Upgrade Your Garage With a Huge Whiteboard for $14

I have entirely too many projects to keep track of inside my increasingly crowded head. This includes two project cars, a finicky daily driver, and all the various issues that come up when you own a house. My wife wanted a whiteboard to attach to the fridge so we could plan weekends and keep a running honey-do list. But even small whiteboards are fairly pricey.
My wife found a cheap idea on some other blog, and we tried it out. The whiteboard failed on the fridge — we couldn’t get the board to stick, and didn’t want to screw into the fridge — but it’s been great in my garage. This project affords plenty of material for all the whiteboard you might want: You’ll start with a 4-foot by 8-foot sheet.

Head to your local home improvement store and get a sheet of glossy, white panel board. (Here are links to these at Lowe’s and Home Depot.) Don’t be concerned about the apparently blank images on the store’s website. It’s a 4-by-8-foot rectangle. A blank picture is exactly what it looks like.
If you have a small car, you can plan ahead by measuring where you want to put it. Find an employee in the lumber section; they’ll be able to cut it down to the size you want. Usually, the first two cuts are free and each additional cut is 25 cents. This way you’ll have a piece exactly the size you want that also (hopefully) fits in your car.
Make sure you grab some dry-erase markers while you’re out, and screws if you don’t have any.
Installation is simple. I just grabbed four of the nearest wood screws and drove them straight through the board and into the wall. You may opt for a cleaner installation with nicer fasteners, but I’m not worried about this falling down.
I screwed a small hook into the wall and another into the marker cap so I could always have the writing implement nearby. There are plenty of other ways to do this. I’ve considered adding a string so I wouldn’t have to hang the pen back up every time: Just recap and release. If you want to get fancy, keep a clean rag to use as an eraser. I usually just use my hand.
Accessorize as desired.
A whiteboard is handy for all manner of minor notes, specs, and mid-project details. I’ve found it allows me to step away in the middle of a project and know pretty well where I’m at when I return.
As for the refrigerator, my wife ended up using some chalkboard paint we had left over from a previous project. Come to think of it, chalkboard paint is a pretty good option for your garage as well—provided you have relatively smooth, finished walls and don’t mind working with chalk.
Photos Copyright 2014 Alan Cesar/Hooniverse.

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  1. frankthecat Avatar

    A whiteboard?! Too damn fancy. I use a giant piece of cardboard propped up against the windshield, and a sharpie; Roadkill style.

    1. Alan Cesar Avatar
      Alan Cesar

      I keep losing my pieces of cardboard. Screwing a board to the wall became necessary.

  2. dukeisduke Avatar

    Oooooh, a sink for hand washing!

    1. Alan Cesar Avatar
      Alan Cesar

      In Florida, everyone puts their washers and dryers in the garage. That meant easy access to hot and cold water taps. I bought a used utility sink on Craigslist and ran the sink drain into the washing machine drain.

      1. dukeisduke Avatar

        Sweet! Here in Texas, you see some houses with the washer and dryer in the garage, but not many (although I imagine they would be more common in a place like Corpus Christi, or down in the Rio Grande Valley).

  3. cabinboy63 Avatar

    I've got a 4' x 8' and a 4' x 4' in the garage. Got them for free when a school was replacing all their whiteboards and were just throwing them out. I've got the marker/eraser shelf on them as well. Awesome stuff to keep track of your racecar projects.

    1. Alan Cesar Avatar
      Alan Cesar

      Lucky find.

  4. Alff Avatar

    Great idea. I'd use it … if every square foot of my garage wall didn't already have something hanging from it.
    Those compression numbers are pretty wild.

    1. JamesJames Avatar

      I was thinking the same thing, might try to mount this to the garage door, in 1' high strips.

    2. hwyengr Avatar

      On a 3-cyl engine where one cylinder is obviously low, what is the reference for the other two? Is #1 low, or is #3 high?

      1. Alan Cesar Avatar
        Alan Cesar

        It doesn't really matter. The solution is the same. Valve job, maybe an engine rebuild.

  5. Ridge Avatar

    The Barber Motorsports Park decal is a nice touch too.

    1. Alan Cesar Avatar
      Alan Cesar

      It's actually a piece of metal in the shape of Barber. My wife got it for me for xmas a couple years ago. There's an Etsy shop where this person sells these of all kinds of tracks. https://www.etsy.com/listing/157078992/4-to-12-fa

      1. Ridge Avatar

        Thanks for the etsy link. I live about 20 miles from Barber, it is a beautiful facility.

        1. Alan Cesar Avatar
          Alan Cesar

          Super fun track, too! I'll be there this weekend for the LeMons race.

          1. themostlyporscheblog Avatar

            LeMons at Barber just seems like it will induce some kind of class-warfare battle.
            Great track, though.

  6. Hatchtopia Avatar

    I recently "harvested" a big floor-to-ceiling pantry cabinet from our kitchen remodel project and installed it in the garage. This looks like the perfect way to cover over those gingerbread oak doors.

  7. OA5599 Avatar

    Too late now for the fridge, but we've always just written directly on the fridge door with dry erase markers. Of course that might not be simple if you have dark paint.
    100% Silicone should work for adhering the whiteboard.

  8. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    FYI, if you work in a cube farm (or near one), office space remodels create massive piles of throwaway/giveaway office supplies that come in handy. I've got multiple GIANT whiteboards, table-tops, power-strips and other stuff like that from the bins when we remodeled at my office.

  9. gerberbaby Avatar

    This is a good idea for a future thread. How do you keep track of maintenance items and work completed on the different vehicles in your stable? I use a white board but only for preventative maintenance there is even space for the mowers, blowers and motorcycle. Not enough room for recording repairs. I like the garage door idea. wasted space otherwise. My brain isn't it once was, so I need all the help I can get

  10. Plasma-Tracks.com Avatar

    Very cool to see one of our Plasma-Tracks hanging out in your shop!