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Hiding Secret Messages on a Simple Whiteboard

By November 4, 2021Projects

Need a way to hide your secret ideas? We made a simple white board that can also hide your secret messages! This is a really simple project that only requires a few specialty items that anyone can do, come see how!

  1. Cut Whiteboard Frame
  2. Route Marker Groove
  3. Mount Black Light

1. Cut Whiteboard Frame

This project is not very complicated. Essentially, it is a large, mounted whiteboard panel with some tricky lighting. The whiteboard material is readily available at most home centers and comes in large sheets (4-foot x 8-foot). The goal of this project is to cut some simple dimensional lumber and mount the whiteboard inside it so we can hang it on the wall. I measured the whiteboard and cut down some 1×3 pine lumber in a large frame shape using the miter saw. Using some glue and brad nails, I secure the rectangular frame together.

I wanted the whiteboard to sit inside the frame, so I used a rabbeting bit to carve in a channel on the back side. Once the whiteboard sits flat inside the frame, you can use glazing points to secure the panel in place. I also applied a coat of black paint to the frame to make the whiteboard really pop. Next, I want to create a marker tray attached to the front that looks like a sill on a window.

2. Route a Marker Groove

I cut down a piece of 1×4 material that extended slightly past the edges of the frame. There needed to be a small groove or low spot in the tray so that markers will not fall off. I chose to use the router to carve a groove do the center of the 1×4 tray. I had a very shallow V-bit that worked really well, but a rounded bowl bit common in router bit sets would also work really well. After a coat of matching black paint, the marker tray was screwed in place and the whiteboard frame was complete.

3. Mount the Black Light

With some help, I held the marker board against the wall and used a stud finder to locate the mounting points. I drove in some screws through the face of the whiteboard frame and in the wall studs, securing the huge piece to the wall. After finding out that a strip of UV LEDs wouldn’t illuminate the whiteboard very well, I bought a fluorescent UV light. This additional coverage worked really well and needed to be mounted to the top of the frame on an arm. The arm really helped shine the UV light on a large area.

Just like in the Custom Car Badges project, I used some UV markers on the “secret” side of the whiteboard. The idea being, that when you write with the UV markers, you cannot see them with the naked eye. Once the UV light was turned on, the ink shines bright and the hidden messages are revealed. These UV markers are not dry erase like traditional whiteboard markers, so you have to use acetone to fully remove them from the board when your secret plans are finished.

Simple, but Effective

This project was a really fun learning experience. Making the super huge whiteboard frame was actually the easy part. The hard part was figuring out, mistake after mistake, how to get the secret messaging to work properly. I went through a lot of light configurations and a lot of marker erasing solutions until we landed on the right combination. We are currently using the secret whiteboard in the new office building right now. That way, we can game plan new ideas that aren’t ready for public view under the secret light, while showing off benign brainstorming scribbles to the world. If you have public place that needs a bit of secure messaging, then this project is for you!