How can I get whiteboard or dry erase space, without paying a lot of money?
May 29, 2008 3:34 PM   Subscribe

>How can I have lots of whiteboard/dry-erase surface, without paying a lot, and without altering the walls/furniture of my apartment?

I'm subletting a place this summer, to get a ton of work done on a collaborative project. We'd love to have the ample whiteboard space that tech companies have, but we don't have deep pockets.

Our landlord has asked us not to hang posters, so gluing dry erase sheets to surfaces seems out of the question.
posted by k7lim to Work & Money (20 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
There are rolling/freestanding whiteboards (and blackboards).
posted by kcm at 3:38 PM on May 29, 2008

Anything that is paintable?
posted by iamabot at 3:38 PM on May 29, 2008

My guess is that this is going to be your best resource.
posted by lilkeith07 at 3:40 PM on May 29, 2008

How about a DIY dry erase board attached to a DIY easel?
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 3:42 PM on May 29, 2008

From Kevin Kelly's Cool Tools: Solid White Tileboard, $13 for 4'x8' at Home Depot.
posted by zsazsa at 3:43 PM on May 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

What about the dry erase easel pads that cling using static? I found this just by clicking on a "Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed" link from the product you provided:

Write On Cling Sheets
posted by cgg at 3:49 PM on May 29, 2008

This site offers white board material and chalkboards as removable wall stickers, although I've only tried similar chalkboard ones.
posted by Gucky at 3:52 PM on May 29, 2008

I'd paint whiteboard walls, as above, and just be sure to plan-budget to repaint over it before leaving. What landlord wouldn't want fresh clean paint when you leave?
posted by rokusan at 3:54 PM on May 29, 2008

As suggested in the "Cool Tools" link, tileboard works great and is really cheap. Any building supply store should have it -- sometimes it is called "shower board," sometimes "tileboard," sometimes a different name, vinyl something-or-other. I suggest bringing a dry erase pen with you and discretely testing a corner, because some brands of shower board erase less well than others -- some of them have surfaces that are too porous and the ink stays instead of erases (I found the Home Depot variety to not work, but the stuff from another store worked great). You can glue it up, or use a few screws to hold it up (for a cleaner installation, you can use strips of molding around the edges, but that is only for looks -- it will stay up without that if you want to be really low-tech).
posted by Forktine at 4:03 PM on May 29, 2008

Dry erase markers write on (and come off of) mirrors.
posted by messylissa at 4:06 PM on May 29, 2008

could you use the windows? i have done that before. they work better with wet erase markers but dry erase would work fine. keep lots of windex on hand.
posted by MeetMegan at 4:44 PM on May 29, 2008

The fridge is a great place to write on using dry erase markers. I know this because the kids graffitied all over mine as a joke.
posted by JujuB at 5:00 PM on May 29, 2008

For large areas, I don't like dry erase as much. I like the wet-erase vis-a-vis markers or grease pencil and a big ol' piece of glass or plexiglass. Doesn't come off accidentally as easy. Old dry erase marker is also kind of hard to get off compared to the grease pencils and wet-erase markers.

I realize that doesn't answer the exact question you asked, but it's an option.
posted by ctmf at 5:23 PM on May 29, 2008

Tiles are also a great dry-erase surface. Do you have a tiled bathroom or kitchen?

(When I lived in China my bathroom was tiled floor-to-ceiling with big white tiles and I made a calendar out of them using one square per day. The maker wiped right off (you'd want to do a test on your tile to make sure the same holds true, of course) but would not come off the grout without scrubbing, so be sure to watch the cracks.)
posted by kate blank at 5:24 PM on May 29, 2008

er, that's "marker wiped right off"
posted by kate blank at 5:24 PM on May 29, 2008

At one of the NPO's I frequent they bought the cheapest panel board they could find to cover their aging concrete block walls. They paid very little per sheet. They're white and glossy. I tested a small corner w/ a DE marker and it wrote and un-wrote it perfectly.

They got it at Lowe's, but it exists at any hardware store. It comes in 4x8 sheets, and you can do with it as you please. It's not true dry-erase board, but so long as you don't erase it with bleach it'll last indefinitely. (Alcohol is the best way to erase dried-on marker.)
posted by TomMelee at 6:43 PM on May 29, 2008

I used those cling sheets that cgg mentions (or something very close to it) for a workshop I conducted once and they did the job but were a PITA -- they're VERY thin and hard to get to lay flat on the surface without crinkles and bubbles. Also, because they were particularly slick, the dry erase ink came off too easily - brushing it lightly with one's hand while writing nearby would cause text to blur.
posted by shelbaroo at 6:46 PM on May 29, 2008

This is not cheap, but may be of interest to others reading the thread: Wallhide. A friend has covered her office in these and it is so cool. Jealous.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 7:52 PM on May 29, 2008

I was at an office supply store the other day looking for those folding cardboard project display boards, and right next to them were the same thing that claimed to be whiteboard-marker compatible. I guess they have some kind of coating on them? I didn't look too closely because it wasn't what I wanted, but they were significantly cheaper (and lighter = easier to hang without leaving marks on the walls) than a normal white board would be.
posted by vytae at 6:49 AM on May 30, 2008

Ended up getting a huge $9 piece of melamine (tileboard)

Feels good to spend an order of magnitude less $$ than I'd budgeted.
posted by k7lim at 7:16 AM on June 8, 2008

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