Dry erase boards for the 21st century

When my brother and I were teenagers, my parents had a dry erase board hanging next to the door we used as our main entry point to the house. All of us, parents included, were to write where we were going and what time we expected to return on the board as we left the house. We didn’t have cell phones and we didn’t get an answering machine until my senior year of high school, so this dry erase board was our way of keeping track of everyone.

If we changed our plans, we either had to first come by the house and write it on the board or call and hopefully reach someone at home to change the information on the board for us. We also kept appointment reminders (Dentist Tues. 2:00) and notes to ourselves (Don’t forget Kara’s math notes!) to help with the flow of life in the house.

Now, in my own home, I find that there are times when I still wish I had a dry erase board next to my door — even with cell phones, voice mail and the like. I’ll write messages on Post-It notes and stick them to the door as reminders for things I shouldn’t forget (Bank!). The Post-It people must have been listening because it has come to my attention that I can have a giant dry erase board next to my door without having an unsightly dry erase board hanging there.

I can now buy dry erase whiteboard film! It is like self-adhesive, dry erase wallpaper except it’s removable! It is rather expensive but I don’t have to worry about drilling holes in my walls and it can be cut to fit the exact space I want.

In my situation, I think it would be great for by our door, but it could be used in kids’ rooms, offices, classrooms, kitchens, and conference rooms. As an organizational tool, I think this is a wonderful idea.


This post has been updated since its original publication in 2008.

25 Comments for “Dry erase boards for the 21st century”

  1. posted by MishMish on

    I have thought about doing this was chalkboard paint just b/c I think kids have more fun with chalkboards. My plan was to buy a big empty frame and paint an area on the wall the same size and just hang the frame on top to make a nice border!

  2. posted by Erin Doland on

    @MishMish — I like the idea of a chalkboard, too, but I’m allergic to chalk dust.

  3. posted by jackie on

    I loved it until I saw you have to erase after 24 hours. Most of my whiteboard stuff stays up for a week or more.

  4. posted by jen on

    Neat idea! I bought a dry erase board to stick on the side of my refrigerator, which is adjacent to the door to the kitchen. First the magnets weren’t strong enough to hold it there, and then after I added more magnets, the board warped somehow and now it won’t stick to the fridge for that reason. Then it hit me (duh!) – the whole fridge is a dry erase board! We just write directly on it with the markers. The surface is textured so it takes a little scrubbing to get it clean, but we still find it handy for those quick don’t-forget-to-blah-blah-blah notes.

  5. posted by bryan on

    you can make your own from showerboard for a lot cheaper.

  6. posted by Jenika on

    “but a dry erase board the size of your wall would certainly cost more than a hundred bucks.”

    False data. I’ve got a four foot by eight foot dry erase board covering an entire wall of my office, and it cost less than $20. Home Depot; Tile Board. It’s not -exactly- dry erase material, but the only significant difference is that it takes a tiny bit of wd-40 to erase cleanly. Otherwise, it’s perfect.

  7. posted by Rebecca on

    RusOleum has a cheaper option, but it’s white:

  8. posted by Michele on

    I’d be afraid of having to deal with marks that accidentally stay unerased after 24 hours. On a regular whiteboard, you can just use alcohol. Do you have to prime and repaint this stuff after too many marks have accumulated? I think I’d rather use a corkboard, or even a sheet of acrylic as shown on the elephantstaircase.com page.

    If you do end up using this, I’d love to see an update.

  9. posted by AmericnJewl on

    You can also use dry erase markers on a mirror (which many people have near the entrance to their homes). I am not sure, however, of the long term effects, but since it’s glass I doubt it would absorb enough to stain.

  10. posted by Jul on

    I love the idea of this stuff. How fun it would be to paint my studio walls with it…

  11. posted by fourthmonth on

    I use my bathroom mirror. I have my grocery list and things to do there. If I need to leave a note for the boyfriend, I put it there, because, hey everyone uses the bathroom.

  12. posted by lxmorj on

    Best bet, is to put glass or even plexiglass (slightly more likely to stain) in front of white colored (or other, your choice) paint.

  13. posted by Joyful Abode on

    I ditto the tile board thing. My husband has a giant 3 foot by 4 foot piece of it on our office wall. He uses it to study for his flights (he’s a Student Naval Aviator) and it cleans perfectly with Windex when it starts to look grungy.
    The price tag? $6.

