DIY: Sustainable Bamboo Whiteboards

August 15, 2008

We’ve completed our bamboo wrapped whiteboards for our office space at thinkspace.  One of my original ideas was to have the contractor who was building out our space do this, but, when I got the cost estimate I about choked.  It was another classic case of “it’s green let’s charge ’em more”!  I immediately looked into the idea of buying aluminum framed whiteboards from various companies like Staples and Office Depot, but, the lead time was five weeks and the cost was not cheap.
I was talking with Susan Evans co-founder of Office Nomads, a cool and creative coworking space in Seattle, and she told me that they bought whiteboard material at Home Depot and then constructed their own frames.  I thought that was an awesome idea and proceeded to do just that.  I bought sheets of Thrifty White Tileboard that was 3/25″ x 48″ x 96″.  The material is awesome and guess what, it’s FSC certified.  FSC certified means that the Forest Stewardship Council has stamped this product as being “from well-managed forests and other controlled sources”.  Each tileboard costs $12.95.
The next component for these whiteboards is the bamboo that is trimmed around the entire edge of the whiteboard.  The material used was a sheet of 3/4″ x 48″ x 96″ natural horizontal grain bamboo sheet.  This one sheet was ripped and cut down into perfect length sections.  We then took a router to the bottom horizontal piece of trim and built custom holders for our AusPen Eco Dry Erase Markers that we purchased.  That was a brilliant idea by my carpenter Sergei who did an absolutely beautiful job.  To finish off the look, we took 1/2″ x 48″ x 96″ natural horizontal grain bamboo sheets and ripped them vertically and created 40″ x 48″ panels that look like a wainscot treatment.
We created five (5) 48″ x 96″ bamboo trimmed whiteboards with bamboo panels with the following materials:

  • 5 – 3/25″ x 48″ x 96″ Thrifty Tileboards – $12.95/each
  • 1 – 3/4″ x 48″ x 96″ bamboo sheet – $200/each (trim & baseboard floor pieces)
  • 6 – 1/2″ x 48″ x 96″ bamboo sheets – $175/each (panels)


  • Table saw
  • Router
  • Finish nail gun
  • Putty
  • Electric sander
  • Sawsal
  • Longer screws to put back on the electrical plate covers

The average materials cost for five whiteboards including panels below it was about $263 per whiteboard!  At Office Depot, they sell an aluminum framed whiteboard (same size) for $505.  That’s a lot better than the $1,250 per whiteboard price tag that I was quoted by the contractor.  I’m sure we could have done this even cheaper had we used something other than bambo, but, I really wanted this look.  In the end, we got a much nicer end product without spending more!  These might be one of the “greenest” whiteboards anywhere on planet — complete with eco-friendly dry erase markers!
For more photos check our Flickr photos.