DIY Dry Erase Tabletop Turns Any Table Into A Polished Whiteboard

If you've been frustrated with DIY stick-on whiteboard material and whiteboard paint, you'll definitely want to check out how one Lifehacker reader turned his coffee table into a brain storming station complete with expansive whiteboard surface and fancy trim.

Reader PacmanGhost put a lot of effort into refinishing his coffee table — sanding, putty filling, more sanding, painting with whiteboard paint — but the results were extremely disappointing. PacmanGhost was inspired by the DIY whiteboard workbench surfaces at Atlanta's hackerspace Freeside and opted to use panel board to create a perfectly smooth and shiny whiteboard table. Check out the gallery below to see the process and his build notes.

My first attempt at the dry erase coffee table left me more than a little disappointed. I totally refinished the top of my old coffee table using wood putty (as surface leveler) and dry erase paint. It took days and elbow grease, this is what was left.

The dry erase paint on prototype one held up quite well but four months of regular use as both doodle pad and primary eating surface and it was all over.

I had seen dry erase surfaces made from panel board on a visit to Freeside Atlanta and was convinced this was the way to go. I picked up some metal flooring trim to hide the rough edges of the cut panel and simple squeeze tube caulk to keep the panel from rattling around.

I tacked the panel in place with the caulk and trimmed the metal to fit the perimeter with the tin snips. CAUTION: the edges are sharp once cut and bits tend to fly when trimming; safety glasses and care are recommended. Sand paper was used to deburr the sharp edges so no one cuts their shins open.

The finished surface is roughly 50" X 28" and looks way nicer than the busted remains of my last attempt. The metal trim pieces give it a far more finished look than the original as well.

Roofing nails hold the trim in place and have an anti-corrosion coating to keep them shiny. A standard hammer was used to start the nails and a plastic tip mallet was used, to keep the trim from scuffing, when the nails were driven flush.

This build was way more enjoyable than the last. Total time in assembly for this one was less than an hour. This time around I'm using dry erase wipes for surface clean up and hope to get some mileage out of this surface. Hats off to Freeside and all the educators out there for finding this low cost surface for mess free expression. Total build cost, including the cost of some tools, $US40.

Have a DIY project to share? Let's hear about it in the comments below!

Dry Erase Coffee Table II [Flickr]


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