My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond #625: Message Board Options

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Blog entry by Sheila Landry (scrollgirl) posted 02-26-2012 11:54 AM 7300 reads 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 624: We Can Chalk Another One Up! Part 625 of My Journey As A Creative Designer - Woodworking and Beyond series Part 626: Working on Pattern Packets »

I really appreciate the thoughts and comments from yesterday's project. There were a lot of great ideas and it got me thinking in several new directions. I have lots of ideas for other chalkboard projects and I want to develop them, but I am also looking into adapting the patterns for dry erase boards, as several people suggested that.

I haven’t had a lot of experience using dry erase products. While I did purchase a board last year to use when teaching the online Scroll Saw Class that I offered here on, I found that I only used it once or twice and wound up putting it in storage. If I remember correctly though, the surface of the board was quite slick and seemed like plastic.

In my search for creating your own dry erase boards, I found a range of products from paint to film that you stick on to surfaces to full sized boards. I did notice that just about every one of them was a bit costly and in reading reviews on the products, overall they weren’t very positive.

The paint consisted of a two part system that needed to be mixed and then applied in several coats, allowing at least two hours drying time in between. This required some patience and I have found that isn’t a trait that many people possess. There is a lot of room to make mistakes, too and all it would take is one batch not mixed exactly right to have faulty results. In reading the reviews, many people said it simply didn’t work. Several of the reviewers went through the entire process they followed and it appeared (to me at least) that they did everything right. I went to more than one site to read up on it and the general consensus was the same. Besides that – the small kit that I saw available at Home Depot was listed at their site for a cost of $31.89 – which seemed to be a lot of money considering the given results. It was difficult to find a review of someone who was happy with it.

A second option I looked into was using a roll of dry erase material.

While this seemed like it would be a much less labor intensive method and somewhat more successful, I found the material also to be quite pricey. In doing some web searching, I saw that you could purchase it on 50” wide rolls at $19.95 per foot HERE. I also found some other brands at that looked a bit cheaper, but the reviews were still mixed. Overall though, I think that it would be a better choice than the paint and if someone really wanted to make it work, it would be possible to apply this to the surface of the wood before cutting and it would be OK. I don’t know if I would recommend it though without trying it first, and I may pick up some of this covering in the near future and do my own experiments and see how it does before I can recommend it.

There would also be the additional issue of gluing on the bottom chalk tray to the material. Since the material would only be stuck on, you would either have to leave it off of the bottom edge or use some kind of screws or nails, making things more complicated. I would imagine you could get it to work though and I certainly don’t want to close my mind to it and if it is possible. Why not give it a try?

Personally however, I just like the look of the black board better. Perhaps I am old fashioned, but I like the dark silhouette of the board and feel that it looks warmer and is more attractive than the stark white of the dry erase board. I also like the ease of application and low cost of the chalkboard paint. I applied three good coats of it to the cat board, which measures 15” tall by 13” wide and I probably only used an ounce of paint, if that.

I need to be honest though and in my hurry to get the project done, I didn’t sand after the initial coat of paint – something that I think will benefit this project greatly. I find that it is a little difficult to remove all the chalk with the dry eraser. However, by sprinkling a couple of drops of water on the eraser, it is immediately removed completely. So I am considering sanding and coating my own board again today. I didn’t want to do so yesterday, as the label on the paint suggests a 24 hour curing time – another point that I disregarded in my hurry to show this project off. So today I will do a light hand sanding and re-coat the board and then in a couple of days I will let you know what the results are. I suppose my eagerness got the best of me.

DecoArt also offers the chalkboard paint in blue and pink. This could be nice for kids rooms and such. I really wish they made it in white or even other warmer and more contemporary colors. I can think of many applications for different colored boards. I am going to call my representative and see if she knows of any plans of them expanding the color line of the products, as I still think they are the way to go with this project. Besides their ease of use, they are very reasonable at approximately $2 per 2 oz bottle, $3.40 for 4 oz and $6 per 8 oz bottle. You can see them on their site here: DecoArt Chalkboard Paint

I kind of wish that they made a traditional green color too. While I know that there is a green chalkboard paint spray by Krylon, I much prefer the brush on method for application. I think that it is much less messy and easier to have a smooth application, but that is just me.

As you can see, there are all kinds of options available. When I create a design such as this, I like to give people choices so that they can adapt the pattern and design to their own needs and preferences. As far as I am concerned, the more versatile the design the better. I am sure too that I will be receiving many personal stories as to how others made this work for them, and that will be very helpful. It is always a learning process and I always learn a lot from others’ experiences.

As for today, I am going to be writing instructions. I have three patterns to write and I don’t want to get too far behind in things. It was cold and windy yesterday and when we went for our walk, we turned around before we were half way through. The wind off of the ocean was brutal and blowing right at us. It still looks windy today as the sun is rising and it seems like a good day to stay in and get some work done. I don’t mind though. There will be plenty of time for road trips and days at the beach. I like to take each day as it is.

Thank you again for all the nice comments on the little chalk board. I already have ideas for several more and want to get at them soon. I was very encouraged by your positive response and I am happy that such a simple project is received so well.

Have a great Sunday!

