This is the third in our quick series on specialty paints. See the others here and here

Like chalkboard paint, whiteboard paint transforms any surface into a custom whiteboard (also called a dry-erase board). The paint hardens to a glossy white surface that you can write on using special dry-erase markers. This paint is a popular choice for offices, but you can also use it at home for grocery lists, kids’ schedules, vacation countdown calendars, and more.

To create a custom whiteboard, Michelle had a piece of plywood cut to fit inside her pantry door and painted it with a Rust-Oleum White Gloss Dry Erase Kit; $.98 at Home Depot.
Above: To create a custom whiteboard, Michelle had a piece of plywood cut to fit inside her pantry door and painted it with a Rust-Oleum White Gloss Dry Erase Kit; $20.98 at Home Depot.

How do I prepare the surface before using whiteboard paint?

If you’re applying the paint to light-colored drywall, you don’t need primer—just make sure the wall is smooth, clean, and dry. To paint over a dark or unfinished surface, apply primer first. Use painter’s tape to frame the area you want to cover. Whiteboard paint can also be used on wood, cement, and metal.

How do I apply whiteboard paint?

Be sure to follow instructions: With most brands, such as Rust-Oleum’s latex-based kit used here, the paint comes in two parts that need to be combined before using: Stir the components separately first, then mix thoroughly and use the paint right away. (Some other brands, like WriteyBoard, don’t need mixing.) Apply the paint with either a foam roller or foam brush. It will likely require multiple coats: at least two if you’re covering a light-colored surface; more for a dark surface. It’s very thick and will go on unevenly—but let it rest and it will eventually even itself out. Do not test the surface to check for dryness before the manufacturer’s recommended drying time has passed—unlike regular paint, touching this surface before it has cured will leave a permanent mark. Once the surface has finally cured, you can peel away the painter’s tape.

How do I use my homemade whiteboard?

Be sure to use only dry-erase markers—keep indelible markers well away. You can remove your dry-erase markings by wiping with a soft cloth. If you get marks that won’t disappear, use a dry-erase cleaner, not an abrasive cleanser or cloth.

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