Archive for June, 2011

Making a “whiteboard”!

June 14, 2011

First off: It’s been almost a year since my last post.  How on earth do I expect to get better at writing like this.

For almost as long as I have thought about learning to write I have thought about constructing a whiteboard.  Specifically, I thought about turning the top of my desk into one.  It came about when I read about this awesome paint that can turn any surface into a whiteboard.  While that’s not the route I went, the idea of being able to sketch, make to-do lists, and map out ideas all over my desk surface seemed like it would be pretty fun/ useful.

After doing a lot of reading I narrowed down materials to the following

  1. Glass
  2. Lexan
  3. Pexiglass
  4. Some odd plastic like stuff

I settled on glass (real glass) and let me say: Best idea ever. Lexan and pexiglass were both very expensive (to cover all of my fairly large desk was $25 for glass, would have been around $75 for lexan).  This is what I did

  1. Measured my desk
  2. Went to home depot
  3. Bought two panes of glass to cover desk (it doesn’t quite cover the whole area but I didn’t wanna mess around with cutting glass)
  4. Put glass on my desk.
  5. Took some tape, taped all around the edges and taped along the line between the two sheets. The tape along the line doesn’t look super cool but it keeps liquid from getting in the crack and under the glass.

5a: Lest there be any doubt, I totally did not wait to tape the border of the glass until someone cut themselves on the side, nor did I wait until I had gotten cleaning fluid trapped under the glass to decide to tape the line.

Here are two of the caveats of glass:

  1. If you drop lots of heavy stuff on your desk all the time, don’t use glass.
  2. If you want a board that you mount on the wall, glass could prove harder (it is heavy, and fragile)

Here is why glass is awesome:

  1. Cheap
  2. Very hard to sratch.  Your keys, pens, pencils, and pretty much anything most people keep at their desk isn’t going to scratch glass.  This makes it ideal for a desk surface. Those of you who keep jagged chunks of quartz, topaz, emeralds, titanium bicarbonate, or diamonds at your desk….well, that’s pretty awesome but glass isn’t for you.
  3. You can write on it with almost anything

Number three is where it gets most interesting.  You can get almost anything off of glass with varying degrees of difficulty (which is actually pretty useful).

Comes off with a dry erase eraser:

  • Dry erase markers

Comes off with dry paper towel

  • Wet erase markers (firm scrubbing)
  • Fresh liquid metal marker (sargent brand)

Comes off with wet paper towel (water)

  • Wet erase marker (light motion)
  • Dried liquid metal marker

Comes off with paper towel and purell hand sanitizer (probably any alcohol based product)

  • Permanent marker (sharpie, etc) after drying for several days

Why is this useful? You can, for example, sketch a calendar outline in a sharpie, and then write stuff with a wet erase marker.  When you want the contents gone, wet a papertowl and go at it — wet erase marker gone, calendar outline still there.

A note: Dry erase and wet erase markers will smear if you run your hands/arms/lots of stuff over them, even after they have been sitting a while.  This makes permanent marker the most tempting tool — it’s easy to remove if you want it gone (purell), but it wont smear or come off with rubbing or water.

Anyone want to suggest other things I could try writing with?

–Edit 1–

More on markers! I’ve basically stopped using dry erase markers.  They wipe off wayyy to easily, and over a few days they partially evaportae and clump, making it impossible to read what you wrote.  I advise: Permanet markers for most things, and wet erase (overhead markers, or Sargent liquid metal) for things you want to get rid of more often.

Point size: Having used both fine and ultra fine (in the Bic line) I STRONGLY prefer ultrafine for writing, and fine for sketching.