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Black Dry Erase Board Solution

I may have come up with a solution to my black dry-erase board dilemma. I bought two 18" x 24" pieces of clear plexiglass today (two in case I mess one up). I found some 8/32" two-way screws, which is the right size for standard cabinet door pulls.

So, I'll put the screws 16" apart in the studs (through the drywall), drill small holes in the four corners of the plexiglass, and secure it to the wall with the cabinet pulls. When I want to remove it, I can unscrew the pulls and slide the plexiglass off.

I used some bright dry-erase boards on the plexiglass just now and it came off easily. I think it should work, even if I let the marker ink sit on the plexiglass for awhile (hours, days). I've already picked out a reasonable location for the plexiglass.

If this fails to work, well, I'm not sure what I'm likely to do. I went this route because to start because I can test it out without using most of the pieces. If it doesn't work, I'll just return 'em.

To "decorate" the edges of the plexiglass (and to cover up the sharp edges) I could even put a little wood frame, metal frame, or some other frame (even as lame as a strip of black electrical tape). Or some of that plastic they use to put around really cheap posters frames…

If you have any thoughts on this, by all means, share. I spent an hour pacing around Home Depot and Lowes today trying to figure out how to mount a piece of plexiglass to the wall in a way that would let me remove it pretty easily, and this is what I've come up with.

P.S. I may return this plexiglass and get some ¼" stuff. I think this is probably half that.

10 Responses to "Black Dry Erase Board Solution"

  1. Initial testing indicates that I may need to put some backing (black contact paper, perhaps?) on the back of the plexiglass or between the two pieces of plexiglass. And that may not work, either.

    Tough to say what may or may not fail. It could be the color of the markers won't be bright enough, the lighting too poor, who knows?

  2. A couple of thoughts:

    1) Have you thought of just using a picture frame? Put a big black piece of construction paper behind one of those frames from AC Moore? Additionally, you could have a nice glass surface instead of plexiglass. (Plexiglass is hard to clean, where glass isn't. Do not put windex on plexiglass.)

    2) You want a frame regardless of the solution. Dry erase = dust = ruin your paint around the board. A frame will help mitigate this risk.

    3) I also think the cabinet pull ideas (although a clever solution) will look silly. This is your home that someday you will have to resell. When people see this nice addition with the "hack" hangjob, they will wonder if other "handy-man" fixes were applied throughout the house.

    If it were mine, I would buy some glass, put black construction paper and cardboard behind it (or if really large, plywood), build a frame from some 2$ Lowes moulding, and sink screws through the frame. Patch the holes if you don't like the look.

    (I would also build one large enough so your daughter or future kids can draw on it... 18x24 is too small for that.)

  3. Glass is heavier and easier to break than plexiglass.Fair point, but the wife has nixed the idea anyway.It's not a hack job, and it's easy as heck to spackle over tiny 8/32" holes in the wall. And we're not re-selling for 20 years or more.

    Additionally, your plan to sink screws through the frame eliminates one of the required features: removability so that I can use it elsewhere in the room. And 18" x 24" is pretty big.

    As I said in counter-point #2, this has all become a moot point as the wife has nixed the entire idea.

  4. I'm going off my failing memory here, but I seem to recall that those black dry-erase boards you see in restaurants are typically frontlit or something. There's usually a thin fluorescent tube running along the length of the top of the "board", with a shade all around it except at the bottom so that the light illuminates the writing on the "board" but doesn't blind people trying to read it. But like I said, this might not be always true.

  5. I think you might be right in most cases.

  6. You might already know this, but if you have any trouble getting the marker to come off the glass, just use a little acetone (nail-polish remover) and it should come right off.

  7. When drilling a hole in the plexiglass it is easy to crack/splinter the glass.To avoid this i recommend: before drilling put some maskingtape (top and bottom) on the plexiglass, then mark the spot.
    Removing marker with acetone will make the plexiglass go white (like sandblasted) instead of clear/clean.

  8. Acetone is only good for glass, yes. As I said above, the whole idea is nixed now, but I remain confident it would have worked.

  9. Thanks for the comments...the materials went back to Lowe's yesterday! Yay!

  10. er...dont use acetone on plastics, it eats through it. Not sure how it would be on plexiglass