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I saw some DIY tutorials recommending to use tileboard to make a cheap whiteboard.

I had a piece lying around, and tried some dry-erase markers on it.
Turns out they don't erase well at all when dry, and I had to use a window cleaning spray to get it off completely.

Do you know of another cheap material that would allow to more easily clean those dry-erase markers off ?

Edit : I intend to make it large, so the lighter, the better !

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I used tileboard for a whiteboard in college. I found that Expo dry erase markers usually came off if you didn't leave them on for more than a few days - I didn't try any other brand of markers, so that could possibly contribute. After that, I used Windex to get it completely clean. It's hard to beat $10-15 for a 4' x 8' whiteboard though. –  Doresoom Oct 14 '10 at 15:13
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409 works like a charm. I spray it on a dry-erase eraser and go. You really can't beat tileboard on price. I've got 70 square feet of workspace for under $25. Even pricey whiteboard doesn't come completely clean after a few months of hard use without a cleaning product. –  Steve Jackson Oct 14 '10 at 16:28

11 Answers 11

I don't know how large of a whiteboard you're looking for but I've used glass. I've used white acrylic paint on the back of the glass to give it a background and it's worked great!! I'd call around to some glass stores and see what a piece will run you.

I've also used showerboard (tileboard) and it works fine as well and is available pretty cheaply from a local home improvement store.

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Well I didn't have such luck with the tileboard I tried, maybe I should look for one espeically made for showers ? Also I edited my question, because the glass idea is a good one, but I want to make a large board, so that wouldn't be practical for me. –  julien Oct 14 '10 at 14:51
    
@julien I can't say I've ever used tileboard or if it's the same as showerboard. The showerboard I used was ok ... I can't say it was prefect but it was good enough for my use. I have seen whiteboard roll out paper like Niall C. mentioned, you might want to look for that online and see if you can attach it to a piece of plywood or masonite. –  Scott Vercuski Oct 14 '10 at 14:55
    
I do like the idea of glass, with white paint on the back. However, this would also be heavy, which is a serious negative. –  user558 Oct 14 '10 at 15:06
    
@woodchips yeah ... I wasn't sure which size julien was going after, but after he amended it to say large, glass is out. I used glass on a gaming table but it was only a few pieces about 6 inches wide by 2 feet long. –  Scott Vercuski Oct 14 '10 at 15:10

In a previous job, I had a flexible whiteboard at my desk; it came in a roll and attached to the walls with velcro tape. It was only 3'x4' though, so might not be big enough for you.

A quick search for "flexible whiteboard" showed this near the top, which might work for you.

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This works best if the wall behind them is smooth. Our office has slightly textured paint, and the one that I got was thin enough that you could feel the texture through the whiteboard. –  KeithB Oct 14 '10 at 19:43
    
@KeithB: Now I remember... I could feel the metal grid in the cubicle partition when using it, it made my writing even worse than usual. But attaching it to something like masonite would give you a smooth surface without making it too heavy. –  Niall C. Oct 14 '10 at 20:14

There is also white board paint, that you can use on a variety of surfaces. Here is one example. You can use this directly on walls, or on a board if you need portability. There is also blackboard paint for use with chalk.

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that's cool ! never knew this existed. Have you ever tried it? does it work well? This would be awesome for my office. –  Scott Vercuski Oct 14 '10 at 15:05
    
That's really awesome, but a bit pricey especially since I'll be moving in a few months. –  julien Oct 14 '10 at 15:25
    
@Scott My wife put this up in her office (a different brand from Lowes, I believe), and says it works well. I haven't actually seen in it use. –  KeithB Oct 14 '10 at 19:40
    
nice ! I'll have to stop by Lowes and check it out. Thanks again ! –  Scott Vercuski Oct 14 '10 at 19:51
    
We have ideapaint at the office. It works as well as a standalone white board. Strongly recommended. –  Shimon Rura Oct 14 '12 at 12:41

WhiteyBoard cheap whiteboard stickers that are cheap and come in a variety of sizes.

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Write up about them on LifeHacker:

Whiteyboard was started by Jason Wilk, a principal with venture capital firm Y Combinator, after he discovered how much a whiteboard cost at an office supply store. Determined to give small startups an alternative, he came upon the idea of stick-on whiteboards. You can order them in three sizes, starting at 12 by 18 inches for $US10 and ranging up to four by six feet for $US30, and they can be cut to fit whatever size and shape needs you have. Helpful stuff for those with great ideas, but not $US300 and an afternoon to spend buying and installing the sketch space for them.

