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How To Get A Big Whiteboard On A Small Budget

So, I wanted a whiteboard. A big one to go into my new office. But, I didn’t want to get a second mortgage to afford it.

So, I did some research. I got some advice from some internet marketing friends. And I arrived at a solution. For less than 10% of the cost of a comparably sized whiteboard pre-built, I got the job done.

Why A Whiteboard?

Whiteboards are a favorite tool among many internet marketers I know. Many others have hung them with the best intentions, only to rarely (if ever) actually use it. So, the question is… What use is a whiteboard? Why would I want one?

  • Diagramming A Sales Process. When you’re planning out a sales funnel, it is nice to diagram it out visually. This includes the landing pages, thank-you pages, upsells, downsells – you get the idea. And even though you can do this with flow chart software, hashing it out on a whiteboard often works better. Plus, you don’t get mired down with trying to figure out the software or some compulsion to make it look pretty.
  • Videos. Recording yourself on video talking about something, but in front of your whiteboard so you can draw out what you’re talking about, all professor-style.
  • Projects and Planning. Obvious.
  • Model a product launch. There can be a lot of moving pieces to a product launch. Map it out on the whiteboard.

You get the idea. :)

Whiteboard On The Cheap

Small whiteboards are easy to come by, but their size is usually a limitation. Hell, my computer monitor is bigger than some of those things.

Once you move up to something of decent size, you have to pony up some serious scratch. The larger (usually commercial-grade) whiteboards can cost several hundred dollars.

Then, you have paint options. For example, companies like IdeaPaint or Whiteyboard have paint-on options. You literally just paint your wall with this material and it turns the entire wall into a dry-erase whiteboard. This is probably your best option if you truly want wall-to-wall whiteboards.

Whiteyboard also has adhesive options. You buy the whiteboard material in a roll and you, well, roll it on.

As convenient as these options are, the problem is that you need a very smooth service. A standard texture on drywall should work OK with paint because the paint will even out as it dries (in theory). Some walls, though, have a more pronounced texturing to them. That would make the whiteboard surface bumpy and that’s annoying. Same problem with the adhesive.

The other thing to consider is removability. Paint-on whiteboard is, I would imagine, pretty much a bitch to remove. So, if you’re in an apartment or in a rental house (as I am right now), it might not be a viable option. You want to be able to move out and leave the walls undamaged.

So, This Is What I Did…

I went to Lowes and picked up an 8′x4′ white panelboard. This is the kind of board which would be wall-mounted in a cheap bathroom or something. It happens to make a pretty decent dry-erase board, though.

The price of the board (at Lowes) was $11.87 per panel. If you wanted more than one, I bet you could afford it. ;)

The biggest problem is fitting in in your car. You pretty much want to have it inside the vehicle. A flat item like this would act as one HELL of a sail if the wind caught it, so roof-mounting it might prove problematic. I couldn’t even fit this thing in my wife’s SUV, so I actually had to have the folks at Lowes cut the board for me. I had them cut it right down the middle, so I had TWO 4′x4′ boards.

To mount it to the wall, you have a couple different options. One is, of course, adhesive. A simple tube of liquid nail would do it. Just keep in mind that this would screw up the wall if you try to remove it.

The way  I mounted it? Velcro. Industrial stength velcrow tape, as shown here: (link to Lowes)

Since I had two separate 4×4 panels, I cut up the velcrow tape evenly and stuck strips in each of the 4 corners of each board. I actually placed the strips a few inches inward on each corner, not right at the edge. This velcrow is more than adequate to hold up the weight of this panel.

Don’t worry about measuring it precisely and trying to match it up on the wall. I’d recommend pre-fastening the velcrow before wall-mounting it. Then, you simply position the wall panel and stick it onto the wall. Then, pushing inward to really stick those things to the wall. This saves a lot of hassle from trying to match up the locations of the two sides to the velcrow.

The End Result

There you have it.

The ONLY problem with this is the fact that I had to cut it in half to even get it home. I now have this seam (which is pretty visible) in the middle of it. In practice, I doubt it will be any problem. Worse case, I could probably reduce the seam with some chaulking or something.

All in all, though – pretty dang swanky. And, panel and velcro, my total cost was only about $20 or so. When  you consider what a whiteboard this size would have cost pre-built, pretty sweet. :)

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Got a Question or Comment?

  1. Great idea – until you got to the part about cutting it in half. Surely a networker like you has a friend with a truck?

  2. JR Griggs says:

    Looks like what I will be doing soon. Next time give me a call, I have a truck ;-)

    • Good to know. :-)

      Actually, my main writer (PCMech) has a pickup, too, and he was here the day I bought it. It’d have to be a big truck, though. Or a long-bed. A smaller pickup just won’t do it. And, you have to be careful about how you move it, because the wind will pick this thing up like a boat sail and it’ll fly out.

