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Blog: Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles
Paper Doll Sees the Writing On the Wall: Part One -- Dazzling With Dry-Erase

It's hard to believe that it's been more than a year since I wrote Morning, Noon and Night: Alternatives To Paper. I'm delighted to find that it's been one of the most popular posts for people to revisit. So, for the next few posts, we're going to dig deeper into the paper alternatives that can help us lead more organized lives.

There are times when only paper will do, and there are certainly times when digital alternatives reduce clutter, streamline efforts and provide excellent solutions. And then there are the times (like the drizzly days we discussed last week) when neither is quite right. In particular, when you need to see the whole story writ large, the writing on the wall, as it were, you really need a big idea to see the big picture.


At-A-Glance® WallMates™ (from MeadWestvaco) brings the advantages of dry-erase boards to the world of planning. And, as we know, planning is an essential ingredient in productivity for organizing your time and tasks.

WallMates™ are self-adhesive, re-positionable dry-erase writing surfaces. They're made of thick .5 mil (0.127 mm) vinyl and backed with removable, medium-tack, pressure-sensitive adhesive. WallMates™ are like the 3M Command-brand hooks we professional organizers love so much. They're easy to install, require no special tools, and hold firmly, but they can be easily removed and placed elsewhere, with no damage to the clean, hard, dry surfaces to which they are affixed, and no residue is left behind. Because the adhesive portion is thick, it's less likely to curl or wrinkle.

WallMates™ come in four styles -- three planners and one blank writing page:
  • Weekly -- 24" x 18" vertical layout with a weekly (Monday-Sunday) undated format
  • Monthly -- the undated monthly (Sunday-Saturday) block calendar comes in three horizontally-arrayed sizes: 12" x 18", 18" x 24" and 24" x 36"
  • Yearly -- 18" x 24" vertical layout with a 12-month, dated yearly calendar for long-range planning
  • Blank Writing Surface -- available in three sizes: 12" x 18", 18" x 24" and 24" x 36", positionable horizontally or vertically, as desired.
The company estimates that each WallMate™ can be used approximately 10 times. Each WallMate™ comes with a 3-year self-adhesive reference calendar and a dry-erase marker.

WallMates™ are modular, and can be used paired or in groups to keep track of progress, important notes and dates, and the blank writing pages can be arrayed vertically or horizontally to create useful planning spaces. For example, each monthly calendar page could be flanked by vertically-arrayed medium-sized blank writing pages, or the smaller monthly and blank surfaces, positioned horizontally, next to a vertical weekly page, could provide a tight grouping of big-picture planning options:

WallMates™ can be used on painted drywall, stainless steel, wood, glass and painted metal. Understandably, it's less suitable for interior brick walls or stucco, as the bumps and voids in the surface area mean uneven surfaces, or fabric-covered walls because lint becomes fused to the adhesive material.

WallMates™ would be great for offices and conference rooms, makeshift classrooms, dorm rooms and even kitchens or hallways, and can be used with any brand or type of dry-erase marker. They can be cut to fit unique spaces, in case your office is that weird cubby under the stairs with an angled ceiling.

WallMates™ can be purchased from Amazon or wherever you buy office supplies, and elements retail from $9-$25.


Idea Paint says,

When you're confined to the space of a typical whiteboard, your ideas are destined to be small. IdeaPaint turns virtually anything you can paint into a high-performance dry-erase surface, giving you the space you need to collaborate, interact and fully explore your creativity. No matter where you use it, big ideas follow.

Whether it's a whiteboard that just doesn't offer enough room, a classroom budget exceeded by the cost of available resources, or a child's drawing that needs to expand beyond the boundaries of an 8" x 11" piece of construction paper, sometimes, you need to create a bigger canvas.

IdeaPaint can turn any surface into a seamless dry-erase surface, whether for brainstorming in an office:

or trying to set a creative mood:

In work spaces, you begin with a primer coat of BASE, or other recommended primer, and then select one of three IdeaPaint products, each available in kits which contain enough paint to cover 50 square feet of surface. Each kit also includes a roller, stir stick, can opener and Wet Paint sign, and retails for $175.

CREATE is their newest line of easy-to-apply, odorless dry-erase paint which can be applied with a roller or spray applicator. There seems to be a little confusion regarding CREATE's available colors. The web site says CREATE comes in white, Glance Gray, Show Sand, Natural White, Big Gray -- no relation to Big Grey (Meredith) and Little Grey (Lexie) on Grey's Anatomy, Arena Blue, Fresh Green and Mod Beige. (But let's be honest: not only has there never been a truly mod beige, mod hasn't even been mod in a very long time.) However, a recent blog post lists a few other limited-availability colors.

PRO is a super-durable, solvent-based dry-erase coating. It comes with a lifetime warranty and is available in these five, muted, office-appropriate colors.

