DIY Magnet Craft Ideas

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Decorating your home with art can be easy when you use magnets. Sure, you know about refrigerator magnets, but you don't need to restrict yourself to the icebox to use magnets in a festive or artistic display. With a little creativity and a few supplies, you can employ magnets as the default anchoring devices on items like:

  • Metal bookshelves
  • Whiteboards
  • Utility cabinets
  • File cabinets
  • Toolboxes
  • Metal photo frames

That's not all. You can even buy special magnetic primer (or paint) designed to hold magnets in place. It can turn an entire wall into a canvas for magnet based art objects. When you start looking at magnets as anchoring devices instead of kitchy trinkets, it'll open up a wholenew worldof possibilities.


Materials Needed for Magnet Crafts & Décor

The supply list is pretty brief, but that's because you don't need much to turn a magnet into art:

  • Magnets - Most hardware, office supply stores and craft outlets sell magnets. You can even use repurposed magnets like those ugly refrigerator business cards. If you're turning a heavier object into magnet art, you may need to assemble it using either multiple magnets or a larger strip magnet, though. This is usually a trial and error process. If what you're building doesn't hold the way you'd like with one small magnet, add another -- and another -- until you get the adhesion (sticking power) you need.
  • Glue - A decorative magnet is only as good as the glue holding it together. If you're planning to make magnet art using anything heavier than a sheet of paper or photograph, choose strong glue. White craft clue (the kind sold in a squeeze bottle) doesn't have the holding power of hot glue (applied with a glue gun), or other heavy duty glue.
  • Decorative or functional elements - This is the fun part. You can make just about anything into a magnet.

How to Make a Basic Refrigerator Magnet

The big challenge when making decorative or functional magnets is to affix the surface pieces to the magnet in a way that will keep them stable until the glue hardens. Sometimes using a flat surface is enough to insure good contact. Occasionally, though, you may need to use clips or clamps. A simple wooden clothespin can make an effective clamp. Be sure to keep a few on hand just in case. They're handy for other uses too, and often provide the perfect amount of pressure to hold a magnet until the glue dries. For larger jobs, you can also employ standard woodworking clamps.

  • Assemble your elements. This includes a magnet (or group of magnets) you think will be adequate to hold the finished piece, as well as glue and decorative essentials like paper, ribbon, feathers, stones or shells.
  • Make sure you have plenty of space to work. You may have to audition multiple elements before you find a pleasing combination, so have room to spread out. A kitchen countertop may look like a good spot for this, but if you use a countertop or table, cover it with a sheet of plywood or other protective material that will confine drips and protect valuable surfaces from heat, scratches and other mishaps. If you're using a glue gun, your workspace should also be close to an electrical outlet.
  • Leave finished projects undisturbed for a few hours. Even when completed magnet art looks firmly glued in place, appearances can be deceptive. Choose a work location where you can keep projects undisturbed overnight or for at least four hours.

Fun Magnet Ideas

Just about anything that isn't very heavy or doesn't require refrigeration can used in a magnet. Here are some suggestions:

  • Buttons
  • Coloring book pages
  • Costume jewelry
  • Decorative rocks or gems from the jewelry making aisle of your craft store
  • Drawings
  • Dried or silk flowers
  • Holiday ornaments
  • Knitted or quilted pieces like pincushions or pieced sample blocks
  • Miniatures
  • Natural elements like acorns, pinecones, seeds, twigs and dried leaves
  • Photos
  • Prisms
  • Ribbon bows (or decorative knots)
  • Small dolls
  • Small plush toys
  • Wine corks
Last Updated: January 28, 2013
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About Sara Elliot Sara Elliott is a freelance copywriter and dedicated blogger. Her popular gardening, cooking and crafting blog, The Herb Gardener, was cited by The Wall Street Journal for its fun and frugal tips. Sara has a degree in English, and you can find her health, crafting, and lifestyle pieces on sites like DiscoveryHealth.com, HowStuffWorks.com, Savvi.com and TLC.com.

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