Friday, March 4, 2016

Make Dry-Erase Boards for Pennies!

Dry-erase boards are the one pice of equipment I just can't teach without! They are easy to carry anywhere, allow me to check answers for everyone in the class at a glance, and kids love to use them. It's a win, win, win!

My problem was always the cost. They are pricy little devils. Then I found a quick and easy (and cheap) way to get a whole class set in only a few minutes. I always let the kids take them home at the end of the year, but NEVER during the year. I always have a few extra, but they are to replace boards that get beaten up for one reson or another. There aren't many that go bad, but when they do, they need to be replaced. 
So, follow the simple directions below and you'll have your class set!

I live near a Home Depot, so I go there. I'm sure other stores like it would also have everything you need. It takes one 4' by 8' piece of Eucatile. It sells for $13.97.  That's 43 cents per board. It has a slick white surface, which is perfect for a dry-erase board. I've also heard it called "white board". 

Home Depot will cut it up for you at a small cost BUT I have always told them I was a teacher, and it will be dry-erase boards for my students. They have always cut if for me for free, which I always appreciate!  Each finished dry-erase board is 12" by 12".

This is what Eucatile looks like. It is found in the Millworks section of the store. You will recognize it because it is white, shiny and slick.

The first step is to get someone who looks friendly (you want it cut for free----right?) and he will take it to the cutting station. 

I just tell them that I want it to be cut into one foot sections. The first thing they do it cut it into one foot by four foot strips. There are 8 of these strips.

Next he will take the 4 by 1 foot strips and cut them into one foot squares.

When he is done you have 32 boards.

The whole process takes about 15 minutes.

You don't have to tape the edges. I have never had a child get cut on an edge in over eight years. Have each child write their name on the back with a sharpie, and bring an old sock from home for an eraser. My school provided dry-erase markers, but with cut backs you may need to ask students to bring a couple of those as well. I only used black, since it was easy for me to see when they held up the boards. I told my students that the board was theirs, but they could NOT take it home until the last day of school. That rule came about after my first year of using them. Many, many, many never came back to school. Irritating, and not fun for me. The boards hold up amazingly well throughout the school year, but there are some that get pretty beat-up. Since 32 boards come from one sheet of Eucatile, I always had extra to replace boards with. 

How to use dry-erase boards in class?
1.  Reading: Answer question and hold up the board. You can see immediately who needs help. They are perfect for guided reading!!
2. Math: Work together or alone, hold up the board for teacher to check.
3.  Spelling: Practice words, homophones, etc.
4. Writing: Practice hooks, better adjectives etc.
5. They are perfect fore groupwork, individual practice and centers. Honestly, I used them many, many times throughout the day!

If you can think of any other ways to use dry-erase boards in class, please add them in the comments below!


  1. Do you have trouble with the markers not completely erasing from the board?

  2. No, not at all. The material is very much like what is used on whiteboards that are purchased. We have used tissues and or socks and it comes right off. Over time it can get a little marked up, but usually lasts a full school year.

    1. I have done the same thing from your blog idea, but just tried to erase the dry erase markers and they wouldn't come off! Any advice? I am using expo brand of dry erase markers.

  3. To keep markers safe all year by giving them a sock for and eraser and then they can put the markers in the sock.

  4. I used the same material and had them cut to the size of my tables. I velcroed them down and the students could write directly on the table top.

  5. Cutting them to the sze of the tables is a WONDERFUL idea! Thanks so much!!

  6. If you don't need your students to hold up their answers, they can write on their desks or tables with Expo Markers....they wipe off with an eraser, sock, or wash cloth (I purchased black wash cloths and they don't show the marker).

  7. We also use our slates as improvised clip boards for rug work when a work sheet is being completed.

  8. I stacked the dry erase boards together, then modgedpodged the edges so the dust didn't get everywhere. Then you separate them to dry so they don't stick together. (Doing each board individually would have taken way to long!)

  9. Did all of your boards come out the same size? I asked for the 12x12 cuts, but they are all kinds of funky squares and rectangles.

  10. Yes. They are exactly the same size. It sounds like you got someone to cut that didn't know how to use the Maxine. I'm so sorry! I think I'd take them back and ask for a redo

  11. Thank you for this idea! It's my first year teaching and didn't know how to afford these for my classroom.

  12. Best cleaner for these is rubbing alcohol.

  13. I didn't know about the rubbing alcohol! I'll bet that would have saved some of the "marked up beyond repair" boards! Thanks so much!!

  14. Yes the rubbing alcohol works great. The higher percentage alcohol will even take off hard to remove marker (which can happen over time or if it was left to sit on the board for too long).

  15. Yes the rubbing alcohol works great. The higher percentage alcohol will even take off hard to remove marker (which can happen over time or if it was left to sit on the board for too long).

  16. Whether you are a homeschool mom or a parent who helps your children, I highly recommend you have these dry erase boards on hand! My kids loved them and continued to use them through high school to work their homework out on.

  17. Good work and this information about the small whiteboard which i appreciate it.
    small whiteboard

  18. Best cleaner for white boards is WD 40! Works like a charm.

  19. Tried this today at Lowe's and I was successful!! (Minus the man saying, "Well we aren't supposed to do the whole project for you..." ��) Thank you so much for the tip!

  20. I'm heading to Home Depot this week to do this project!! I can't wait to have my own set that is nice and durable!
    **Also, I buy felt and cut them into 8 pieces for erasers for the dry erase boards! Kids love to use them and they are CHEAP! :)

  21. You can paint the other side of the board with magnetic paint, also magic erasers will even get the permanent markers off of anything!!