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UPDATE: We’re launching this as a Kickstarter Project on 9/10/12 under a company called Draft.

I love the idea of whiteboards but their aesthetic has much to be desired. When we moved into our new office I didn’t want to wrap our conference room with hideous whiteboard paint. Whitewalls are for doctors offices, I wanted something warmer and inviting that encouraged collaboration. After a bit of searching I found Solutions MB offered a transparent whiteboard “repair” coating with the oh so memorable name of MB4000W. After a few emails with the creator of MB4000W, I felt this product could be my alternative to a whiteboard.

For the “canvas” I wanted a natural wood look. Pine is cheap, it warps and is too soft of a surface. Oak is great, but too expensive. I settled on bamboo flooring for it’s hardness, look and added benefit of being a green product. The tongue and groove flooring provided a nice tight fit to avoid any gaps between the wood panels.
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Once the flooring was glued to a backplate for hanging I sanded down the flooring and applied polyurethane to seal the surface. After 48 hours I applied the MB4000W using a ultra-smooth paint roller. I recommend pouring the MB4000W directly on the surface while using the roller to thin it. Be careful not to roll it too thin. Keep it thick and as line-free as possible.
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The boards are safe to touch after a few hours, but you really want to give them 5 days or more to fully cure before use. I still want to experiment with some of the other products on the market, including the new clear IdeaPaint.

I received a few comments about the boards being hard to erase. That really just depends on the applicator you use. As I said, the roller works best. I’m working with a few people on productizing this concept and I’ll have updates on my Twitter feed at @gmorris. Here is an example of how it works. You be the judge.

  • TIm

    Love the look and am interested in making something similar – how far did the MB4000W go? Was the 16 oz bottle good for one or two of your boards?

  • George

    Hey Tim – I found an 8oz bottle will cover 1 board.

  • Ef Rodriguez

    That is fresh.

  • Kathy Sierra

    Please oh please someone make these and sell them. I want only these in my home/office, but have so far proven myself unfit for any DIY project that involves non-virtual materials.

    What a wonderful idea. Thank-you.

  • Ryan

    This is a wonderful idea.

  • John

    Really like this idea. I, too, hate the typical whiteboard look. Our office has some decorative frosted glass panels that look great and can turn into an erasable surface for whiteboard markers. Maybe another alternative.

  • platzhirsch

    How long have you been using this bamboo board? I heard that the erasing does not work so good after a while, what ever that means.

  • Vonskippy

    People still use whiteboards?

    How quaint.

  • Laura Faulkner

    Cool idea, and well-managed execution! I like whiteboard alternatives as well, so this is what I do: paint walls whatever color works with decor; then buy desktop or tabletop glass from a thrift store (cheap, cheap). I mount it on the walls with mirror hangers, which are a couple of dollars at the hardware store.
    Your bamboo flooring solution is quite elegant!

  • Jared

    Oh man, thank you for sharing this. I’ve been contemplating buying a large sized whiteboard, but they are so expensive and you get locked into certain sizes. This is perfect. I can create whatever I want and it will match the wooden aesthetic of my office so much better. This is great. Thanks again.

  • George

    platzhirsch – We’ve been using them for a few weeks. So far so good but as time goes I’ll post updates on the quality of the materials

  • Michael Hall

    very cool idea, i like the comment about using glass overlaid on whatever backdrop as well, this is really cool as i really need a white
    board myself, and don’t really want to shell out the large cost.

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