Homemade Whiteboard




I thought that I would finally bit the bullet and make a whiteboard. I made a bunch of them in college for my fraternity, so that we could do our engineering homework. But all of those were frameless and 4' x 8'.

In my current house, I don't have that kind of free wall space, so I need it a bit smaller.

Not being one to waste materials. Out of one 4' x 8' sheet of melamine coated hardboard I can get three 32" x 48" whiteboards. So lets get to work.

Teacher Notes

Teachers! Did you use this instructable in your classroom?
Add a Teacher Note to share how you incorporated it into your lesson.

Step 1: Gather Tools and Materials

What you'll need is the following materials:

qty description price
3___1"x4"x8' standard pine board_____~$1.54 each
1___4'x8' sheet of tileboard (melamine finished hardboard)____~$9.93
24___1.25" long course pocket screws
1___bottle of wood glue
picture hanging hardware

rubber mallet
speed square
Measuring tape
hand saw
power miter saw
table saw
Sandpaper or an Random Orbit Sander
Pocket Screw jig
12" Quick Grip Clamp
2-5' pipe clamps

Step 2: Start the Cutting

First cut up the tileboard to size, you can either use a tablesaw, handsaw, or a circular saw. I ended up using a circular saw, since cutting it on the tablesaw would be unruly for me. Plus it was raining, so I needed to do it quick. Basically cut every 32 inches on the long side of the panel, so that you'll end up with three panels that are 32"x48".

Next is time to cut up the frame material. The first cut is to rough length, so crosscut the 8' board into a 3' piece and a 5' piece. The second cut is to rip the two pieces in half, so that you have all four pieces of the frame. Since the 1"x4" is really 3/4"x3 1/2", when you rip it in half it won't be 1 3/4" but more like 1 5/8, or maybe even smaller. It really depends on the kerf of the rip blade you are using, more then likely it will be 1/8". So make sure to adjust your measurements.

TIP: Cut all the pieces before resetting the fence.

Step 3: Grooves

This is where the table saw does the heavy lifting, in cutting the groove in the frame pieces. In setting up the table saw for this cut, it helps to have a 1/4" drill bit for setting the blade height and fence. You want the height of the blade to be just a little bit over 1/4", just to compensate for any waviness in cutting the tileboard to size. While for the fence, try to set the fence as close to a 1/4" from the right side of the blade to the fence. My thinking behind setting the fence a 1/4" is that I only want a small reveal on the front side, while trying to keep it as professional looking as possible.

The kerf on my rip blade is a 1/8" and the tileboard is 1/8" so it should be a nice and snug fit.

After cutting all the groves in the frame members. Sand them all down, and try to knock down all the corners slightly. Just to prevent splinters.

Step 4: Mark to Length

This is where you're not going to like me, in that I'm not going to give you lengths for the frame pieces. Because you can do the frame two different ways, you can have the short pieces inside the long ones(which is what I did), or the long pieces inside the short pieces. Also if there is one thing that I have learned doing trim work, that is don't measure, but mark the piece that needs to be trimmed instead. Because the numbers will always trick you.

So here is how I did it.
1) Take a pieces of sand paper and sand all the edges of the tileboard, because the fit is very tight. And the frame piece will bind if you don't sand the tileboard. The tileboard should have the writing surface up.
2)Slide the two short pieces on each end, fat side of the grove down.
3)Take one of the long pieces and trim the end square.
4)Slide the long piece onto the tileboard and square it up in one corner.
5)At the other end of the long piece, mark for length on the outside of the frame.
6)repeat for the other long piece.
7)Now take the two scrap pieces and slide one into the normal frame position. And slide the other scrap piece to butt against the overhanging short frame.
8) Now mark the short frame on the inside. Cut to length and repeat on the other short piece.

Step 5: Pocket Screws

Now with the short frame pieces only.
On the fat side of the groove, drill out two pocket screw slots on each end of the piece.

Step 6: Glue and Screw

This is when you are going to need the pipe clamps to hold this mess together. Flip the tileboard over and slide on the long side frame pieces, fat side up. Take one of the short frame and apply glue on each end, and slide it on, fat side up. Then square up the corner, and put a pipe clamp on that end. Repeat on the other end. You may need to use a rubber mallet to make sure everything is even. When you are happy, drive home the pocket screws. Leave the whole thing in the clamps for at least an hour to drive.

Step 7: Hanging Hardware

I already had some hardware from a previous project. The brackets have spikes built in, but I added three 1/2" brads into each bracket just in case. For the wire I used 25lb steel picture wire. Now we can hang up this beauty.

