You know how I said recently that my ideal organizer would be someone following me around with a gigantic whiteboard? Sadly, that still seems impractical, but I’m enjoying the next best thing: a giant 4 foot by 8 foot whiteboard I made for my home.
This year I’ve been paying more attention to the way my physical world affects me: my mood, my work, my productivity. And since I started paying attention, I’ve realized that my physical world affects me a lot more than I’d realized! (I’ve been amazed at how much more peaceful my home feels since I started applying the Pinterest rule of decorating.)
I’ve had my eye on raingutter bookshelves and giant whiteboards for a couple of years, because I thought both things would be fun to have around. But I finally realized that they wouldn’t just be fun; given my working style, they’d also be great productivity tools. And I did some research and found both projects could be pulled off for $150. So it was time to get started!
I first read about raingutter bookshelves in The Read-Aloud Handbook, and loved the concept: display books with their covers facing out, and kids (and grown-ups, too) will be more interested in reading because they can see the book covers. Plastic gutter material is a very cost-efficient way to build lots and lots of bookshelves, like these ones:
I used this tutorial from Denise in Bloom for the nitty-gritty details, and the total cost was about $125 (for 3 14-foot long shelves; it would have been half that if we’d done shorter shelves).
The whiteboards were more challenging, because whiteboards are really expensive–unless you make your own! But I couldn’t find any tutorials that didn’t destroy your walls in the process of hanging it. The directions at Cool Tools gave me hope that it could be done, and my husband came up with an ingenious way to hang it. Here’s what we did:
Here’s what you need to make your own giant whiteboard in about an hour:
- 4 x 8 sheet of melamine tile wall panel (available pre-cut at our local Home Depot for $12. This product is also known as “showerboard” or “tileboard.”)
- 4 x 8 sheet of 1/4 plywood or OSB (4×8 pieces pre-cut plywood cost $20; 4×8 pre-cut pieces of OSB cost $6, so we went with OSB)
- 1 tube of Liquid Nails adhesive
- 1 1 x 4, 6 feet long, $3
- hardware (see below)
First, make your whiteboard:
- Cut the 1 x 4 lengthwise at a 45-degree angle with a table or circular saw. (Our local Home Depot can do this for you–you may want to call ahead and ask if your store can, too.)
- Attach the short face of your cut 1 x 4 to the back of the OSB board with 4-6 1 1/4in drywall screws. (place 1 x 4 6in below the top side of the OSB as measured to the bottom of the short face and be sure it’s level)
- Use Liquid Nails to attach the melamine tile wall panel to the OSB/plywood backing according to package directions. Weigh it down with something heavy (we used our set of encyclopedias, plus our yearbook collection) and let it sit for at least a few hours.
Next, hang it up:
- Attach the other half of the 1 x 4 to the wall approximately 6 inches below desired height (as measured from the top of the long face of 1 x 4, and again, be sure it’s level), using a combination of toggle bolts and 2″ or larger drywall/deck screws. (The board is heavy and you want to be sure it has adequate support.)
- Hang when dry by carefully lining up the angles of the 1x4s and dropping the whiteboard down into the holder you’ve attached to the wall.
- Make sure your board is secure, especially if kids will be using it! (Our large piece of OSB is extremely heavy, and it’s not going anywhere. But if I was concerned about it’s moving I would take the additional step of securing it directly to the wall.)
I love how this method does very little damage to the wall–it only leaves a few more holes than hanging a picture does. And I still can’t believe it only cost $26!
We’ve used Expo dry erase markers on our board, and they wipe off cleanly (with an old, clean sock)–except for the green. The green leaves faint tracks, which I’ve been removing with baby wipes and a hint of rubbing alcohol. We also tried the washable dry erase markers, which I do not recommend because they do not erase cleanly.
I love my new space! I did these projects about 6 weeks ago and I’ve been amazed at the difference the changes to my physical space have made to the rest of my life. It was worth every penny.