Sign In to join the community | Help
Project Ideas: Fun & Games

How to Make a Large Magnet Board

One of the most fun projects you can do is to make a magnetic board. In this post, I'll go over how to make a large format magnet board step by step. Let's get started!




STEP 1: With starting any large unique project, always first sketch out the design of what you'd like as the final image. 

This helps immensely, as you can see the details easier. In this case, creating a U.S. map from scratch was made easier with showing measurements and information as well.

STEP 2: Next, you will want to take your supplies list and head down to your local Home Depot and pick up all of your tools and materials. Don't forget to have the good folks at the paint department mix up all your paint and primer before you leave. This is especially important for the primer.

Once you've obtained all of your items, bring the plywood sheet to your work space and lie it down flat on a workable surface.

STEP 3: Once you've found a workable flat space for the plywood, use your measuring tape and pencil and mark 6 small X's (shown below).  You'll mark 4 X's near the corners and 2 in the upper and middle sections when you use a drill bit on them for the pilot holes.

This is so that the screws that will fasten it to the wall can go through the plywood without significant damage to it.


STEP 4: With the cordless drill and small bit (1/4"), drill through the 6 'X' marks.

STEP 5: After making sure the holes are all properly drilled, you will now use a power sander or sandpaper to sand the edges of the plywood and holes. Use a medium-grit sandpaper, and make sure to do multiple passes to ensure all areas are smooth.

STEP 6: After removing the sawdust from the plywood using paper or shop towels, now you are ready to apply the magnetic primer. This is the most important step of the entire project and the primer must be in good condition to effectively magnetize the plywood sheet.

Making sure the magnetic primer is flowing freely without clumping or thickness is important to getting the best out of it. To do this, make sure the primer has been mixed (shaken) at your local Home Depot for at least 3 minutes minimum before using it. 

Even though it has been thoroughly mixed via a paint shaker at the store, you'll need to get some paint stirring sticks handy to ensure none of the metallic elements in the primer settles afterwards.

Stir constantly before and during application so you'll get smooth thin coats. 

Using your foam roller and tray, apply the magnetic primer in a thin coat. Allow to dry at least an hour for the first coat.

Unlike other oil or latex based primers, this special magnetic type requires at least 3 coats for it work properly. With that said, 2 quarts are needed to cover the entire front face of the plywood sheet.

 If done properly,  you can do 3 good consistent coats, and then do 2 more to ensure all areas are covered.

The key is to constantly stir the primer as well use thin coats only after the previous coat is completely dry. Be patient at this step; it will serve you well when the magnets and top coats of paint  are on it later.

STEP 7: After ensuring that the primer is completely dry, you can now begin to top coat the primer and plywood. 

For my map, I started with using the blue (ocean) paint first, covering everything using foam rollers. 

After 2 coats and ensuring the paint was dry, I then used my pencil to draw out the contour of the U.S. as well as Canada and Mexico. Use a reference as a guide, be it a detailed map. The key is broad lines, fitting in every nook and cranny of seashore is next to impossible.

At this point, use the painters tape and leave a 6 inch strip that you will paint black at the top. Also,  point, you can 'test' the plywood, magnetic primer, and paint top coat by placing a magnet on it to ensure it works properly.

STEP 8: Using the artist painters brush, use the green paint to fill in the U.S. map and then roller for the larger areas. Repeat the same pattern for the grey paint for Canada and Mexico. Use a small marker to create basic contour lines for the borders of all countries.

STEP 9: Once all 4 colors (blue, grey, blue, and the top black strip) are dry, you can now use a wide but fine tip chisel marker to make thick contour lines around the country borders. You'll be going over the thinner lines you previously created.

STEP 10: Now that the map is complete, you can turn  your attention to the black strip and place the letters using the stencils. Use a straight piece of painters tape at the bottom so that the base line of the stencil letters are uniform. 

Wearing gloves and using plenty of tape and a paint shield, you can now apply the letters using the spray paint.

STEP 11: After ensuring that the letters are dry, carefully remove the tape and touch up any areas with the left over paint you should still have. 

STEP 12: Finally, mount the magnet board using 6 screws, going through the pilot holes you created earlier. Start with the top middle screw, so you can adjust for levelness. 

Place the rest of the magnets you'd like to put up, and enjoy your new magnet board!

Since this is a custom and unique project, you can always alter the sizes, colors, or even format of your choice. I have seen a lot of people choosing to place Rust-Oleum's Dry Erase paint on top of the magnetic primer, or even chalkboard paint.

In whatever option you choose, if you decide to use magnetic primer, a top coat must be applied in order for it to function properly over time. In fact, you don't even necessarily have to use a plywood sheet, any wall in your home can work as a surface as long as its level and clean first.

And lastly, while you could find a 4ft. x 8 ft. sheet of metal, the price and ease of use factored into myself personally choosing plywood over other materials as a suitable base.

Let us know if you have any further questions regarding this or any project you see here on the community.


Not what you were looking for ? Try posting a question
Posted 2015-08-08T21:22:19+0000  by Joseph_HD_ATL Joseph_HD_ATL