Step 8: Enjoy

Now get to writing!

Be the First to Share


    • Book Character Costume Challenge

      Book Character Costume Challenge
    • Made with Math Contest

      Made with Math Contest
    • Cardboard Speed Challenge

      Cardboard Speed Challenge

    89 Discussions

    Himanshu sam

    Question 1 year ago on Step 8

    What is white sheet??
    Is that white sheet is sunmica?????


    4 years ago

    Cool but what if we don't have the white stuff you write on and don't want to go and buy some?

    1 reply

    Reply 3 years ago

    I guess you can use a tileboard, as they've mentioned in the requirements.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you very much! I was about to buy a 48"x36" whiteboard for $40 and was disappointed with the dimensions and the price until I stumbled upon your instructable. One trip to Home Depot and I walked away with a 97"x48" "whiteboard" for $14. Who needs a frame! :-)


    9 years ago on Introduction

    im too lazy too get bthat stuff from the hardware store and i dont haveeee moneyyyyyy, partly cuz im only 15 and get money from my parents. SO i just got the plastic cover (the one you put into your binders) and got a white piece of paper and slipped it inside. WAAA LAAA!


    nice idea, but I built one that works even better. find a suitable size sheet of glass and sandwich a sheet of white paper between the glass and a sheet of plywood or such at the back to give the glass a bit of strength and to hold the paper flush to the glass. just make sure u don't glue the paper to the glass it doesn't look too good.

    2 replies

    Alternatively, for a distinctly modern look, simply mount glass (or plexiglass) flush to a white wall. I suspect a thicker plexiglass with no frame would look the best, but to avoid the gap between the writing and the white background being disturbing it would probably be best to stick with a thinner plexi, say 1/8". Just bung it up on a white wall and you're good to go!


    Most glass shops have old shop doors that they normally have to pay to dump. If you ask real nice, they will give you one. They have nice aluminum frames and a key holder built in. Of course you will have to scrape off the credit card stickers. My shop used to be located next to a glass company and they would give them to people all the time. They make interesting coffee tables with plumbing pipe legs. They make great room dividers that open up the room. They make great replacements for interior home doors, where privacy is not needed. They make great art over the sofa when you put twinkle holiday lights behind them in a random pattern. One mounted in a garage door can bring in a lot of light to a garage workshop during bad weather.


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Nice job on the instructable. When I wanted dry erase capabilities at my new place I opted for static cling sheets. One idea to pass on, when I was considering the melamine board idea, I also was going to add a metal backing to let me use magnets on it as well. Now that is posh.

    5 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Glue felt to the back of your magnet. I have thot about doing this - metal - but not sure what gauge it will take.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    ...which gives me an idea -- put strong magnets inside your whiteboard eraser. It'd be a handy way to mount it, and if nothing else could be a fun gag -- "Let me just erase this here.... whoop, hmm... the eraser seems to stick to the board"


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    You could probably just use 22ga. sheet steel or galvanized HVAC ducting sheet metal. I just tried the HVAC sheet metal, and none of the magnets that I have are strong enough to pull through the 1/8" hardboard.


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks. I actually thought of a steel backing as well, while I was making it. My only concern was finding strong enough magnets that wouldn't scratch the writing surface. I guess that could be a mod for later down the road.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Don't you think it would be cheaper to buy one?


    11 years ago on Introduction

    I use dry and wet erase right on my fridge at home, stainless, but regular fridges work too. My gf makes a sharpie calendar on hers, fills in the info with dry erase. The sharpie comes off with stainless steel cleaner of soft scrub....but I put contact paper over my stainless fridge :-) Wokrs great!

    2 replies

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    you can also remove sharpie from things like a fridge or whiteboard just by scribbling over it in a dry erase marker and then erasing it with a cloth or dry eraser.

    Bill Hoodkaboogie

    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    I rushed to the fridge with markers in hand. It works! It works! Thank you! Thank you! What a wonderful idea that I can't believe I had not thought of before!

    Great to see homemade whiteboards, and especially the fridge idea - marvellous. NOW, can anyone tell me how to create ink for refilling a marker pen. I already refill my computer printer cartridges with ink from 60ml or larger bottles of bought ink. That works in a marker, but is a bit greasy. I'll try diluting it with alcohol maybe in the weekend. But has anyone succeeded in creating a really good dry-erase ink from simple, very cheap off-the-shelf commodities? Thanks, Bruce Thomson