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

9 comments so far

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3002 days

#1 posted 02-26-2012 12:11 PM

‘Back to Black’ then, Sheila

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9222 posts in 2886 days

#2 posted 02-26-2012 12:15 PM

I agree, Martyn. The black is (by far) my overall favorite. The white boards look too – clinical in my opinion. I have never really been one to think like the masses though, so the options are here for those who want them. :)

Have a good one! Sheila

-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View HamS's profile


1829 posts in 2355 days

#3 posted 02-26-2012 12:41 PM

Good Morning Sheila,

I am afraid I might have misled you a bit. I think the blackboard is perfect for the cat. I would not even want a white cat board. I was thinking about taking the idea of a cut out board and making it into a white board. It might sound corny, but my idea was musical becasue of our family’s interest: I am a bassist and guitarist and Julie is a violist. She plays Beethoven, I play Willie and Hank so we never compete. I think it would be cool to have note shaped surfaces, for your note so to speak. I don’t know whether anyone makes it, but I wonder if there is dryerase coated masonite or MDF. I immediately thought of cutting the cat out of hardboard when you were talking about sanding it. Is there a scrolling reason not to use masonite or MDF? do your blades have to be sharper to cut it rather than tear it? I am not a scroller so I don’t know how materials behave under your saws. I would expect that a plastic material is more likely to chip than be cut cleanly, but I supose that depends on how brittle the surface is.

It is a LONG way to a saltwater beach for me. When I was in language school I used to go to Asilomar Beach in Monterey, Ca and study. It was peaceful and calming to listen to the waves rolling in. The scenery was breathtaking as well. Now I live in flat, but that has its own beauty as well.


-- Haming it up in the 'bash.

View patron's profile


13600 posts in 3307 days

#4 posted 02-26-2012 12:46 PM

i made a very cheap ‘whiteboard’
out of that 1/8th” masonite sold with the garbage vinyl paneling
in the big box stores

it used to be called ‘thrift board”
and comes with a slick/shiny white surface

it is the stuff you may have seen for kit/bath room ‘sanitary’ walls
in road side cafes and gas stations

i used permanent markers to graph lines to keep track of projects
then wrote information in erasable markers in the spaces
regular erasers or rags erases the temp. marks

the permanent ink can be removed with a damp lacquer thinner rag

the erasable markers come in multy-color packs
which the kids liked to write grafiti with

not the best but for $10 a 4’x8’ sheet
and $5 for the markers
it was a real deal

i did line an old shower with it once
but over the years of water
the surface started to blister

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View BritBoxmaker's profile


4611 posts in 3002 days

#5 posted 02-26-2012 12:57 PM

That ‘whiteboard’ is used a lot in self-assembly kitchen units in the UK. Personally though I think the term ‘self-assembly’ is misleading. I had a self assembly stool once. It just stayed in its packaging. No sign of movement. In the end I had to assemble it!

-- Martyn -- Boxologist, Pattern Juggler and Candyman of the visually challenging.

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9222 posts in 2886 days

#6 posted 02-26-2012 01:03 PM

Ham and David – Both great ideas:

Ham – I did hear from many about the possibility of making these boards white for dry erase purposes (I also post this blog on my Facebook and on my own site) While it isn’t my own personal preference, it doesn’t mean that I didn’t like the idea. In fact, your thoughts of a violin or a musical note are excellent. I can see how LOTS of people would enjoy something like that. I have to get really busy drawing up some new patterns! :)

For both of you – Yes! MDF is a consideration. I have a couple of pieces with the white backing that David is talking about (I think!) I had some dry erase markers that I bought for the class I had here and I stored them away and have to retrieve them to see how they work with the board. The one I have has a slightly textured surface, but it may still work well.

As far as cutting it on the scroll saw – it wouldn’t be a problem at all. I have cut MDF that was 3/4” thick (for my See Creatures Eyeglass Holders) and I found that although it does dull the blade faster, it cuts just like anything else. It would work well for these simple designs and wouldn’t be an issue at all using the right blade. I did find however that it was quite dusty and it was absolutely mandatory to wear a dust mask. Although I always cut in my little apartment with little problem, I don’t like cutting quantities of MDF because the dust is so fine it is much more difficult to keep clean. While once in a while is OK, I wouldn’t want to do it on a regular basis.

And Martyn: I find ‘self-cleaning ovens’ to have the same problem. You watch. You wait. And nothing. :( Very disappointing to say the least!

Thanks, guys!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View grizzman's profile


7836 posts in 3269 days

#7 posted 02-26-2012 01:58 PM

i like to take a stick and write in the dirt…unless a cat comes along a messes it up like a cat box, it does ok, and when i want to erase, i just use my boot, and start all over…of coarse on rainy days that method proves to be problematic…lol… i do keep a white board in the shop…i think you will come up with the best one…you always do…if all fails…ask pancakes…....hey i saw this cat yesterday on tv…he plays the piano…he is a very picky cat…pretty funny…well you have a great day…grizz

-- GRIZZMAN ...[''''']

View Dennisgrosen's profile


10880 posts in 3081 days

#8 posted 02-26-2012 07:30 PM

if you are near an old fridge /freezer that don´t work anymore
then bee ready for a few swetty hours and some DIY work
and you wiill have all the panels you want for whiteboards and they are magnetic too

yah – yah I know you can´t use a scrollsaw on it … lol

the fastet one is to take the door of and you one … 10 sec. of work
and the children can write on it :-)

have a great day yourself


View Joe Lyddon's profile

Joe Lyddon

10048 posts in 4018 days

#9 posted 02-26-2012 08:16 PM

We have a note board that is just smooth white plastic-type material… a Whiteboard!
Might work with a white gloss enamel painted surface (don’t know)

For marking, we use the
Expo 7-Piece Original Dry Erase Organizer Kit%

Wipes off with a dry cloth or tissue…

Is really a COOL way to go…

-- Have Fun! Joe Lyddon - Alta Loma, CA USA - Home: ... My Small Gallery:"

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