DIY: Custom Dry Erase Board

So the idea from this came around because of my second gig. I’m also a novelist, and it’s rather important for me to be able to visualize goals and deadlines. My office is highly personalized. In case you’ve missed some of the progress updates on my office, here’s the painting edition and the wallpaper experience.

I’m not sure where I got this idea. It probably came about because of my attempt to make the frames for Lego Man’s artwork. I also have a friend who has a glass dry erase board her husband bought her. It stood to reason I could create my own. Right? I mean, how hard can it be?

I’m pretty proud of the result.

Dry Erase Board 01bFor this project you will need:

  • A picture frame
  • Paint for the frame
  • Hot glue gun & glue sticks
  • Paint for the glass
  • Paint brush
  • Drop cloth

I did some thrift store shopping looking for a frame. I wanted something big, gold and gaudy. I traded off the exceptionally gaudy for a frame of the size that made the most sense for my space. For a couple of bucks I got this little gem at my local Goodwill.

Step One

First thing to do was take the cardboard backing and print out of the frame. I gave the glass and frame a good scrubbing. It had a thick layer of dust and grime on it. I set the glass aside and worked with the frame first.

Dry Erase Board 02b

Dry Erase Board 04bStep Two

I wanted my frame to have a bit more bling to it, so I got a can of super shiny gold spray paint and went after the frame. I did about three coats of paint before I was satisfied with the increased bling.

In hindsight, I could have added to the gaudy factor by gluing on some decorative pieces onto the frame to make a pattern around the frame and give it some more embellishment. Maybe next time, right?

The picture doesn’t really do the shine justice. I promise it’s a lot blingier than the picture makes it seem.

Dry Erase Board 03b

Dry Erase Board 05bStep Three

Now it’s time to prepare the glass for the gluing. I chose to put the cardboard on the front side of the glass because my counters made seeing the glass difficult. That, and if I spilled some glue, no big deal. Cardboard caught it!

I chose to use hot glue on the glass for a few reasons. I didn’t want the glass to move and shift as I wrote on it. But I also wanted to seal the glass so that when I painted the backside of it, there wouldn’t be any risk of the paint leaking through the frame. It took a couple small sticks of hot glue to do the whole perimeter.

Dry Erase Board 06b

 Dry Erase Board 07bStep Four

Now the fun part. Painting! I chose an orchid pink color. I started out with a thin coat to just cover the glass, but it quickly escalated. I found that the thin layer left a lot of streaks which could easily be seen when I lifted up the glass to see the results. I chose to use a small rolling brush, like what you might get in a touch-up kit at any home improvement store. ((Basically, I’ve bought so many of them lately I can’t remember where I got the one I used for this project.))

Dry Erase Board 08bI poured the paint on pretty thick to avoid streaks and to get a nice, solid coat. It really did feel like I was being pretty excessive as I was pouring the paint on. However, when I really thought about it, the thickness made sense. I wanted to avoid anything that looked like brush strokes or streaks. You could maybe achieve the same results by applying thin layers–but I’m impatient. I wanted one application and to be done.

Every so often during my painting–or really, spreading–process I’d pick it up and look at it from the front to make sure there weren’t any streaks or leaks. I found having a bright light above where I was working helped me see the weak spots in my painting.

Dry Erase Board 09b

Dry Erase Board Finished ProductStep Five

Hang and enjoy your new dry erase board!!

If you’re a writer with a very structured plotting method, or maybe you want to track certain projects through production, you could create lines on the backside of the glass for a customized workplace. For my writing schedule I just draw a line through the middle. The top half is everything I need to write or edit, while the bottom half is my projected release schedule for the next year. So far I’m loving this handy visual tool. It means there are less scraps of paper to keep track of!

Sidney Sig

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