DIY portable black and white boards

I wanted to share a little idea that we’ve had, as it’s proving to be one of the most useful new additions to our workspace and I’m sure many of you can benefit from it too.

We’re experiencing quite rapid growth here at Team which has challenged us to take a fresh look at our workspace. We’re lucky enough to have an amazing open plan workspace in our 13th century barn, but like any growing company we face the same challenges when it comes to creating more space for more bums on seats, whilst keeping the flexibility needed for people to work effectively together on multiple projects.

The creative work we do requires us to compile a huge amount of insights, ideas and observations. We quite literally paper whole walls with post-it notes, images we bring back from user research and complex experience flow maps. It’s kind of a physical capture of what’s going in on in the mind of the project team. So we needed a solution to help, one that was portable so we could easily move it to a meeting room for when our clients visit, and one that would give us a ‘stickable’ and ‘writable’ surface, acting as a room divider, so that we could create pop-up rooms for our project teams.

After much unsuccessful scouring of the internet from low end to high end office furniture solutions we had a spark of inspiration in aisle 43 of the IKEA warehouse. Two LINNMON high gloss white desk tops (white board), one can of black chalkboard paint – to paint the ugly brown underside of the desk (black board), one length of nickel plated piano hinge (to make it freestanding and foldable – and also portable) and there you go – the black & white board was born.



Above: Construction of the boards | Below: Using the boards



After a few months since their creation, these things are proving very useful. They take up barely any room in the office, pack away neatly when not in use, and turn otherwise unused corners into temporary creative zones. So budding DIYers don your overalls and get yourself down to the big blue and yellow place.

Oh and if you have any other useful ‘IKEA hacks’ to transform the workplace we’d love to hear them.

One small word of advice, the blackboard paint is quite smelly, so I’d recommend painting it outside and preferably leaving for a couple of days before bringing into your workspace (or your colleagues will never let you hear the end of it).

Over to you.

Shopping / tool list as follows:

-LINNMON Table top, high-gloss, white Size 150×75 cm – available from IKEA £35 (you’ll need two for each B&W board)
-Nickel Plated Piano Hinge 32mm x 1.8m – widely available online approx. £2.50 – £4 2.5ltr
-Matt Black Chalkboard Paint – widely available online price approx. £25 (will be enough for approx. 4 – 8 B&W boards )
-Countersink posi-drive screws – to fit the piano hinge (ask your hinge supplier, approx. 10mm long)
-9 inch Roller Handle – approx. £5 (reusable)
-Foam Gloss Paint Roller Sleeve 9 Inch – approx. £2 (throw it away after use it will stink !)
-White spirit for clean-up
-Cordless drill
-1.5-2mm pilot drill bit and posidrive screwdriver bit – its easiest to pilot drill holes before screwing the hinge in place

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