Cheap Custom Whiteboard

Big whiteboards are insanely expensive (e.g. 4’x6′ is well over $100), but Amy and I both love whiteboards.  So I bought a 4×8 sheet of 1/4″ melamine (~$25) shortly after we moved in with an intention of framing bits for our offices.

I used a big chunk of it for the electronics workbench in my office, but had plenty left for good sized boards for our offices.  With the addition of some “select” pine 1x2s and some standard 2x2s ripped in half (total cost maybe another $10) and an hour or so of work, I made them look nicer than the store-bought.

Here’s the process I followed at a very high level:

  1. Cut a rectangle of melamine to the desired size.  (Mine were roughly 30″x50″ and 26″x40″ just because that’s what I had left.)  Choose which side you want to be the front.
  2. Cut frame pieces.  For each edge, I cut one piece of the nice wood (the select pine is straighter and more blemish-free) and one piece of the cheap wood to the length of the side.  Here are one board’s worth of framing pieces on the melamine: IMG_2998
  3. Attach the framing pieces to each edge, with the nice wood on the side of the board you’ve designated the front, and the cheap wood on the back.  I used Gorilla Glue on both sides (other appropriate adhesives should work fine), and then attached the frame-and-melamine sandwich together with screws sized so they’d go through all three pieces but not poke through the front.  Obviously this means you start the screws on the cheap wood side (back) of the frame.  Repeat for all four sides. IMG_2998
    IMG_2999
  4. That’s it.  Mount as desired.  In my case I countersunk holes in the front of the frame so my mounting screws would hit enough of the anchor in the wall to be very securely mounted.  (I’ll plug those holes when I next get to the hardware store.)
    IMG_3017
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