This past week, our library and Makerspace got one more step awesome with the addition of our whiteboard wall. This was a project that I had dreamed of doing for awhile, and I finally took the plunge about a month back and created a DonorsChoose project to get whiteboard paint and lots of dry erase markers. I had originally planned to go with IdeaPaint, but the vendor (Blick) was out at the time my project was funded, so I ended up going with WhiteyBoard instead (through Quill). I’ve read mixed reviews on both. Eventually I’d like to try out IdeaPaint to compare the two, but for now, this is what we have. Check out this video to see it all coming together:
(Video was made with an iPod touch, Stop Motion Studio and iMovie)
Here’s the supplies we needed:
- Painter’s tape
- High density foam roller
- 1-Part White Dry Erase Paint (enough for 50 square feet)
The first step is to mark off the section of wall you will be painting with painter’s tape. You can only do up to 50 square feet at a time, so I created this wall plus a mini wall. I used chevron frog tape for the top of the wall to give it a zig zag pattern. Once everything is marked off, sand down the wall really well. You want an ultra-smooth surface to paint on, as this will make it easier to write on with markers later.
If your wall isn’t already white, you’ll want to prime it (unless you’re using clear or black whiteboard paint). I probably should have primed it twice, but once was still sufficient.
After the primer dries, you can paint on the whiteboard paint. Here’s where you have to make sure that you follow directions carefully, as each brand and type varies. It usually consists of mixing two different containers together to make the paint. You have to mix for a set amount of time, and then you have an hour to paint everything before your paint starts to get too thick. I used a high density foam roller, which helped to create a really smooth surface. The hardest part comes next – waiting three to seven days for the paint to cure (this brand was three, other brands can be up to seven). I painted it over a holiday weekend so that it wouldn’t be as difficult on my impatient students.
Once it was all cured up, I put the markers out and let the students loose. It got a little crazy the first couple of days, but it’s calmed down a bit now. It’s mostly students writing their names or making doodles. One thing I quickly noticed is that generic whiteboard markers don’t erase well, so I’m only keeping Expo markers out. Also, red markers are a lot harder to clean than other colors. I plan on using it to create pop-up surveys (ie – write the title of your favorite book) and create art contests (ie – draw a rocket ship). It’s been a lot of fun.
Here’s the pros and cons of creating a whiteboard wall this way:
- Cheaper than mounting an actual whiteboard
- The novelty of writing on the wall draws students in, lets them feel free to draw whatever
- Immediately inviting and interactive
- Cheap markers don’t erase well
- Markers are ghosting a lot (leaving traces even after being cleaned)
- Doesn’t dry erase well – you have to use a board cleaner to get everything off
Our whiteboard wall may not be perfect, but my students certainly love it. I might consider eventually trying a different brand of whiteboard paint or a more permanent whiteboard, but for now, it’s pretty awesome.
Do you have whiteboards or other interactive spaces in your library?