  3. Brilliant!! So going to be doing this very soon.

    Thanks for tip.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Take them off the wall and run a strip of duct tape up the back.  This will hold the two boards tightly next to each other.  You might even run a piece of scotch tape down the front side as well.  It might not pick up the dry erase marker (I’m not sure) but it would prevent you from whacking the marker on the edge when you write over it. 

    • The two boards are already very close together. So, what I think I’m going to do is either a white tape over the length of the crack… or potentially even chaulk. The gap is small enough that I think white chaulk do do the trick quite easily.

      If I wanted to go nuts, I could even chaulk it until it is smooth, then paint over the chaulk with a dry-erase paint in order to make it seemless.

  5. I’m a HUGE fan of Whitey Board.  I bought 4 of the large sheets and put them on my wall in my office.

    Works awesome.

    I’ve also thought about adding them to my actual desk as well so that when inspiration hits, I’ve got a nice big writing service to quickly capture those ideas.

  6. I hope that was your Lowes Affiliate link because i’m buying some! :) haha

  7. Dang man… Pretty cheap when you consider what some of the other modestly sized ones will cost you at the local store. I bought a small-ish one for about $30 a while back. I used it at home but honestly, completely ineffective. 

    At the office we do have a conference room that has whiteboard wall-to-wall so that’s pretty darn sweet!Still, could use a setup like this at home!

  8. I love using whiteboards. They are so incredibly condusive to creativity. Especially for someone like me who needs a visual to keep focus or ideas straight. Love the tip David!

  9. You got a little gold feng shui action going on there? Or just a left over from X-mas? :)

  10. Anonymous says:

    I just jumped back in now after a long holiday break and a big ass whiteboard is at the top of my list.  You just saved me a boatload of dough!
    Thanks David
    Mark

  11. Now, if only I could create one that folds away and fits in my backpack…

  12. Rex Williams says:

    I told you this was one of the best ideas of the webinar!

    Supposedly my Honda Pilot is designed to hold a standard 8×4 panel.  I guess we’ll find out.

    Thanks for the picture and details.

    Going all professor-style in a video is a great idea. So you’ll have to promise to watch it when I put it up. (Of course I’ll mention where the cool white board idea came from.)

  13. The board looks nice, man. You’re right that it’s really helpful to have a place to plan out your strategy. It can really help to get your ideas in order.

  14. Genius, whiteboards are the better option when trying to plan things out on paper. Can simply wipe out a mistake and make the diagram or whatever as big as you want. 
    Good idea on making your own one on the cheap.

  15. very nice and interesting article!

    everyone like it…

    thanks for the information…

     

  16. Everyone should have a big ass whiteboard. Mine is made of clear plexyglass, so the background color shows through.

  17. Anonymous says:

    great article

  18. Good options going with the lower cost hanging boards – like you said, if you really need to go BIG you can use paint, but the surface really does need to be smooth. What you can also do is sand down a regular wall if it has a bit of texture, that can go a long ways towards making a  large whiteboard paintable area. It sounds like it can be a pain, but it really isn’t that bad. Sand down the area and then wipe it off with a damp rag – then paint.

  19. Erica Steel says:

    This dry erase whiteboard paint can quickly become something that you cannot live without. At this information it will guide us to make a dry erase white board using a picture frame. Furthermore, these practically indestructible, so if it never stains and never breaks, it will last as long as you want it! Thanks for sharing your informative content!

  20. Excellent Idea!

  21. I think Lowe’s is pulling one over on us with that product photo.

  22. Can u cut the white board into a block letter?

  23. Hi! Thank you so much for the tip!! I just did this [student at Tech and have always wanted a HUGE white board in my room to work problems on]… The only question I have, having just put one up is this: Have you noticed the expo markers leaving a stain on the board? I got mine at home depot, and I wonder if the quality is less… although it was the same “brand” it seems. I just don’t want it to get all smudgy. And I want to be able to write and leave things on it w/o worrying that they won’t erase well when I come back. Thoughts?

  24. Thanks for this, I’m totally doing it now. Was a little worried about our security deposit using idea paint but this is a much better way to go about it. I might even smooth out the edges and leave them out for a little rustic look to them. Thanks for the post!

  25. Brilliant!! Did this Today.
    Thanks for tip.
    I just was just checking around for a whiteboard which is on the top of my to do list for today and ran into this post, I took mom to get her hair done, made a stop at low’s. I did not find that exact size but I did find 1/8” 36” x 48” whiteboard sheets for markers. $10.00 ea and a box of Velcro so I jumped on two of them they are perfect, thanks for the tip. As for the cutting part I cut one of the boards in half by placing it face up and using a box knife to get a clean cut. I cut from the whiteboard side, it works and looks great.
    Tim

  26. Came across this post today! You rock! Thanks. Been using this for a week now, and it works like a charm. As good as the whiteboard at work.
    -Thanks again,
    Rajesh.

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