Custom Drawing Boards for FREE!




In this instructable I'll show you how to make your own custom drawing boards. The end result is a lightweight surprising durable drawing board with an even smooth surface - best of all, it's FREE, or at least very inexpensive.

Items you'll need:
Masking tape
Mat cutter or box cutter and straight edge

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Step 1: Step 1 - Getting Supplies

If you've ever had a picture framed then you are probably familiar with matboard. Matboard is often used to put color around a picture - it also acts as a barrier to keep the artwork from touching the inside of the glass when it is framed. The Crescent brand is probably the most popular one you can find.
Matboard comes in a wide variety of colors and textures, but they all have a nice smooth acid-free surface on the back. Most are white, but there are some that are black - both surfaces make a great drawing platform.

Truthfully, matboard is fairly inexpensive stuff but why pay for it when you can get it for FREE? Besides, it's a great way to recycle material that is headed for the trash.

Just go to your local frame shop and ask if they have any scraps or discontinued colors. Most will just give you these items or charge you a nominal fee.

The matboards have smooth surfaces but they need a stiffer structure to be of any use as a drawing platform. I've found a heavy cardboard does the trick. Refrigerators and stoves come in huge boxes that are perfect for this project. I get free cardboard boxes from a local appliance store.

Step 2: Step 2 - Cutting

Use a straight edge and box cutter or a mat cutter and cut 2 pieces of matboard and 1 piece of cardboard all the same size. I usually work on 14 x 17 pieces of paper so I make my boards 16 x 19. Make yours whatever size you want.

Step 3: Step 3 - Tape

Sandwich the cardboard between the two pieces of matbord making sure that the colored side of the matboards are against the cardbord. Cover the corners and sides with masking tape and you're done!

Step 4: Step 4 - Enjoy!

Use your drawing board to create your masterpieces. When it gets too ragged or dirty to use, just throw it out and make a new one!

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    19 Discussions


    10 years ago on Introduction

    She is a comic book character named “Baby Jane” by George Webber. She is a Frankenstein-like babe assembled from dead chicks that tries (unsuccessfully) to fit into a typical American suburb. Her tag line is “Dead Sexy”. Take a look at some framed photos or prints and you will find a colored boarder around the picture. This is matboard. It is a thin acid-free cardboard used to dress up artwork and keep the work from touching the glass. Some matboard is textured, others are sometimes covered in fabric. All of it has a smooth surface on the back, which is why I use it as a drawing platform. Plus I get free scraps from a local art gallery.


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 4

    Yeah, I was practicing and I drew this from a photo of her from some red-carpet event.

    You are very talented. We built a very nice Art / Drawing table for my son who draws very well; but he rarely uses it. At ten yrs old he gets easily discouraged.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Yup :) I wondered if any dA folks would be here too AND be able to make the connection.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    I use a piece of foam core with the plastic coating. It is smooth thus, I can use the "removable tape" low tack and I have a light weight surface with a bit of a give to it. And it will last for years. You don't want to use any high tacky tape on the surface of your drawing. Give it a try.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Do you have a drafting table or do you just sit around the house with this and draw? Did you tape the paper down? Great Job I'm going to make a smaller one right now. I currently us wood with mat board but it's kind of heavy.

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I do have a drafting table but I mainly use the boards. I usually have a few drawings in the works and using the boards makes it easy to switch what I’m working on – plus, the boards are really portable. Oh yeah, I do tape them down at the corners.


    Reply 10 years ago on Step 4

    your welcome. you should post an instructable on how to draw or paint. i love drawing and painting,and i'm, ok.


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I think you might be on to something. All the comments have been about my artwork, which of course I appreciate, but nobody has said anything about the drawing board. Heck, no one’s even rated this instructable. Hum… maybe on about drawing would be a good idea. Thanks for the idea. :)


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    There's a tiger hidden in your art teacher's closet? lol - you have to explain that!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    lol that's what we say to the seventh graders to freak em out. It's actually a picture on a chalkboard. but it's amazingly detailed, it's drawn almost van gogh (sp?) style, to make it look more furry. it's amazing


    10 years ago on Step 4

    What a CUTE COCKER SPANIEL!!! I have a 8 month old blonde girl - Angel (and she is my lil devil!!!)

    1 reply

    Reply 10 years ago on Step 4

    I did this for a lady whose dog just died. She cried when she picked it up. I think I have the only job in the world where you try to make your customer cry.