So let's say you want a stylish looking white board, there's everything out there from flimsy standard issue office supply store boards that stain, to high end porcelain boards that you'll have to shell out major bucks for one that's larger than a couple of feet. I was faced with this dilemma not too long ago, and being the creative sort of person I am, I decided to design my own.

What sort of surface material would I use, I thought.

Metal? - chrome plated would look snazzy, but too expensive and heavy.

Plastic? - too "low-end" looking, stains, scratches easily.

Glass? - non-porous, rigid, sexy, inexpensive. Oh yeah! glass it is!

So with my surface material locked in, the next piece of the puzzle was to determine how exactly to fix it to the wall. Several days of bewildered home improvement store workers and internet research later I had found it, sign standoffs. Conveniently located at http://www.signstandoffs.com/

I would be using what are called "through standoffs" ,aptly named, as they are designed to go through the material you are mounting.

All of this in retrospect, and to you the reader, may seem quite obvious. However there was a lot of research into the types of glass to use, edge distances, hole diameters, and surface stresses before just going ape and drilling holes in glass. This thing, after all, is going to be hanging on a wall and being used daily so this is not something you want breaking, it could chop your hands off...or worse :) Respect your building materials!

I happened to have a couple of glass companies near by, I'm sure you probably will too, check the phone book or the interwebs. The company I used mainly deals with table tops, windows, and picture frames. So when I said I wanted a 3 foot piece of glass with 4 holes drilled in it you can just imagine the conversation.

me: yeah, how much would it cost for a thirty-six by thirty-six inch sheet of glass with four holes drilled in the corners?

glass man: ...holes?

me: yeah...four of them. three quarter inches in diameter.

glass man: is it for a table top?

me: nope, it's going on the wall.

glass man: huh? why do you want to do that?

me: to use as a white-board ...made of glass.

glass man: ...never heard of that before...weird...hang on I'll get you a quote...

There were several such exchanges like this during the various points from ordering to dropping off sketches to picking up the glass. They thought I was out of my mind then, now they just ask how many I'll be making and what size :)

Glass:

  • 1/4" thick - don't go any thinner or you'll be sorry. You can go thicker to say 3/8" but remember: glass is fracking heavy! (about 3lbs per sq/ft for 1/4")
  • Annealed (think guillotine rather than beads). Why not tempered? There are additional constraints when dealing with tempered glass when you want to put holes in it, also, the edges are exposed and tempered glass is weakest on its edges.
  • Polished edges - the edges are exposed and blood is bad mkay

Standoffs:

  • at least 1" diameter, the length is up to you. Keep in mind the further from the wall, the less weight your anchors will hold. You'll need 4 to 8 depending on the width of your board

Anchors:

  • I like Toggler® SNAPToggles, they hold crazy amounts of weight (356 lbs in 5/8" drywall)

My first board was 36x36 and utilized 4 standoffs and looks quite nice. Total materials (glass, standoffs, anchors) about $130. That may seem a bit steep for a 3ft square board but it's totally non-porous it will never stain. You use any old dry erase marker and eraser, and if you have something you'd like to keep around without the fear of accidental erasure, bust out the sharpie permanent markers. Go ahead, it's alright, a quick blast of rubbing alcohol and it comes right off :) great for drawing grids and such!

The real cost savings comes when you go big. Total cost for an 96"x48" (8 feet by 4 feet) $250 in materials. Labor is another thing, you're going to need about 4 friends, 6 if your friends are scrawny weaklings to mount that beast, but what you're left with is nothing short of impressive.

To date I have designs for: 36x36, 48x36, 36x72, 48x72, 48x96

Several months later I found a site (wish I'd thought of the domain) http://www.glasswhiteboards.com That sells a slightly more fancy version of this with a white enamel painted magnetic back with tempered glass and edge standoffs (not as cool as through standoffs!) they are nice but their prices are also about 10 times higher than my DIY solution. Even if you go with a thicker glass and tempered you're still only about doubling the cost of mine, so about $500 for an 8 foot board.

I've attached the sketches, check them out, have fun! I welcome any and all comments of course :)

Here's a shot of the 8 foot behemoth!