Make Your Own Magnet Board

posted by Rhiannon


My sister and I both collect magnets from our travels.  So a couple of years ago during our family "Make-it-Yourself" Christmas, I made her a magnet display frame.  I was in love with the way it turned out and seriously considered keeping it for myself.  I gave it to her like a good sister should, but still secretly think about stealing it off her wall every time I go to visit.  (Sorry sis, now you know).

The Original Rhi Magnet Board

So years later, I have finally gotten around to making one for myself!! Yay!!! didn't go exactly as planned.  Let me explain:

I started with a frame from the Goodwill.  They had a huge selection and I finally settled on this 20x30 beauty for $8.99.  (I still have the print if anyone is interested...I'll give you a good deal.)

Once I removed the print and the glass from the frame, I was ready to start painting. I chose a Valspar (of course) spray paint color called "Vanilla".  This Valspar spray paint is the best spray paint I've ever used. Trust me...not all spray paints are made equal.  

Painting tip #1: If you are ever painting frames, stick several pins in the back so the frame will be slightly elevated off the ground.  This will help to get even coverage all the way around the frame, and prevent the paint from "gluing" your frame to you painting surface (yep, one of those "Live and Learn" situations for me)

After the frame was painted and drying, I started on the "magnetic" part.  My sister's board was made with an actual piece of metal that I had cut at a scrapyard in the town where we used to live. After calling every metal shop in our current town, I could not find ANYONE who would cut metal for me. FAIL #1!!!

So I opted to give the Rust-Oleum magnetic paint a try.   

I picked up this illustration board from the craft store to use as the base for the magnetic paint.  It was thick and sturdy and, lucky for me, it was exactly 20x30 - the size of my frame. Jackpot.

I opened the can of magnetic primer and people, this stuff was like TAR.  I spent about 15 minutes stirring, and stirring, and stirring this stuff to get it to a smooth consistency.  In hindsight, I should have had the people at Lowe's run it through the paint shaker machine. and learn. 

Painting Tip #2: Instead of drop cloths, I use an old vinyl shower curtain liner or a vinyl tablecloth. These are heavy with no fear of paint leaking through, they don't get stuck in the paint, and can be used over and over again.

Kind of like Where's Waldo...if you look closely, you will see my trusty blue shower curtain in more than one post. (Here, and here, and here...)

Following the instructions, I rolled on the magnetic paint with a high-density foam roller.  The instructions also said to wait 30 minutes between coats and apply at least three coats. Check.

Painting Tip #3:  If you have to leave your paint tray/roller/brushes for any amount of time and don't want them to dry out, put them in a trash bag and seal it up tight.  Seriously, I have left paint "sealed" like this for several days before being able to go back for touch ups and the paint is just like new.  Thanks Mom for this one!!

After the first three coats of magnetic paint had dried, I gave it a try.  FAIL #2.  The magnets wouldn't stick.  I went back and added another two coats of magnetic paint. That ought to do the trick.

I let it dry, put everything together, and FAIL heavy magnets still won't stick. @!$%!

I went online to read the reviews for the Magnetic Paint (yes...after the fact. I told you...Live and Learn) and saw that almost everyone had the same problem.  Sorry folks.  Be warned.  This stuff just doesn't work as advertised.

But in the end, here is the finished product. I really love the way it looks, even if it doesn't work quite the way I had hoped.

The New and (not so) Improved Rhi Magnet Board

I especially love the way the frame turned out. You can see some of the frame's gorgeous detail below.

Because I can only put a few of my lighter magnets on the board, I have my dad - who knows everyone who ever knew anyone - on the hunt for a true piece of metal that I can put in my frame.  Until then..this will have to work...unless I steal my sisters :)


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