DIY Magnet Board

I am trying my best to get this house more organized and efficient.  This is not a natural thing for me. Tim kindly calls me an “artist” whenever he comes home and sees the house in shambles and the kids smiling proudly up at him showing off their latest project. I am usually smiling sheepishly from behind the kids (cute kids are a very effective line of defense against a frustrated spouse). I found this at u-createcrafts and pinned it immediately because it is so true. If there is a creative and clean person out there I bet he or she is best friends with the Abominable Snowman and vacations at the loch where Nessie resides.



I am just not a neat person. I have tried in the past and have failed. I always start off strong and then end up with a mound of clutter anyway. This problem is very much akin to my dieting rollercoaster. I start out great but I am just one block of cheese and bottle of wine away from total submission to my old indulgent ways. This year I am setting a totally achievable goal. I am going to organize and find ways to control the clutter, one “zone” at a time. If I were Beth, I would call it zone defense  Defense against chaos….

Last weekend we conquered the door leading into the garage. Yeah. Our house is so out of control that a garage door needs to be de-cluttered  Our garage door is steel thus making it magnetic. I try to keep the fridge free of the kids art so I can hang notes, shopping lists and the kids calendars on the very visible surface to help me keep my daily shuttle/chauffeur service organized. Because I don’t let the kids hang up art on the fridge, the door to the garage had been taken over by daily art projects and the boys’ chore sticker chart. This next photo was taken this past July. See how paper covered the door was? July means no school. Imagine it what it looked like since the beginning of school when each of the boys brought home folders full of art almost daily. There is a reason I couldn’t find a more recent photo and it is because I always made sure the door wasn’t in the background of any picture I took.

It worked okay most of the time except for when the magnets fell and a pile of papers would collect on the floor and then our drippy snow boots would mat the paper into a what looked like a papier-mâché project. (Oooo… papier-mâché. The kids would love doing that!) I want them to be able to hang up their work with pride, I just don’t want a pile of construction paper, glitter and googly eyes to be our door mat when you enter the house.

So all that said, when we sold the piano and I started to sketch up an idea of what I wanted the play room to look like I added a cork board perpendicular to the desk. This would give a designated area for the kids to hang their art in a place out of the way but also in a place where, hopefully, it will inspire them to create more art.


Tim quickly put the kibosh on the cork board by pointing out that cork board meant thumb tacks. I believe it was he who suggested a magnet board.  I started this whole process by researching magnetic paint which is semi new but has become quite popular in the blogisphere (see how cute these bloggers magnetic paint project turned out?). The reviews were inconsistent except for the fact that you needed at least 4 coats of the paint to get a decent power of magnetism. I didn’t want to go through the whole process of sanding, priming and painting (4 times!) a piece of plywood and then not have it work so we went with sheet metal. Plus, the wall that we were going to hang the magnet board on has heating ducts running through it, so we knew we wouldn’t be able to hang a big heavy thing up that required anchors that went through the middle of the wall. We have very limited area of where we could screw into the wall and to make sure the board stayed up it had to be light enough that it didn’t need a middle anchor and plywood is many things but light weight, it is not.

We found magnetic galvanized sheet metal at Home Depot for $9 bucks a piece measuring in at 2×3 feet. We let the size of the sheet metal dictate the size of the board because we didn’t want to buy or deal with trimming the metal down. I duct taped the seam down the middle on a flat surface.

Tim measured and cut 1x3s for the frame and we opted for a simple face frame corners instead of a mitered corners, for ease and because I love the simple style. Tim cut the frame so there would be an inch of steel to overlap the inside the frame. I Kreg Jigged (yeah Kreg Jig is a noun and verb because it is so awesome) it together and primed and painted it with the bottomless can of glossy white paint we always have on hand.

When all was dry Tim centred the steel on the back and I put a few pieces of duct tape around the sides to keep it from shifting while Tim nailed the steel into the frame. It looks a little ghetto but it worked.

After it was pieced together we used heavy-duty 75lb drywall anchors (the studs didn’t allow for a centered Magnet board and I wanted the screws to be in the corners away from the heating ducts and because it looks better that way!) and attached it to the wall checking for center.

It is a bit high for the kids to reach but the boys can pull up a chair or stool and easily reach and Elise doesn’t really create anything worth hanging. JUST KIDDING! I love how she scribbles on one corner of a page and then she chucks it aside and starts another. Sometimes a started project isn’t worth finishing. I get that. Even if she only colors the hair of a horse picture pink and says “Horsey all done now” she still wants to display her masterpiece so I lift her up and she magnets (also a verb now) it to our ever-growing collection of home-made art.

More playroom progress here and photos here and here.

3 thoughts on “DIY Magnet Board

  1. Jess

    That is COOL! Hey, we (Kyle) needs a Kreg Jig tutorial. The first time we (Kyle) used our Kreg Jig, we put a hole IN the Kreg Jig USING the Kreg Jig. So clearly we don’t know how to use it and I’m not sure if it even works anymore. But I really want a new desk for my office AND new kitchen table, so we have to get this figured out.

  2. meg

    Lol. Oh Kyle. Was he drinking his homemade wine at the time?! My kreg jig came with a dvd tutorial that was really helpful. It is a little overwhelming at first but now I rarely build without it. I would. Heck you tube for videos too.

  3. Jess

    Oh, yes, we got the DVD as well…and, still, it has not been watched. On future new tool occasions, I’m holding the tool ransom until we have movie night with the instructional DVD 😉

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