More Than Just a Mere Magnet

Potential Magnets

by Sarah Franzen

Accessories can make a big impact and drastically change the appearance of even mundane objects.  Magnets would fall into this category; they are an often overlooked little addition that can dress up your newly created Magnet Board, your refrigerator door, or the inside of your cubicle on the desk and file cabinet.  Some people are fortunate to find that the doors in their house are actually made of metal, providing a handy place to leave reminder notes and help decorate for the holidays.  Rather than shopping for generic magnets, why not make your own? It’s a fun and easy project that can really add some pizzazz.

Basically with this one, your imagination is the limit.  You can attach magnets to the back of almost anything of reasonable size.  Plain magnets can be purchased in the craft section or home improvement area of most stores.  They sell packages of various shapes and sizes from industrial strength squares, to tiny circles for more delicate work.  Sites such as Amazon also offer a plethora of choices.  To help cut down on cost and trash, save the magnets you receive in the mail from advertising.  Generally these are quite thin and can be easily trimmed.  Additionally, magnetic tape is available; one side is adhesive and you can cut the pieces to your desired length.  The tape, however, is generally geared for lighter applications and may not be strong enough depending on the magnets you wish to create.  Personally, I try to keep several styles and strengths of magnets in my craft arsenal to be used at any given time.

Miscellaneous Objects

Some of the more traditional ideas of magnets can easily be achieved with a little hot glue and a few of those treasured items that you just can’t throw away, but really don’t have any use for, such as:

bottle caps, loner buttons, a pretty rock you found while walking, old watch faces, pieces from a board game, dice, seashells, key chains, souvenirs, discarded costume jewelry, and embroidered patches that didn’t quite make it on your vest years ago.

Go with a Theme

Another idea is to create a set of magnets centered around a theme.  Use doll accessories to make a fun collection of shoes and handbags, for the guys, try toy cars or plastic army men. The miniature section of the hobby store near the model trains and doll houses is a great resource with a myriad of unexpected things, as well.  If you are feeling a little more ambitious, find a cheap chess set or pick one up at a garage sale.  A magnet can be glued to the bottom of each piece.  To complete the effect, paint or tape-off your magnetic surface to resemble a chess board.  When friends come over you can move away the notes and other items and have a quick game of vertical chess on the wall.

Added Function

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Magnets can also be modified to increase functionality. For example, find small containers that seal well to hold your favorite spices; with a magnet attached to the back they are always within close reach on the refrigerator.   We didn’t have a convenient place to keep our clothespins in between uses, so we added magnets and keep them along the side of our washing machine.  In the office area, magnets can be attached to the backs of notepads, on the caps of pens, or on an entire cup to add extra storage for rubber bands, scissors, and reading glasses.  A large flat magnet allows paperclips to be kept in one easy to access area.  The same idea is great for sewing needles, bobby pins, nails, or nuts and bolts.  I really enjoy implementing these types of enhancements because they keep my desk clutter-free, yet the items are readily available up on the magnet board.

Many of us (ladies in particular) have several items we use daily to get ready in the mornings.  Here are a few solutions where people have incorporated magnets on the backs of their cosmetics and nail polish to help keep them organized and make it easy to pick out favorite shades.

Holiday Decoration

The final suggestion can be seasonal or change with the holidays.  Silk flowers and leaves make wonderful magnets and can really brighten up a space with some much needed color.   Holiday decorations are great to use, as well.  You can find incredible deals at the post-holiday sales to be prepared for next year, or often the dollar stores will have party favors that can be easily modified to attach magnets.  You can always cut out your own items like hearts and shamrocks from poster board or buy the small pre-cut wood pieces that can be painted and personalized.  Every member of the family can have an individual magnet with his or her name on it to display work from school or leave notes and to-do lists for each other.  For the projects here, hot glue is my go-to adhesive, but you may need to experiment a little if you are using delicate materials or need a heavy-duty bond.

These are just a few of the endless ways you can spice up your space with magnets.  They add an element of whimsy and of course are also useful.  I’d love to hear your ideas and see your creations.  Feel free to share them below or send me an email.

Sources: Laura Thoughts and Money Saving Queen

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