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How to Build a HUGE Whiteboard for $50

February 17th, 2007 · 17 Comments

You can build a 4 x 8 whiteboard in your office just like the picture with some basic tools and simple woodworking skills for about $50. I’m going to show you how.

Finished Whiteboard

Non-magnetic whiteboards are built out of melamine (magnetic ones are ceramic on steel and are pretty spendy), a product that is also used for creating shower walls. Oddly enough, you can buy a 4 x 8 sheet of melamine for whiteboards for about $75, or you can buy a sheet of melamine for showers (called plain tile board) for about $13 at Home Depot. The only difference is the shower melamine is thinner.

The other materials you will need are 25′ of wood trim called wainscot trim, a roll of 48″ foam underlayment for wood floors, some brads, a hammer, a miter saw, and a staple gun. You will also need a level, preferably a laser level.

First draw a level line on your wall where you want the bottom of the whiteboard to be. Then staple about 9′ of the foam underlayment to the wall, aligning it with your line. The underlayment will make the whiteboard feel more solid and help make the assembly the right thickness for the wainscot trim.

Next, cut and nail an 8′ length of wainscot trim to the bottom of the foam underlayment. This will serve as the base you will rest the whiteboard on while you nail it.

Stapling the underlayment

Now lift the sheet of melamine onto the ledge created by the wainscot trim. Get one of your buddies to hold it against the wall while you line it lengthwise. Now drive some nails into the wall all around the EDGES of the melamine. The ledge on the wainscot trim will cover these nails if you stay within a half an inch of the edge.

Trimming it out

Once the melamine is secure, use a utility knife to remove the excess underlayment. Then cut some more wainscot trim to surround the whiteboard and nail it up. Paint or finish as desired.

Voila! You have built an extremely useful whiteboard for only $50. Sweet.

Note: Melamine will ghost a little bit. You will occasionally need to clean your whiteboard with whiteboard cleaner. Also, if you want a different size whiteboard, you can cut it with a regular circular saw.

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17 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Mouneer Nouri // Mar 2, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    dear sir.
    how can i fix the metal surface "white metal sheet" with MDF back. what kind of glue shall i use. thickness of metal sheet is 0,3mm and MDF is about 11mm
    thnx

  • 2 mutaz // Apr 23, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    dear Sir,
    first of all i would like to thank you a lot for this great information, iam student at the american university _girne north of cyprus, and i am graduating within 5 months, and i have project about the magnetic interactive whiteboard, if you dont mind Sir supplying me with some information about this project , because i looked hardly to get some informations about the michanism of the IWB but the magentic one i couldnt find anything. Sir kindly iam asking you if you can supply me with any idea of bulding this interactive magnetic whiteboard,or how it works, on this email address (mshannag84@hotmail.com)
    yours truely .
    thanks a lot

  • 3 Every office needs a whiteboard « Organize 2 Optimize // Jun 5, 2009 at 11:37 am

    […] own huge whiteboard space to create innovative ideas for your business…for less than $50!  Click here to find out how and be sure to let me know your […]

  • 4 melissa // Jun 14, 2009 at 12:28 am

    Another way you can make a whiteboard is…
    Go to home depot and buy whiteboard paint for 32 dollars. And then go home and put the paint on your wall or surface you want it on and wait for it to dry! easier ad much cheaper!!!

    Hope i Helped! Have fun with your new whiteboard!! 😀

  • 5 Dave Ritchie // Jul 20, 2009 at 6:12 pm

    If you put Turtle Wax on this prior to writing on it, it will prevent a lot of grime pickup (I got this idea from an article at Bell Labs)…

  • 6 Ellen // Jul 23, 2009 at 6:05 am

    we are interactive whiteboard manufacturer and educational lab software developer in China. our web: http://www.frentec.cn
    Interactive whiteboard classifications: portable system; front-mount system; wall mounted system; projector mounted system; rear projection system.
    Lab software ( for middle school and high middle school) : maths, chemistry, physics.
    If any one interested in interactive whiteboard and lab software, please add my MSN: luoxiping2004@hotmail.com, Skype: luoxiping2004

  • 7 Annette A. Penney // Nov 3, 2009 at 6:14 pm

    This is a great post! My daughter started her own business (biz student in university) and wanted a whiteboard for Christmas but they're SOOO costly. This way I can make her a HUGE one and she'll be thrilled! Thank you so much for this.

