One of the best things we ever did when we started homeschooling was to make our own dry erase white boards. And it ended up being a lot easier — and cheaper — than we thought. Here's all you'd have to do to make your own set of boards.
1. Buy a sheet of melamine. Go to a home improvement store like Lowes or Home Depot and purchase a 4 ft by 8 ft sheet of melamine (white board). You can probably find a sheet for anywhere from $12 to $20.
2. Cut it to size. Have the store cut the sheet into the desired sizes — free of charge! You'll end up with several custom-sized, ultra-sturdy dry erase boards that will last for years, and you will have spend a lot less than purchasing them precut at a regular store.
How we use the boards
We use these dry erase boards almost every day in our homeschool. We use them for spelling tests, proofreading sentences, Latin derivatives and quizzes, diagramming, phonics, math, science, history…you name it! They are so handy that I think I'd be lost without them. The boards even make school more "fun" for the kids, especially when I allow them to take their spelling tests on a board rather than on notebook paper.
What about markers?
We did have to experiment for a little while to find a dry erase marker that would last more than a week. The popular Expo brand we found was both expensive and low-quality. But last September we finally found a brand that works beautifully. Target had a 12-pack of dry-erase markers made by Beifa for around $5, and they are the absolute best dry-erase markers we have ever used. They don't go dry and the tips remain firm even after months of use. We've used the pens from that original Beifa 12-pack all year long, and not one of them has gone bad yet, even with the kids using them quite often just to draw on the boards for fun.
What about erasers?
For the eraser, we just use a dark-colored wash cloth. That makes it easy for more than one child to have an eraser at a time, and it's much cheaper than purchasing a real one.
Do you use dry erase boards in your homeschool?
Christa @ No End in Site says
Great idea! We'll be starting the homeschooling journey this fall, so curriculum and creativity have been on my mind a lot lately. We've got five to teach (so far) and the oldest is just now five. Whew! 🙂
Heather @ Loving Our Homeschool says
We have a couple white boards that we use that we love too! Thanks for the marker tip though. That's great to know!
Thanks for the tip about good dry erase markers!
I love it! Thanks for the great idea.
Stretch Mark Mama says
Oh, thank you! I was just headed out to Wally World to buy a small white board for spelling words but this looks so much better!
May I ask what sizes you had the board cut into?
Thanks for the tips on markers and erasers, too! Perfect timing!
Stretch Mark Mama says
Oh, another question. Do you throw the wash clothes in with the laundry?
Do you have a tip for removing permanent marker from dry erase boards… magic eraser didn't remove all of it….
@happyhousewife, I used Sol-U-Mel from Melaleuca, and it removed every speck of permanent marker from our dry erase easel, and the plastic frame around it. It's a little pricey but lasts forever – you need SO little of it. Supposed to remove nail polish and all kinds of other stuff too. It's sold by independent distributors, so I'm sure you can Google the company and find a rep near you. (I'm not a rep – a friend recommended this product, and it did the trick!)
What an awesome idea. I always had a magnetic, dry erase board that I loved and used daily, but when we sold our house (to move in with someone while we built a new house) it went too. This would be great because they'd store easily and each child could have their own…thanks for the tip!!
Kate (A Simple Walk) says
That is such a great idea. Thanks so much for sharing. I've wanted to get some white boards for a few years, but I always thought they were just too expensive for what they were. But this a perfect solution! We'll be doing this soon.
We got our single full sheet last fall from Lowes and it is propped up in our school area. (With being at a preschool/kindergarten level, we're usually camped out on the floor! LOL) Never thought about chopping off a chunk and making smaller ones. *smacks forehead* What a great idea! I can do that when I'm teaching both kids next fall. Thanks!
Wow! Brilliant! Cheap, good for the environment, and useful. I am all over this. Thanks especially for finally finding good markers.
Thanks so much for this great idea. Husband went to home depot and we had a sheet cut up for way less than walmart sold just one whiteboard. Now we have lots and are having fun using them at home. We even made up a family version of the newlywed game and the kids BEG to play it.!
What a great idea! We have a whiteboard that we keep in the kitchen and my kids use it all the time for spelling and other stuff. I love the idea of making them. I'll have to add that to my project list. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks for the tip on the markers. I'll have to look for those.
Our girls writing teacher uses these boards in class and even made them for us at home. One thing she does to protect the edges is put colored duct tape around them.
To get permanent marker off of the boards, I have heard people say to color over the marker with dry erase marker and then erase. I haven't personally tried it but it sounds like you have nothing to lose.
Also – for erasers, the girls teacher cuts off the top elastic band off of old socks and the kids stick their free hand in them and have an instant eraser "on hand". 🙂
@laura, I LOVE that idea for the eraser 'on hand'. That's a great way to recycle old socks, and we just happen to have a few (dozen) at our house.
I have a future post just on this product you mention; however, instead of drywalling our children's play room we paneled one wall with melamine (whiteboard), floor to ceiling.
When a math concept isn't getting across on paper, we go to the whiteboard and work it out, practice ABC's, draw on it, etc. Friends love to visit and write on our magic walls.
For birthday parties we have guests sign the wall for the birthday child and then we take a picture of it. For game night we list the rules and sign it, as well as, use it to draw for Pictionary.
Thanks for the marker tip. If you have any tips for removing dry erase marker from clothes, I'd appreciate it.
We also have a DIY chalkboard wall in our kitchen. My kids learned early on which walls they are allowed to write on!
Maggie Ariotti says
I found round make-up sponges at Ulta for 3.99 for 48. They work great and they're washable.
If you want, there's an online company called Incrediline that sells whiteboard decals and their product is so easy that you can literally stick the decal onto any flat surface. It's really cheap and easy because they last forever…hahaha, trust me, i have one in my room right now and i've had it for 2 years. If you just order one that's 8x11in. you can stick it onto some clipboard and ta-da, lap-size dry erase whiteboard for less than $15.