What do you use for portable wall space?

Note: This post is over 4 years old. It was first published in June 2010

Daylight Ikea hack
Image credit: Daylight Design

The trouble with being a User Experience specialist is the amount of wall space you need. In an ideal world, you’d set up a war room for each project, where all your materials can stay permanently stuck on the walls. Most of the time, that’s not possible – other people in your company need to use the meeting rooms too! This is where the need for portable wall space comes in. Here are some suggestions:

Foam board (aka Foamcore)

  • Sheets of white cardboard with polystyrene sandwiched in the middle. Normally used by artists to mount photos, etc.
  • Strengths: light, but rigid. Reusable. Check out this neat ikea-hack by Daylight (pictured above) if you need a stand for your boards.
  • Weaknesses: not cheap but stationary shops may have slightly damaged items at a reduced price. (A small dent in the corner makes a mounting board useless for mounting art, but it’s still great as a portable wall surface for your needs.)


Butcher paper (aka Kraft paper)

  • Huge rolls of thick paper (traditionally used by butchers to wrap meat).
  • When you get kicked out of the meeting room, you roll up your paper and take it with you. It’s easy enough to unroll and stick to another wall – provided you have the space!
  • Strengths: it’s damn cheap
  • Weaknesses: heavy, so needs strong anchoring to the wall using tape or loads of blutack. This can ruin painted walls.


Pattern cutting paper

  • It comes on a huge roll, like butcher paper, but with a dotted grid marked on it. (Recommended by Paul Thurston of Think Public)
  • Strengths: Cheap, and the grid is helpful for sketching UIs
  • Weaknesses: It’s heavy, like butcher paper.


3M “Self-Stick Wall Pads”


So, what do you use for portable wall space? Suggestions in the comments, please!

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