  • 8 How to Build a HUGE Whiteboard for $50 « Jason Smith // Jul 20, 2010 at 7:32 am

    […] How to Build a HUGE Whiteboard for $50 Posted in Uncategorized by jasonsmith on July 20, 2010 How to Build a HUGE Whiteboard for $50. […]

  • 9 shalley // Sep 2, 2010 at 3:38 am

    ear Sir or Madam,I am an professional interactive whiteboard manufacturer in China and I am looking for distributors and agents.The brief introduction of our interactive whitebaord:Interactive whiteboard is a PC based input equipment, which, when connected with projector and PC,can realized functions such as writing , noting, drawing geometric , editing, printing and storing.Interactive whiteboard will become mainstream equipment for teaching, meeting, remote education and information exchange in the future.If you are interested please reply my Email or add my MSN:shalleychen@hotmail.comLooking forward to receiving your early reply.Wish you a good luck in your business.Best Regards,shalley.Hebei NANHAO Information Industry Co., Ltd.
    Add: Changming South Street No.458,Hengshui,Heibei province,China
    TEL:+86-318-2335086
    FAX:+86-318-2335002Web:www.nhboard.net.MSN:shalleychen@hotmail.com

  • 10 Every office needs a whiteboard « VisionBridge // Oct 15, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    […] own huge whiteboard space to create innovative ideas for your business…for less than $50! Click here to find out how and be sure to let me know your […]

  • 11 Tabitha // Oct 26, 2010 at 10:00 am

    I have an awesome idea for a dry erase board that is more functional than you would think it to be. It is super strong!!! It is not only good for writing on. You can also do acrobatics and stunts off of it!! No kidding. You can also call these things acroboards if you want. The Hebrew name for it is Mizbe’ach Ha Rikud which means “Altar of the Dance” I created a dance concept that centers around it. It is just like the one in my high school with one of those big solid wood frames on it. I fell in love with the ones in my high school and I decided to come up with a way to build for home because I just loved them. Sadly, I haven’t been able to build a big one yet because no room in my house is big enough for it!!! Here is how you would build it. I repeat: This is only for serious geeks and dancers/tricksters out there who have a big enough room in their house and want a multifunctional space. A basement that has a wall with no windows on one side is the best place for it. You got to have a haert for it. You need:

    12 2X4X10′ planks
    4 1X4X10′ planks (for the barre thing)
    2 White tileboard panels
    2 4′X4′ cork panels (for the ends or “wings”)
    A whole lot of .75″ quarter round or stop moulding for the inside of the frame; this is what holds the panels in the main frame.
    4″ hex bolt screws for mounting it
    1.25″ X.25″and .75″X.25″ flat moulding (for the barre thing)
    Gorilla Glue
    Wood Finish and wax or polyurethane
    42” oriental spanner piece for the middle (this holds the two whiteboard panels together)

    How to build it:

    1. Take one 2X4, measure it at 8′ and make forty five degree angles on both ends pointing towards each other like this: / \
    2. Take another 2X4, measure it at 8′ and make forty five degree angles on each end going parallel like this: / /
    3. Do this for the bottom two pieces and the top two pieces.
    4. Take two 2X4’s, measure them at 4′ and make forty five degree angles on both ends pointing towards each other like this: / \ These are the side pieces.
    5. Now for something challenging. Take one 2X4, measure it at 42” and cut it straight down the middle on its big side. These two pieces will function as the interior posts between the whiteboard panels and the wings.
    6. Take four 2X4’s, measure them at 4’ and make forty five degree angles on both ends going parallel like this \ \ These make up the wings of the board.
    7. Take a 1X4, measure it at 4’ on each end and make a forty five degree angle one only one end like this\ These two pieces go on the wing pieces.
    8. Take the two 4’ 2X4 pieces used for the base (That is the bottom of the board) and the two 4’ 1X4 pieces, line up the 1X4 with the angle on the 2X4 so that they meet flush together forming one angle like this \ Measure .5” out from the back of the 2X4 so that there is a .5” gap. This is so the wing boards can fit into the frame. Put some gorilla glue in between the two pieces and let it dry for about 12 hours. Do this for the other 1X4 and 2X4 piece. Now you have the two wing pieces for the base of the board complete.
    9. Take one 1X4, measure it at 8’ and make forty five degree angles on each end like this / \ Take another 1X4 measure it at 8’ and make forty five degree angles on each end like this / / These pieces are similar to the 2X4 pieces.
    10. Take the first set of 8’ 2X4 pieces (make sure that the angles interlock in the middle forming angles on each end like this: / \ The angle in the middle should be like this /) This will be the main base of the board.
    11. Take the 1X4 and the 2X4 with angles like this / \ and line them up so that they form to flush angles like this / \ Measure .5 inches at the back of the 2X4. There should now be a .5’ gap. This is to hold the whiteboard panels in the frame. Put some gorilla glue between the two pieces and let it dry for about 12 hours. Do this for the other two pieces with angles like this / / Now you have the main base of the board complete.
    12. Now for some challenge. Take all of the top pieces (make sure that the angles interlock together all the way across with angles on each end like this \ / Measure .5” all the way down the top on the inside of the frame. Take the .75” stop moulding and measure four pieces to match the angles of all of the top pieces. Affix this to each of the top pieces with some gorilla glue and let it dry for about 12 hours. Now the top pieces of the board are complete.
    13. Take the two side pieces with angles like this / \ and measure .5” on the inside of the frame. Take the .75” stop moulding and measure it to the inside of the frame. Make forty five degree angles on each end that match the angles of the two side pieces. Affix these to the two side pieces with some gorilla glue and let it dry for 12 hours. Now you have the side pieces of the board complete.
    14. Take the two 42” interior 2×4 pieces (the small ones) and measure .5” on both sides of each of the 2X4 pieces. Take the .75” stop moulding and measure it to fit the pieces for both sides. There should be four pieces of stop moulding here. Affix them to each side of the 2X4 pieces with some gorilla glue and let them dry for 12 hours. Now you have the interior pieces of the board complete.
    15. Now take the base pieces that have the barre mounted on them. Take the 1.25”X.25” flat moulding and measure it to fit each of the base pieces. The angles on them need to match up with the angles of the base pieces. You may wish to make angles on the ends of the pieces on the wings like this / \ Line each of these four pieces up at the back of the barre. Affix the pieces to the barre with gorilla glue and let them dry for 12 hours.
    16. Take the .75”X.25” flat moulding and measure it to fit each of the four base pieces. The angles on them should match the angles of the four base pieces. You may wish to make forty five degree angles on the pieces with the wings like this / \ Line each of the four pieces up at the front of the barre. Affix the pieces to the barre with gorilla glue and let them dry for 12 hours.
    17. Take a piece of the 1.25”X.25” flat moulding and measure it to fit the sides of the barre. You may wish to make angles on the ends of the pieces like this / \ Affix these pieces to the barre with gorilla glue and let them dry for 12 hours. Now you have the first part of the barre complete.
    18. Line the base pieces up again so that the angles interlock together. Take the .75” stop moulding and measure to fit the base pieces. The angles on them should match the angles of the base pieces. Take these four pieces and line them up at the back of the barre. Affix them to the barre with some gorilla glue and let them dry for 12 hours. Now you should have the entire frame of the board complete.
    19. Now all that is left is to stain and finish the board.

