    Does anyone have a recipe for homemade tileboard cleaning solution? I’m wondering if the Expo cleaner and Windex are the most appropriate for the surface. I’m also wondering if I couldn’t make a good solution myself, more inexpensively. Carol

    • author Charlie
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    • date January 22, 2008

    We just installed these in three offices at Arizona State Univ. We saved the dept hundreds over buying conventional white boards. Another tip, next to the TileBoard at HomeDepot you can find platic end caps for about $2.50 per 8ft. You need three to frame out a 4×8 board. It makes the installation look much nicer. To keep the board from rattling too much we anchored the board directly to the wall with drywall anchors, about 10 anchors for the large ones. We plan to add plastic screw caps that should finish the job and make it look very nice. We’ve also found that high quality markers clean up much nicer than the dollar store variety. As the author noted, be sure to bring a marker with you to the store, the first piece of tileboard i got had a flat finish instead of the glossy finish and did not work once I got it home.

    • author Brian
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    • date April 10, 2008

    Thanks for these instructions John. I just installed my new white board and I’m very happy with it. Total cost: about $15 plus $20 for a nice marker/eraser/cleaner set. You can see the final result here:
    http://www.pajamamarket.com/pajama_market_small_busin/2008/04/my-office.html

    I installed the white board by myself and while it can be done, I recommend you have someone there to help you.

    I also ignored some of the directions and I wish I hadn’t. I placed the hangers in the wall FIRST instead of having the hangers and the white board together like you recommend. My holes were drilled 1.5 inches from the top of the white board, so when it came time to hang the board on the hangers, it was quite awkward. In fact, I couldn’t do it. The reason for this is because the board wasn’t exactly flat, it has a curve to it which makes the proper angle to hang it impossible to get.

    My solution was to take a hammer and bend the hooks of the hangers so that they were 90 degrees to the wall. I then slipped the white board through the hangers and hammered the hooks back to their original angle once they were through the drill holes. I’m sure this marked the wall a little, but for now I can’t see it and the white board looks great.

    I agree that the ook 30# hangers are the bomb.

    Cheers!

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    • author Kyle
    • /
    • date August 16, 2008

    Here in NY I’ve literally been looking for that material for years with no luck. It hasn’t been in any Lowes or Home Depot in the past 5 years here.

    HELP!

    • author adocumeteaddy
    • /
    • date August 25, 2008

    Is this gonna end someday??

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    • author dead_drederS
    • /
    • date September 17, 2008

    Priveet!! Medveed!!!

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    • author solarfy
    • /
    • date August 12, 2010

    I almost paid $300+ dollars at Office Depot today for a white board. Just started my company solarfy.com and trying to keep costs down. I wanted a white board for my home office and decided to take a look on Craigslist. Didnt find much so I just about left for OfficeDepot when I found your article. It cost me less then $30.00 I did what Charlie said in the previous post on framing it and it works great. Thanks to this article I saved $270.00
    Thank you again!

  9. Pingback: DYI: White Board (Dry Erase Board / Marker Board) « mintrix.net

    • author Ty
    • /
    • date April 7, 2011

    Instead of the hangers I just used drywall screws into the studs to hang the tile board.
    Seems to be working out just fine.

  10. Pingback: From the garage to the couch: how to transition your startup to its first office | Entreprecurious

    • author Bobbie
    • /
    • date May 28, 2011

    Someone asked if there is something other that Expo solution to clean a whiteboard, I use plain old Alcohol, it works great and is super cheap. You can get it at the dollar store.
    Another idea for hanging your whiteboard is to use the L shaped mirror mounts, your can place them on top, bottom and both sides, simple.

    • author TT
    • /
    • date August 30, 2011

    this is a great alternative. our start-up bought three 8×4 boards and set them up around the office for about $70 total. we ended up drilling it into the wall with drywall anchors.

    the only thing this does not mention is how it does not lay flat onto the wall. with hangers like the one used above it may be even worst. this can be annoying when writing and or very visually unappealing. our solution was to use 5lb rated industrial double sided tape ($15 at home depot). lay strips onto all 4 sides before aligning it and drilling. little tricky but when done right it sticks like a beast and looks really good. dont want to think about when we have to remove it. might be an ugly scene but for now, live a little.

    • author Kristen
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    • date September 14, 2011

    Thank you! Extra pleased with the pic of your car. I was just wondering if they’d fit in my new Prius!

    • author Tedy
    • /
    • date October 3, 2011

    Yep, I love this simple effective idea. Business depot/Satples here in Canada want $80-$300 for a whiteboard. What do i look like money coming out of my ass? :) or it better come with sexy cashier included.

    • author Andrew C.
    • /
    • date September 22, 2012

    I just wanted to let you know I researched this idea for a good while after ‘quickly’ researching and finding out that a respectable size whiteboard had a ridiculous $$cost$$. I used a few of your concepts and just this afternoon (10/22/12) hung up my DIY whiteboard which cost me a whopping $20.95c. So for 21 bux I got the same concept as a $2000 whiteboard. Hmm….yeah. :) Works beautifully for those who are skeptic (like I am). But for around 20 bux its not much of a lost and now that I’ve used it, it works just like my small dry erase board does.
    Finished job:
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/840/finishedboard.jpg/
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/716/receipta.jpg/

  11. Hey all you whiteboard experts. I’m going to do this and cut them into 1×1′ squares for classroom writing boards for a kindergarten class. I’d like to make a bunch of little erasers out of some sort of cloth for them to use.

    Any idea what the best sort of cloth is for erasing white boards? Felt? fleece? something else?

    • author Emily
    • /
    • date June 25, 2013

    Love this idea! I just have to check with school administrators to see if its ok! I do have one question though. If I cut them in 4×4 pieces or whatever size, what do you suggest for the creases between the boards when I hang them up?

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