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Can anyone comment on these ? My walls are a little rugged, and the plastic looks thin, I'm thinking it might not be too comfortable... Maybe applying it to some cheap plywood could do though. –  julien Oct 14 '10 at 21:38
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I've never used nor heard of this product...but, they need a different name. :) –  aphoria Oct 15 '10 at 17:29
    
I've used the 2x3 ft size. After about 6 months I removed on sheet b/c it was bubbling up a bit (it's fairly hard to get it on without getting a few bubbles in it) and it left behind a slight residue and pulled off a thin layer of some of the sheetrock (enough to see the paper under the sheetrock). I'm going to try the paint option next. –  Clay Nichols Jan 25 '12 at 20:03
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DEFINITELY need a better name...especially if they're hoping to augment the products with a black-board type product. –  DA01 Jan 25 '12 at 23:10
    
We tried using these for a while. We found that if you don't erase what you wrote pretty quickly (within a day or so), they become really hard to clean (even with the assistance of some cleaning agents). Also, when it came time to take them down, it was pretty difficult to do so without damaging the wall underneath. –  Chris Phillips Jan 26 '12 at 17:45

Several manufacturers make whiteboard wallpaper. We have this many places at work, and it's great. I remember buying some for a lab a few years ago, and it cost a few hundred dollars to cover a small wall.

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I've tried several options (below) but recently the owner of our local Tech coworking facility, TechPad turned me on to the best one :

Whiteboard wallboard from Lowes (probably available @ major hardware stores) for $14 for an 8x4 sheet. It's cheap, easy to install (although it's size makes it hard to transport) and erases great. You can also get smaller sizes (about 4x2 for about $10. Easier to transport and mount, but more expensive).

enter image description here

Here are the other options I tried and why they didn't work as well:

  • The unfortunately name Whiteyboard: it was really hard to put up without getting bubbles under it. If you've ever tried to put a screen protector on on an iPad or Nook Color, you know what I mean. But imagine that difficulty x 400. And, after just 3 months or so, when I peeled it off, it took a thin layer of paint with it. Not a huge problem but a bit ugly and might require repainting. Conclusion: Hard to put up, might mark your wall, and a bit expensive (I think it was about $40 or so for enough for a 4x8 sheet.
  • I got some (I think 3m brand) disposable dry erase sheets that attach via static cling. They actually worked fairly well. Stayed on the wall for months. Zero damage to the wall. And you can remove them and move to another wall once or twice before they start to lose their static cling. (I guess I could also rub them with a piece of fur to 'charge them up'. Downsides: disn't stick to the wall more than a couple of months, a bit hard to erase after a week or so, and more expensive long term than the board from the hardware store. Conclusion: Great for short term use (<3 months).
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Not 3M, but here's a similar product link. –  Doresoom Jan 25 '12 at 20:33
    
I have some of these (not 3M brand). The only problem is that the solvent in my dry-erase markers tends to make them deform a bit where you write on them, so after a time you need to toss the sheet. Mine was in the form of 35 sheets on a pad (like the paper ones you use on an easel). –  Michael Kohne Jan 26 '12 at 3:52
    
I did an experiment on a wall at work ... at 6 months, on painted drywall, it was starting to fall down, but I probably could've re-affixed it (of course, I never actually tried erasing; I just wrote 'this is a test of the emergency whiteboard system' when I put it up, and a few other comments got added later. I did notice the deformation around the lettering. –  Joe Oct 16 '12 at 3:25
    
Solid update to your answer! –  Steven Dec 24 '12 at 6:19

At a previous job we went to the big-box home store and bought $10 8x4 sheets of cheap shower surround paneling. We did have to occasionally use spray cleaner, but that seems normal for most white boards.

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Ikea hackers shows two ideas. The first is to use a glass tabletop. Apparently in some places the top is sold separately from the rest of the table, and thus can be had for a reasonable price: Ikea hack - glass tabletop whiteboard

The other is to buy random doors from the as-is section that have a sufficiently gloss finish to be used as a whiteboard: Ikea hack - use doors as a whiteboard That's got the downside that you aren't likely to find anything of the size you want.

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IdeaPaint really is the best whiteboard paint. If you're looking to make your own whiteboards then check out eBay for IdeaPaint. Normally very expensive, you can find it on eBay fairly cheaply. Sometimes as low as $1 per square foot.

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This isn't so much a product recommendation as it is a specific brand recommendation - and a subjective one at that. –  The Evil Greebo Oct 14 '12 at 1:43

Whiteboard solutions:

  1. Glass Glass surfaces are actually very good alternatives. You can spray one side of the glass white to give it a white board look.

  2. Paint Finish Additionally, many of the other posters have also spoke about the idea of paint finishes that they offer. Many different paint companies out there offer a paint based solution that provides your walls with a sheen like finish similar to a whiteboard. Finding one just requires searching google for terms like, "Whiteboard paint", etc. This solution seems to give one the option of picking any color of paint as your writeable surface. Otherwise can also be used as an easy way to clean walls if you have children and children may have a desire to draw on the walls.

  3. Sticker: A couple other companies out there also offer the ability to add a stickerlike paper to the wall. Personally, I feel these solutions are only temporary. Contact paper is also another solution that might be better than having a sticker.

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You can now buy vinyl cling white board material. Like those removable plastic window decorations, it'll attach to glass or any painted wall, but peels off easily without marking. Just combine multiple squares to make the size you need. You can cut the squares to fit the space. I believe I saw it at a certain big box store with an orange logo. I'm not sure what the name is, but I think it was made by 3M.

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