    Mounting the Board

    This is a challenging and tedious thing to do. The best thing to do here is assemble the frame of the board together on the ground. Then measure around the frame starting with a mark at the edge of the base 16” You will need to measure and make marks every 16” this is house standard. A mark has to be on the angle break, skip it and measure another 16” Do this all the way around the frame including the side pieces and the interior pieces.

    Now you will need to measure on the wall every 16” to account for the mounting holes on the board. Mount up the board with the 4” hex bolts. As you mount up the frame set the whiteboard panels in the frame, brace them with the interior pieces and put the wing boards up. Then put up the side pieces followed by the top. You will need more than one person to do this. If the side pieces or interior pieces don’t fit up like the rest of the frame, you may wish to put the pieces together with magnetic tape or paint. A more permanent though not recommended solution would be to apply glue to the corners of the side pieces and the ends of the interior pieces. Do not do this if you want the board to remain portable. You may wish to put some wood plugs in the holes where the hex bolts. Put the 42” spanner piece in the middle of the board and there you have it. You are ready to take a spin on it. Have some fun. See what you can do on the thing

    If you want to see what the board will look like, take a look at this. This is from my school.

    http://www.kernersvillenc.com/gallery/Education-Grant-Presentations/2005_education_grant_163

    It will look exactly like this when it is complete and mounted up. Pretty nice ehh? This is not for anyone who just wants something simple. This takes some time to build. It is super sturdy when it is mounted up. It is built for play and action. It is very pretty for those who like the vintage look and feel.

    Some extra things you can put on it are a map track and a theatre curtain for added appeal.

    Please let me know if anyone has done this: tam_caii06@yahoo.com

  • 12 Large Whiteboards // Jun 26, 2012 at 6:05 am

    This can also work well for some of the other whiteboard materials – in particular whiteboard paint. There are pros and cons to each, but the upside of the paint is that you can fit it to a nonstandard area and you have unlimited size possibilities.

  • 13 Barbara // Jul 12, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    This is a fabulous solution! My walls are textured, so the whiteboard paint wouldn’t work, and a huge whiteboard of this size is hundreds of dollars. Thanks for such a helpful tutorial.

  • 14 Robert // Aug 15, 2015 at 11:16 pm

    What is the purpose of the foam underlayment?

    Thank you.

  • 15 David Christiansen // Aug 17, 2015 at 11:36 pm

    The foam underlayment lets the whiteboard lay flat against the wall even if the wall is textured.

  • 16 Robert // Aug 18, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    Thank you, David! My wall is only lightly textured. I’ll see if I need it once I get it up against the wall but before I nail it.

    The outside edge will be nailed all around but what about the center? Seems like it may bow out. I’m wondering if I’ll need some glue to hold the center in.

  • 17 Robert // Aug 19, 2015 at 7:07 pm

    I used the “Smooth Hardboard Wall Panel” from Lowes and it turned out really nice. Erases nicely.

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_16605-46498-300_0__?productId=3015239

    $13.47

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