Ideas, Portfolio

Dry erase shipping containers

custom boxcar by eliot!

Delible Goods, 2015

This was a project I had been thinking about for a while but finally came together last summer. I really like shipping containers and graffiti so I wanted to make a reusable canvas you could doodle on.

Model train scales

I originally started looking at possible graffiti targets after seeing the above display at the Colorado Model Railroad Museum. Because if you’re going to doodle on a model, might as well be the largest scale, G. Unfortunately I wasn’t able to find box cars that were both inexpensive (train modelers pay a premium for accurate detail) and with minimal corrugation. So shelved it for a while.

That was until I saw the DC2 Kickstarter which put small computers inside of shipping containers and started looking for model shipping containers instead of box cars. The G scale containers are much cheaper since they don’t have all the running gear attached and I found one with flat sides!

Krylon dry-erase

I used Krylon Dry Erase paint. I followed the instructions exactly with multiple coats and a long cure time. Dry erase markers are notorious for ghosting and not fully erasing so I wanted to make sure I had the ideal surface finish. I chose clear instead of white because I was worried about the coat being too thick and looking like it had be painted but the clear did yellow a bit.

Maersk dry-erase container

I also laser cut a marker caddy that stows inside the shipping container. Above is my first test piece with shipping company Maersk’s logo.

MTA tribute

My second test was an attempt at a little MTA tribute since I’ve always loved their LA River blockbuster.


cnelson commissioned me to make a container as well, so I temporarily had a second one available to build a mini stage for Balsa Man.


Finally, here’s an awesome pizzabagel piece by pinguino.

Thoughts on the future of this project:

I have a smaller set of dry erase markers and cleaning supplies I need to design a new caddy for. Properly cleaning the canvas seems more important on this than most white boards.

Ideally the container would be manufactured out of a plastic that’s meant for dry erase markers (which I think just means white and non-porous).

cnelson was going to get a G scale container carrier and track to use as a stand which I think is a great idea.

Prior art:

Tagging scale model items shows up in graffiti gallery shows from time to time and there are several commercial products you can buy along those lines. Dumpsty makes mini dumpsters you can tag. Boundless Brooklyn makes papercraft water towers and billboards.


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