  14. posted by Joyful Abode on

    Also, if you want an inexpensive “frame” for your tileboard white board… get some molding from the hardware store, paint it, miter the corners, and slap it up.

  15. posted by Angeli on

    I replaced my unsightly and quickly stained wipe-off calendar posters with clear glossy contact paper. The low-tack was perfect for my painted front door. It never stained, but would be cheap enough to replace if it did. When I moved into a new apartment, it was easy to remove. You can either stick it up as-is, or cut shapes to vary the texture of your walls (i.e. matte walls vs. glossy circles).

  16. posted by Gumnos (Tim Chase) on


    Just be careful if using the fridge as a whiteboard…don’t use “whiteboard cleaner” to remove it but stick to water. Let’s just say this comes from personal experience. I discovered that the side of a tall file-cabinet in my office could serve quite well as a white-board. In a fit of impatience when a stubborn mark refused to come off without a little elbow-grease, I reached for a bottle of whiteboard-cleaner only to have it remove the coloration from the side.

  17. posted by Kris on

    I got a very large, used chalkboard from goodwill for $2, stuck it on my wall, and everything we need is on it. Yes, this wouldn’t work if you’re allergic. But it works for us and the $2 price tag can’t be beat.

    In the last house we lived in, I used chalkboard paint on the cabinet doors. We left notes for each other all over the cabinets and cleaned them up afterwards. It was a lot of fun and the cabinets looked very cool.

  18. posted by Robin Sampson on

    I keep dry erase boards on my fridge for graocry list, Honey Do list and leftover dates.

    I added you to my Feevy Blogroll at http://www.heartofwisdom.com/heartathome/

    The first portion of yourpost appears on my blog daily.

  19. posted by mcglinch on

    we used chalkboard paint on our powder room walls below a chair rail. that way when we have guests over they can leave a note, drawing, graffiti while they are having some ‘quiet’ time away from the dinner/party action.

  20. posted by ckr on

    i made my own clear one similar to the one shown on the DIY posting. very cool and cost effective! i used plexiglass for a small wall and “lexan” for the wide wall. the lexan was way better to use. it’s a clear acrylic about 1/2 the width of plexiglass and more shatterproof; it was a little more expensive than plexiglass, but weighs less, didn’t shatter during drilling, and had a nicer glass-like finish than plexiglass.

    this type of board works best when mounted on smoother walls. where my wall had a lot of bumps from texture, were is a few millimeters between the wall and board; this created a little bit of a shadow from the writing on the board and the shadow of the letters onto the wall. so, the closer you can mount the board to the surface of the wall the better.

  21. posted by dancing monkey on

    Consumer Reports describes a fridge with dry-erase technology: http://blogs.consumerreports.o.....a-jot.html

  22. posted by Viv on

    I was able to salvage an old window frame with glass, painted the wood the a color to match the room and use dry erase markers to write on it. It’s a great repurpose, the dry erase markers leave no stains, and it’s almost like art.

  23. posted by iguanagrr1 on

    The glass/mirror alternative is a good one, and shouldn’t have staining issues if you clean regularly (first of month/end of month, whatever works…) and use a decent quality dry erase pen and cleaner…but I wanted to throw out a material in case your walls are not in the greatest of shape: Dry Erase Wall Covering…it’s a little more labor intensive to put in (wall papering vs painting) and can come in widths up tp 48″ most often (usually used in commercial applications), but sometimes slightly wider if you still want a seamless look like paint.

  24. posted by John Meyer on

    I have a wall with Markee Dry Erase coated. We left the writing on for several days, and I can’t figure out how to get the stuff off? Any suggestions?

    Thank you.

  25. posted by Vicki on

    I just purchased the Rustoleum dry erase paint and chalkboard paint….we painted on a huge BUTTERFLY and a FLOWER and filled them in with dry erase, it only took a bit of the paint but it doesn’t stay good for more than 2 hours so any touch ups will cost another can.
    THE CHALKBOARD paint we got it tinted blue and another green….I did the top blue and the bottom green just putting simple waves to connect them then framed it out with door trim, it looks like a HUGE bay window and it is AWESOME! Good Luck and have fun!

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