Pretty Not So Whiteboards

Whiteboards (or dry erase boards as they are also commonly called) are pretty cool for diagramming and  story boarding wild ideas, but the ginormous white ones ubiquitous in most office settings are not exactly something I want in my kitchen (where I currently do most of my work.) They also aren’t particularly portable or easy for the kids to use when they want to draw without wasting paper.

Make A Dry Erase Board (Whiteboard)

Make A Dry Erase Board (Whiteboard)

Here is a pretty simple tutorial showing how to make personalized, portable dry erase boards. We decorated just a border in the examples pictured, but you could also use a two-toned, light-colored wallpaper or even scrapbook paper to decorate yours using the same basic principles detailed below.

What You’ll Need:

Clear Adhesive Backed Laminate or “Contact” Paper (we used one made by “Duck” available in most stores that sell basic drawer liners.)

A sheet of MDF – Larger, pre-cut sizes are available or you can ask the hardware store to cut a 24 x 48 inch sheet into 8  12 x 12 boards (which is what I have done.)

White Latex Primer ( I used Killz – you don’t need much so the smaller container will do.)

Craft glue

pencils, markers, ink, or paint for decorating (non-washable markers work better here but use what you’ve got!)

Priming the MDF

Priming the MDF - My son helped!

A sharp craft blade and a self-healing board

Dry Erase Markers

How to do it:

Prime your MDF board and let it dry. If you are decorating a border, measure 1 1/2 inched in from the edge and draw a line or tape it off so you know where your border ends. You will want to keep the center area light colored or blank white so it is usable as a dry erase board when it is finished.

Making it pretty:

Decorate your border or background. If decorating a border, use pencils, markers, etc. (crayons even work!) to create your design. If you are using a full background, choose a light colored one and decoupage it to the board using a Mod Modge type product. Let your board dry completely

Our Family all worked together to decorate the Dry Erase Board

Our Family all worked together to decorate this Dry Erase Board

From Art Back To “Blank” Slate:

To turn the design you have just created into a dry erase board, you need to apply the contact paper. Put your (fully dry) decorated board face down onto the contact paper to measure about how much you will need. Cut this amount off of the roll. Remove the backing of the contact paper to expose the sticky side. Carefully place it over your design – use a light touch and you will be able to position it to cover the full face of the board. Once the contact paper is in place, apply firm pressure to make sure it adheres well to the board underneath. For extra security, pull up just the very edges of the contact paper and apply a very thin bead all around the very edge of your design. Press the contact paper back down on the craft glue and let it dry.

Applying the laminate paper to the dry erase board

Applying the laminate paper to the dry erase board

Finishing Your Board:

At this point in the process, your contact paper is still kind of flopping over the edges a little. To give it a clean, professional finish, put your board face down on your self-healing mat, and use your craft knife to cut right along the edge, removing the excess contact paper and probably a little dried paint and glue that is sticking to it.

At this point you have a lovely, usable dry erase board. To give it an even cleaner finish, paint the back and sides or use spray adhesive to attach fabric to the back, fold over the edges and staple, then glue a thin ribbon border around the exposed stapled edge.

When you are done, your dry erase board will look smooth and  shiny

When you are finished, your dry erase board will look smooth and shiny like this.

So far we have made two of these…My 8 year old make his own “cool” one and the family worked together decorating each side of the border on the one for our soon-to-be 4 year old. Just the perfect thing to keep the children occupied in the car on the way to the lake this Summer.

**Other Whiteboard or Dry Erase Board Craft Ideas:

If what you are looking for is a giant white dry erase drawing board, check out this really cool tutorial :

10 thoughts on “Pretty Not So Whiteboards

  • SwottLozy

    Hello I’m new. Excellent forum. Just found it on Yahoo. Thank u 4 the Awesome community we have here :)

  • Patty F.

    As a former Pre-School teacher, this is not only a great economical idea, but great for the flow between your lesson plans while cleaning up teacher-related materials and space in the day. Childrens nogin’s need to absorb what they just did. Have them draw something pertaining to their lesson or even just play a game. Can you imagine each child having their very own board?! They could design it just as if we did as children with our journals. Write, create, celebrate. Conduct mini-games such as the teacher saing I’m thinking of an animal… and teams can be created… the amout of things you can do with white boards on a mini level are immense- Thank you for a fantastic and affordable idea! -Patty F.

  • Rande Snyder

    This is pretty awesome! I needed one for my refrigerator to jot down things as we run out of them. I discovered that dry erase markers work just as well on the back of an outdated, one year laminated calendar I had created for something else. I put some of that sticky magnetic “tape” on the front of it (remember, I’m using the BACK of it) to hold it there, and some more on the sides of my markers, so everything just sticks to the fridge door. Just thought I’d mention it as a smaller alternative. But if I ever need a larger one, this project sheet WILL come in handy. THANKS for providing it! :>

  • vicky beckner

    really cool idea…I plan to get some cork coasters, or trivets and make some faces and add to the top of sides after the board is done…painted and festooned of course…first try will be a tweety bird face for my granddaughters erase board. I’ll let ya know how it works

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