CRE-8 (yes, one imagines it's very confusing to explain whether you want CREATE or CRE-8 when ordering by phone) is a high performance water-based dry-erase paint that comes with a 10-year warranty. (CRE-8 came first; CREATE is apparently IdeaPaint 2.0.) It comes in the five calming colors above, as well as Gray, Orange, Light Green and IdeaPaint-Brand Blue.

At home, the new water-based product of choice is the aptly-named HOME paint, available in kits designed for 6, 20 or 40 sq. ft. of coverage. HOME is designed to help create smaller writing/drawing spaces -- perfect for kids' tabletops, playhouse interiors, playroom walls, fridges or doors. HOME is currently available only in white and kits retail for $30, $75 and $140, respectively.

Draw or write on IdeaPaint with standard dry-erase markers, or pick up some cheerily bright, low-odor, ergonomic WRITE markers.

IdeaPaint has environmental advantages, too. Instead of sending reams of paper to the landfills, you can create ideas and designs on one renewable surface. IdeaPaint can even be applied on old, not-so-gently-used white boards to refresh their surfaces.

IdeaPaint also has a smaller carbon footprint than traditional dry-erase boards, whose energy-hogging manufacturing includes baking and curing, whereas IdeaPaint is simply stirred. As it's lighter than an actual whiteboard, less fuel is needed to ship IdeaPaint to your destination.

IdeaPaint is formaldehyde-free, conforms to all U.S. EPA regulations (including California) and is certified low-emission paint that is both LEED compliant and GREENGUARD Children & School certified. For classroom and home use, it can replace allergy- and asthma-inducting chalk dust particulates.


For some people, aesthetics are as important as function -- if it's not pretty, they won't see it, remember it or do it. Unfortunately, we don't all have the artistic ingenuity to make a bold statement on our own. Paper Doll is known for Pictionary skills so poor that my freehand cows, cars and maps of the United States are largely indistinguishable. For people like me, there's a better way.

Unlike IdeaPaint, which paints a color onto a surface to turn it into a dry-erase board, Wink (Walls Love Ink) creates a clear coating over whatever painted or paintable surface you already have. So if you've got your own perfectly-blended proprietary shade of pink (and seriously, who doesn't?) and want to mind-map your big ideas, you can make it all write-on/wipe-off with the application of one clear coat of Wink.

Wink is a low-VOC (volatile organic compound), water-based, environmentally-friendly, odorless product. One $175 kit covers up to 90 square feet and appears pretty easy to apply. However, Wink's web site says that it should be mixed and "installed" (I think you and I would say applied) only by professional installers. Make of that what you will.

Wink is currently available only in the United States.


WallPops makes dry-erase calendars and removable wall decals for organizing your time and space with color and flair. Their mix-and-match peel-and-stick design elements of dots, stripes and squiggles can be used purely for aesthetic purposes, for offices, nurseries, playrooms and elsewhere:

However, the options for organized messaging and planning really caught Paper Doll's design eye. For simple reminders, 13" re-positionable/removable, write-on/dry-erase dots ($14.99 for a set of three)

and 13" x 17 3/4" dry-erase bordered-boards ($14.99/board)

with whimsical names and zippy colors will snazz things up. The dry-erase calendars ($11.99-14.99), also 13" x 17 3/4", can be used on their own,

in multiple-month sets ($20.99),

and/or in tandem with the similarly-themed dots and borders, to create colorful, unified themes. And for those who prefer free-style to traditional calendaring, WallPops makes write-on/wipe-off Apps Weekly Dots

and day-of-the-week Holiday Dots (both 14.99 for sets of eight 4" dots on two 13" x 13" adhesive sheets).

All WallPop dry-erase items come with a dry-erase marker.

Will all of these glorious options, how could anyone ever dare to say that organizing is about as much fun as watching paint dry?

posted on: 2/7/2012 10:30:00 AM by Julie Bestry
category: Paper

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Discuss This Post

by dava on 2/7/2012 11:06:39 AM:

You cannot even begin to imagine how much I want all of those. However, instead of helping me be organized and MORE productive, a dry erase WALL would encourage me to doodle all day...

by Janice Simon on 2/7/2012 11:09:33 AM:

Great post! I used chalkboard paint in my home office before the chalkboard decals came out. I've recommended the dry erase and chalkboard decals to my clients who want a writing surface in the kitchen and other rooms.

by Julie Bestry (Paper Doll) on 2/7/2012 9:25:17 PM:

But Dava, maybe you could doodle productively, mind-mapping your way to fame and fortune? And Janice, shhhhhhh! Don't give away next week's post secrets! :-)

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Paper Doll, Tackling The Stacks And Piles

by Julie Bestry

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Julie Bestry, President of Best Results Organizing in Chattanooga, TN, is a Certified Professional Organizer®, speaker and author. Julie helps overwhelmed individuals and businesses save time and money, reduce stress and increase productivity through new organizational skills and systems.

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