We’ve heard of whiteboard paint, it’s a nifty way to make any surface into a writable space. However, when we heard that Smarter Surfaces had created a kit for creating magnetic whiteboard surfaces we had to give it a try ourselves and teamed up with design site Dornob to get a closer look.
The kit is pretty straightforward and came with three main items: smart magnetic grey primer, a white finish primer, and their famous whiteboard paint. The second primer also comes in clear, which would allow you to paint over the magnetic primer in any color you want and add whiteboard functionality to that color instead. Whether you want to use white or clear, it’s important that you use their primer before applying the whiteboard paint so the wall is sealed and the paint doesn’t get absorbed.
Also included in our box was a roller sleeve and handle, two microfiber eraser cloths, a sanding block, magnets, gloves, dry erase pens, whiteboard cleaner, and the all-important application guide.
The paint itself is sold by the amount of space you want to cover, either 21 or 65 square feet. Due to the purpose of the paint, it’s important that you not try to stretch it out more than the recommended area or you could lose some functionality.
The primers and paint were all easy to apply. The longest step was for the magnetic primer which needed four coats with a 90 minute dry time in between. This primer is very heavy due to the metal content and any imperfections had to be sanded down with the sanding block to ensure the surface was perfectly smooth for the whiteboard paint. The second primer was pretty easy and only needed two light coats to get our surface ready for the paint.
The whiteboard paint did need to be activated before it was applied. There is a small bottle called “Part A” that we needed to pour into the “Part B” can and then stir for a minimum of five minutes. Once it was mixed, we had one hour to paint so it was important to have everything ready to go beforehand. If you’re painting more than one object, get everything together now because the paint can’t be sealed and re-used once it’s mixed.
The paint naturally went on very evenly by using the roller. We also used a small paintbrush to fill in any tricky spots. Only one coat was needed, but the guide recommended passing over the surface ten times with the roller to make sure everything was evenly applied. It was pretty easy to get a smooth surface, no dripping or buildup anywhere. The paint was low odor as well, which was great as it has a long curing time and so wasn’t that noticeable while we waited.
The paint is touch dry after five hours, but can’t be used for seven days after painting as the mixture needs to cure. The back of the guide doubles as a warning to others to leave the surface alone with a large “Wet Paint” notice and a spot to fill in the date and time so you can easily remember when the surface is safe to use. There is also a sticker to identify the surface as a white board, just in case your co-workers weren’t sure about writing on the walls.
The overall effect worked quite well after we waited a week to use it. Strong magnetics are recommended and works just fine, however, if you only have the weaker sort it’ll slowly fall off. The whiteboard aspect was just like writing on a regular whiteboard and erased just fine. It does need to be maintained as you would a regular board, if you don’t clean it well after you use it, ink residue will start to linger and you’ll see shadows of what you previously drew. We just sprayed dry erase cleaner on anything that didn’t come off with the microfiber cloth and it looked as good as new.
We tried it on several objects and as long as it was sturdy, smooth, and clean it worked out just fine. The obvious use is for the wall in homes and offices, so you can write meeting notes and other ideas. We tried it below a kitchen shelf for use when writing recipe notes or for holding up a shopping list with a magnet for easy visibility. We also used a section of a mug just for fun, which was trickier to paint on, but still had a high quality result.
Smarter Surfaces Magnetic Whiteboard paint seemed too good to be true when we initially read about it, but the company made sure to go the extra mile in their design. It has a strong finish and is made for commercial use, so this isn’t some novelty that’s going to chip or yellow in the sun. In fact, they guarantee ten years of use out of it so we’ll have a long time to put our newly revamped surfaces to the test again and again.