I'd like to put some kind of easily removed clear (or semi-translucent) material on my large windows so I can use them as a dry-erase surface without blocking out the light. Any suggestions on what to look for? Cheaper is better : )

Window with writing on it Another window with writing

6 Answers 6


You can write on glass with a dry-erase marker and it will come off with a paper towel. (Try it yourself if you don't believe me!) I've never left it on glass long enough for it to need any sort of solvent to remove, but I'd think that normal ammonia-based window cleaner would work OK; if not, you could always use dry-erase cleaner as a last resort.

The reason this works is that dry-erase boards (the rigid kind at least) have a thin ceramic coating to prevent the ink from penetrating pores in the white plastic substrate, and glass is a ceramic.

If there are any stubborn dry erase marker smudges left over, a sharp #9 razor blade will easily remove them.

  • 1
    I do it all the time for calculations and software design, or to teach my kids math. Get high quality pens as it is harder to see than on a white board. If you really need to see it, use grease pens and some detergent and elbow grease for removal. Jun 23, 2011 at 2:05
  • If you have stubborn smudges, scribble over them with a fresh pen, and then quickly erase. This even works with permanent marker stains. Nov 12, 2012 at 18:16
  • I do this w/ my bathroom mirror for "must not forget" items.
    – keshlam
    Jan 9, 2015 at 3:28
  • 1
    Dry-erase markers do work great! It's just that they're often not dark enough to see on the clear surface. It's actually finding a dark marker that's the hardest part.
    – rlb.usa
    Aug 14, 2015 at 16:44

Don't know about windows, but the shower backer board you can get in 4' x 8' sheets a most home improvement stores will work well too. Pretty much the same material and really cheap. We used these at a company I worked for previously and then cut and attached molding around them as a frame to dress them up. HTH.

  • Interesting. What did you use for the framing material? Painted wood would be an ink magnet.
    – BMitch
    Jun 23, 2011 at 11:50
  • Did the same thing. $12 and a little liquid nails later and you got a nice, cheap whiteboard. Use a little simple green to clean it once in a while. Jun 24, 2011 at 13:48

Window glass is an ideal surface on which to use dry erase markers. It is very non-porous and you don't want anything with pores that the ink can sink into.

A great way to get a whiteboard cheaply is to visit your local recycling plant and get yourself a glass door or window. If you want it to be white, paste paper behind it.

I use the Pomodoro system of time management, and for that I have a table which I fill in each day. I made the table on white paper, and covered it with clear Contact (the self adhesive stuff you get to cover school books). Then I painted it with car polish to fill all the pores.

I use Wrightmarkers markers for that. If you search for wrightmarkers markers you'll find details. Writing on windows needs particularly intense colors, and these meet the bill. If you have any difficulty at all cleaning them off, they are washable in plain water, so you can give your surface a quick wipe-down with a damp cloth. I also rinse my eraser every few weeks when the dust builds up in it.

Windows are not the only glass surface either. You can write names on wine-glasses before a party, or use blank CDs as place-mats with names written on them. You could even use the CDs for recording after you've erased the names, or re-use them for your next party.


Glass is great for writing on with markers. When I worked in a lab, we used to write on the fume hood sashes and glassware all thetime, with permanent markers, that way they wouldn't smudge. Erasing was as simple as wiping it with acetone, alcohol, or MEK, which, fortunately, were in plentiful supply in that lab, but can also be found at the hardware store. Actually, fingernail polish remover works great as well.

  • Bosisto's Eucalyptus Spray work's a treat and smells great.
    – user32513
    Feb 7, 2015 at 10:18

Dry erase markers work great on Windows and mirrors. I've actually found that the BiC brand magic marker "window marker" which is used a lot on car windows at dealerships to mark the sale prices etc, work fantastic compared to regular dry erase markers. They are much brighter and thicker than the regular dry erase, so it's much easier to see; and they clean up very easily··· just a little water on a paper towel and it comes right off. I used them to write all over my car (the body and Windows) for my nieces graduation, and on my drive home (5 hours of driving in it) it rained super hard and the marker hardly even smudged; but when I wiped it down with a paper towel all of it came off with no problems at all. Both types of markers are labeled "conforms to ASTM D 4236", so they're the exact same; the magic marker one is just thicker like I said.

  • ASTM D4236 is titled "Standard Practice for Labeling Art Materials for Chronic Health Hazards"; it has nothing to do with the actual content of the marker. May 25, 2016 at 11:12

Magic Whiteboard and Wizard Wall sell clear dry-wipe sheets that stick on to windows and walls by static, so you don't need to clean the window afterwards. They are also available in white: Magic Clearboard and Wizard Wall.

Unfortunately they seem to be expensive in the US (but are more reasonably priced in the UK).

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.