Discreet Cosine Transform

A few thoughts on ruby, video and other things

Creating a 21’ by 9’ Whiteboard

We recently undertook converting one entire wall at the office into whiteboard, using Idea Paint, a paint that goes in one coat and can be written on and erased like a whiteboard.

After an initial test of the Idea Paint system on a smaller area, the biggest challenge we faced was that the wall was covered with wallpaper.  We were faced with a few options: remove the wallpaper, try to sand it down to smooth, or spackle it then sand it down to smooth.  Initially we tested spackling over the rough paper and sanding the combined surface to smooth.  

Luckily, we discovered that the paper was old enough that it pulled right now, and the glue residue underneath was easily sanded off.  This discovery definitely saved us a lot of time.  

Once past our wallpaper problem, we were ready.  We curtained off the area, which turned out to be a good idea with all the sanding we did to remove the glue residue.  

Once the primer was on, we sanded again.  The actual whiteboard paint has to be put up in small batches - they recommend a maximum of 2 kits at once, and each kit covers 50 square feet. I fount it easier to do one kit at once, which split the 21 foot wall up into 5 steps.

The paint has to be mixed, and once mixed you have 1 hour to apply it.  What I learned after the first two batches is that when first mixed, the paint is very watery.  If you wait 10 minutes into your 60 minute limit, the stuff has already started to congeal and is much easier to apply thickly to the wall.  Once I knew that little trick, it was easier to get the paint on in pretty even thickness on the wall.

Also, a word of warning, just throw out everything that has been used with the whiteboard paint - brushes, rollers, etc.  Don’t try to clean anything as you would with latex paint.  The stuff dries to a solid, almost plastic.  Best to just use disposable stuff and toss it all out.

For our first time using the material, we definitely learned a few things we would have done different if we did it again:

  • Do a second coat of primer.  Nothing will paint over the whiteboard paint once applied, so you can’t do two coats (not to mention how hard it is to apply in the first place), so get your target to dead white with primer first.
  • While it would have been a much harder process, purchasing and using their variant of the paint that can be applied with a sprayer would have resulted in a smother surface - the roller itself creates a texture on the wall no matter how smoother you have the wall underneath beforehand. 

Despite the lessons learned, I am very happy with how the wall came out and its starting to see heavy usage as a giant whiteboard.  All in all, the project was not that hard.  Depending on what surface you have available, you could easily create pretty giant whiteboard spaces in your work space.