How to best preserve a whiteboard illustration long term?
November 4, 2010 3:13 PM   Subscribe

A friend of mine drew an illustration of my son on our office whiteboard. We are moving offices shortly, and I'd like this illustration preserved.

I will be able to cut out the relevant section of whiteboard (it's part of a 4'x8' whiteboard panel). What is the best way to ensure the illustration is preserved, both during the process of removal, and for the long term?
posted by djacobs to Grab Bag (20 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Take a photo.
posted by Biru at 3:15 PM on November 4, 2010 [4 favorites]

If your heart isn't set on having the original intact, why not take a digital photo? And then get it printed as a poster?
posted by malibustacey9999 at 3:15 PM on November 4, 2010

The drawing has an aura - the artist's hand, the process by which it was commissioned, even the white board itself! So I would like to preserve it as-is very much. But thank you for responding.
posted by djacobs at 3:19 PM on November 4, 2010

If you're really keen on it, get it framed under glass. It'll cost a good bit, but a skilled framer should be fine getting it set up.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:22 PM on November 4, 2010

You might be able to get a fixative spray. They are used for charcoal and chalk etc...but there may be a product.

I know if you use a permanent marker on whiteboard by mistake, there's a chemical in it that makes the normal markers impossible to wipe for a while.
posted by Not Supplied at 3:25 PM on November 4, 2010

Why not just spray some sort of clear lacquer over it first? Even a careful removal and frame job might take away some of the dry erase marker-- the ink is made to be easy to remove.

After that, it will be much easier to frame. You could probably even do it yourself-- just be careful to cut the whiteboard to a standard photo/frame size.
posted by supercres at 3:25 PM on November 4, 2010

You could drill some holes around the edges and run some bolts through them with a piece of acrylic in front, and some quarter inch nuts in between the acrylic and whiteboard to leave space. Just a thought for more long term saving.
posted by msbutah at 3:30 PM on November 4, 2010

Seconding supercres. I'd probably try some sort of clear spray enamel (as used on cars) to render the image permanent. I'd also want to do a test-run to make sure there was no adverse reaction between the enamel and the ink or board.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 3:31 PM on November 4, 2010

Something like this.
posted by msbutah at 3:34 PM on November 4, 2010 [6 favorites]

My experience with whiteboards is that the longer something stays on there, the more impossible it is to remove. With that being said though, nothing wrong with taking additional precautions for something so important.
posted by SollosQ at 3:44 PM on November 4, 2010

Be sure to test any spray first. It is entirely possiblee that the lacquer solvents could destroy the drawing or smear it.

I would simply cut out a too-large section of the whiteboard and then carefully transport it directly to a framer.
posted by fake at 3:55 PM on November 4, 2010 [3 favorites]

Have this friend of yours draw a new, nearly identical illustration in a more permanent medium.
posted by The World Famous at 4:04 PM on November 4, 2010

You're not alone, apparently - here are some people trying to preserve Barack Obama's whiteboards. I'm linking it because it has some relevant info to what you're trying to do. You could try contacting the person who wrote the article, though it was only *just* posted. I like the acrylic idea, though it's risky. Any chance you'll share a picture with us?
posted by routergirl at 4:16 PM on November 4, 2010

note: the artist Joseph Beuys had several chalk-on-blackboard images preserved.
posted by ovvl at 4:26 PM on November 4, 2010

Whiteboards are coated with Ethyl Tri-Flouro Ethelne, and it's one of the slipperiest things ever. It's in the Teflon family. (The Bejing Olympic aqua-cube was made of inflated ETFE film.)

I wouldn't count on any fixative sticking to it, and the solvents might dissolve and blur the drawing.

Maybe non-reflective (matte finish) glass or plastic, framed right on the surface?
posted by StickyCarpet at 5:06 PM on November 4, 2010

routergirl: thanks! The picture is here:
posted by djacobs at 5:19 PM on November 4, 2010 [1 favorite]

Dremel + Frame?
posted by GilloD at 5:21 PM on November 4, 2010

I think you might be better off having some kind of matting so the glass isn't touching the ink from the marker.
posted by Nabubrush at 8:09 PM on November 4, 2010

An original .tiff? Very nice.

To protect during removal, I'd make some kind of frame, say 2 inches deep, then tape butcher paper or something taughtly over the front of the frame, and place the frame around the drawing and secure it to the whiteboard. You might have to drill/screw it in if you can't get any adhesive to hold. Make the frame as big as possible because (the size of the panel) so when you remove it you still have plenty of whitespace around it to work with for your final framing solution (I like the nut/bolt/plexi idea)
posted by mikepop at 6:02 AM on November 5, 2010

Make sure it's not raining as you transport it outside.
posted by CathyG at 7:49 AM on November 5, 2010

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