How to Create an Awesome Whiteboard Wall

How to Create An Awesome Whiteboard Wall | In 2014, we painted one wall of our library makerspace with whiteboard paint, transforming it into an interactive surface. Learn how you can create your own whiteboard wall in this post.

 

The Story of our Awesome Whiteboard Wall

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)

How to Create an Awesome Whiteboard Wall Printable

If you like being able to print out instructions to reference, I’ve created a printable PDF for you 🙂

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Supplies

Sanding the Wall to prep it

Prepping the Wall

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.

Priming the Wall

Priming the wall

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.

Wet Paint

Painting with Whiteboard Paint

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.

Students at the wall

The Awesomeness of a Whiteboard Wall

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:

Pros:

  • 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

Cons:

  • 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.

Want a nice, printable PDF of all that? CLICK HERE to sign up for my e-mail list and get your free download!

Do you have whiteboards or other interactive spaces in your library?


Diana Rendina, MLIS, is the media specialist at Tampa Preparatory School, an independent 6-12 in Tampa, FL. Previously, she was the media specialist at Stewart Middle Magnet School for seven years, where she founded their library makerspace. She is the creator of the blog RenovatedLearning.com & is also a monthly contributor to AASL Knowledge Quest. Diana is the winner of the 2016 ISTE Outstanding Young Educator Award, the 2015 ISTE Librarians Network Secondary Award, the 2015 AASL Frances Henne Award & the 2015 SLJ Build Something Bold Award. She is an international speaker on the Maker Movement and has presented at conferences including AASL, FETC & ISTE. Diana co-authored Challenge-Based Learning in the School Library Makerspace with Colleen and Aaron Graves and is also the author Reimagining Library Spaces: Transform Your Space on Any Budget.

Comments

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  3. […] projects funding over $5,000 worth of supplies.  We built an Epic LEGO wall and painted a whiteboard wall.  Our after-school STEAM club has connected with Colleen Graves’ students at Lamar Middle […]

  4. […] the beginning of this school year, we created a whiteboard wall in our library as a part of our Makerspace.  Around the same time, we gave our instructional space […]

  5. Did you paint overtop a brick wall??

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