"What one can see out in the sunlight is always less interesting than what is behind a windowpane."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Magnetic Memory Board Tutorial

Today was my first attempt at making a magnetic memory board and I'm very happy with the results. I took pictures along the way so you could make one too!

First, decide how you want to frame your board, if at all. After searching countless thrift and craft stores, I finally decided to just take the picture frame off my own bedroom wall. Shhhh....don't tell Ted. He doesn't know yet!

Next, a trip to Lowes was in order. I bought a 24 x 30 piece of galvanized steel. Very important: Make sure it's NOT aluminum. Magnets will not stick to aluminum. While there, you may also want to either buy your own tin cutters or ask if they'll cut it down for you to size. Also, be very careful. Once the metal has been cut, it's very sharp.

I had two choices. I could either just cover this and have a huge magnetic board in Mary's room or put it in the frame I pilfered from my bedroom. Although the idea of her having more space was tempting, I chose the frame. It's much prettier and at 22 1/2" x 18", it's still a good size, yet wouldn't overwhelm the room.

Using a permanent marker, cut out the size needed (I just traced the cardboard backing that was already in my frame).

While researching how to make these, one tutorial used just scissors to cut the steel. This person must have had an extremely flimsy sheet because I could just about cut it with the snippers.

Surprise, surprise. Mary picked the color pink for her board. After spray painting it, I lightly sanded it and distressed it with Walnut Ink. This was very faint though. Mary doesn't like the distressed look. But, a little shabby chic never hurt anyone!

Next, choosing a fabric. Would Mary like a spring green to complement the pink or a pale pink to enhance the frame? Do I even need to ask?

Make sure to iron it!

With steel, both sides are magnetic, so it doesn't matter which side you choose for the front. Using Aileen's Tacky Glue, I attached the fabric to the sheet.

Then I made sure to pull it very tight and fold it on the back. I kept it together using double-sided tape, but I'm sure hot glue would work just as well. It doesn't matter that this part doesn't look pretty. What matters is that the front is taut to prevent bubbles.

Almost finished....

Maybe I was getting carried away, but I thought it needed a teeny weeny bit more texture so I added white lace.

What makes this even more special is that the kids made bottle cap magnets, using images from old children's books. There's even a picture of Mary in one.

It'll probably be another month or so before the attic is finally finished being renovated, but when it is, we'll be ready!

The only difficult part about this project was cutting the steel, but it was still doable and worth it in the long run. I still have almost half the steel left over to make smaller boards and I finally got to use some of my pretty toile that's just been sitting in a cabinet. And I love that the kids' bottlecap magnets are part of this project too. If you've got any questions about this project, just send me a line and I'll be happy to help.

Happy Crafting!


  1. Oooo I like this Jill.Good gift.My daughters I know would like this for their home's.Thank you-Denise

    1. Totally perfect. I'm definitely impressed and the fabric and lace trim wrapped around your steel adds the perfect touch. LOVE it!

  2. Great project, I never thought of buying the metal at Lowes, I've seen small pieces cut at the craft stores & there always so expensive.
    Has hubby noticed the missing frame yet? too funny!
    hugs Lynn

  3. Yes, he noticed the missing frame when he read this blog! He likes the project though so no harm done. The metal from Lowes was about $21.00. Considering how big it is, I thought it was worth the price. I still have lots left over for smaller versions.

  4. This is very cute! I saw on Pinterest where you can use metal cookie sheets-no cutting required. I had to cut the tin for the kitchen and its so sharp.

  5. I love this. You are so creative. There will be no stepping on tacks in mary's room. Magnets are so much safer!

  6. Project well done! It looks like it was fairly simple, and I sure love the fabric you used! Hugs, Diane

  7. Hey Jill I have been trying to comment for the longest time having stupid blogger problems AGAIN!! I love your recipe booklet you made for Mary!! and this board is so pretty. I like it with the lace it softens it up. Been missing you girl!! Love ya, XO Aunt Frannie

  8. You always come up with the greatest ideas Jill!!!! The lace was a nice touch and the toile is so pretty. Love the kids bottle cap magnets, what a great finishing touch. Beautiful job as always!


  9. I know i thought the same thing who would have ever kept these butter boxes, so when I see stuff like that i usually buy it knowing that there is not much out there.I paid $1.50 for the lot! LOL ox