Introduction: Build a Z-Rack Whiteboard

About: We are a non-profit that solves problems for and with the poor in developing countries using design.

In this brief tutorial, we show you how to build an inexpensive whiteboard using a garment rack, zipties and showerboard. We also demonstrate some useful accessories we designed in CAD and printed on our Makerbot, including a holder for whiteboard markers, hooks for flipcharts and a clip for attaching an eraser-caddy.


Every design studio goes through mountains of post-it notes while brainstorming and charting ideas. We love the portability of flip-chart posters, but even after moving to a big studio in Salem we never had enough wall space.


We found Make Space by Scott Doorley and Scott Witthoft at the Stanford’s d-school. Their design for a DIY whiteboard made from a garment z-rack was perfect: the wheels meant we could park them anywhere in the studio, and the bases nest together to reduce clutter. Building them ourselves saved money, which is great because we’re a cheapskate nonprofit and we wanted ten of them.


We made a short video to show you how we modified the Stanford z-rack whiteboard design, and to share some of the accessories we designed to make the z-racks even more useful. We’ve shared the z-rack parts as Autodesk Fusion 360 and STL parts on Thingiverse so you can modify and print them yourself.


These inexpensive whiteboard would be useful anywhere people want to share notes or quickly create temporary barriers. This includes design studios, workshops, classrooms and makerspaces.

Step 1: Supplies

You will need:

  1. Garment Z-rack: can be ordered from a supplier or Amazon
  2. Melamine Showerboard: can be found at your local hardware store
    • Two 5 x 4 ft sheets (or sized to fit inside your z-rack)
  3. Zip Ties: found at your local office supply
    • at least 24 ties
  4. 1/4in drill bit, Drill and Clamps

Step 2: Drill Holes

Clamp the two 5 x 4 ft pieces of showerboard together so that the writing surface of each is facing outward.

Drill 6 holes evenly distributed across the edge

3/4in from the edge.

Repeat on all edges.

Step 3: Attach With Zip Ties

Zip tie 2 showerboard pieces together along what will become the bottom.

Prop the boards up together and lean the z-rack over while attaching the zip ties along the top.

Stand the z-rack back up with the whiteboard hanging in place.

Zip tie the sides

Trim the excess

Step 4: (optional) Cover Drilled Holes With Washers

If the drilled holes in the showerboard look too rough for your taste, you can thread washers through the zip ties before fastening to cover them. We've found that there is no structural advantage to adding the washers (even when super-glued in place) but they do make the end product look better.