Classroom DIY: Whiteboard Tables
Yesterday I wrote about how we went from desks to tables in Room 10.
Today, I want to show you how we went from brown tables to beautiful, clean whiteboard tables. The supplies needed for the project include primer, a paint tray, a paint roller (foam), painters tape and whiteboard paint. Whiteboard paint is sold at Home Depot or on Amazon.com for about $20 a box. I used 2 boxes to paint 6 tables, making these tables less than $10 each to make.
To start, I cleaned off the top of all my brown tables. Wiped them down, dried them off totally and then taped off the edges with painters tape. I didn’t do the best job of sealing the edges of the tape, so I suggest you push down REALLY hard when putting the tape on so the paint doesn’t drip down the sides of the tables.
To cover up the shiny brown laminate, I simply rolled on 3 layers of white primer. The primer stuck to the smooth laminate without any sanding on my part, which was a gamble I took that paid off well-I just didn’t want to deal with the sore arm or the dust everywhere. It took three coats for the table to be completely covered, although you could still see ‘patches’ on it. This is totally fine-as long as the majority of the table is white, the whiteboard paint in the next step will give it the completely white look.
Once the primer is completely dry (I let it sit overnight), you’re ready to apply your whiteboard paint! The Rust-Oleum brand states you must use an open can within an hour, or it will no longer work correctly. This means you’ve got to work fast and watch the clock. When you open the box of paint, you will find two cans. You pour one into the other, mix it well and have your whiteboard paint. I poured this paint into my paint tray and began rolling it on the tables. It will look textured due to the foam roller, but you’ll notice as it dries, it smooths out. I got 4 coats on my 6 tables with just two boxes of the Rust-Oleum paint and the coverage is amazing.
I let this dry overnight, and it was hard and ready to go for school on Monday. The students, however, were not allowed to ‘test’ the board surface until Friday. The box says you need to let the paint cure for 3 days, but I didn’t want to risk it. When the students did test it, we found no ‘ghosting’ or left-over marks from markers EXCEPT the pink Expo brand ones. I now wish I had tested all the markers on a small area before letting the kids go crazy, as I have a large ‘KAILEY’ in pink across one of my tables that will just not come off. I think I may need to get another box and put a coat over it before school starts. The other colors wiped off perfectly, though.
Now that I had a room of gorgeous white tables, I wanted a way to call on groups. I went to Micheals in search of… I didn’t know what. Just SOMETHING to put on the tables to make them stand apart. Within the summer section, I found these:
Yeah, it bothers me, too, that the white one doesn’t match the others. But once they are all on the tables you can’t tell. I then wandered over to the floral department to see what I could find. And once there, I found these:
Put ’em together and what have you got? Colored jars for each table! We now have a red table, a blue table, a teal table, a white table and a green table!
One word of caution: the students want to play with the flowers. All.the.time. And they want to stick their pencils in the jars. Besides that, they work great!
I lovelovelove our new white tables. Because I don’t have a large enough class at the moment to need all six desks, I lowered one to it’s shortest settings and made a ‘coffee table’ out it. This is where I put community supplies, set out their workbooks or just set papers that I’m working on.
Good luck if you choose to turn your own tables into whiteboard tables, and please let me know if I can help clarify any of these steps for you!