Tuesday, February 10, 2009

crafty magnets


i was at a specialty store in december that carried a random assortment of adorable things. a ceramic mug shaped like a to go cup - with silicone lid! ice cube holders that make diamond and gemstone shaped ice. not everything was totally unique, but it was such a cute little shop and it was there that i found some glass topped magnets with little pictures magnified in them. i've seen them before, but these ones had adorable little pictures of scooters (like a vespa, but not) and i knew the perfect person that would have loved them. he had recently done something very nice for me and even though we often do things for each other (so often that he had asked to stop the back and forth thank yous that go along with these favors), it was above and beyond and i figured this was just a small little token of gratitude. but then i saw that for four tiny magnets, it would be $14. now this friend means a lot to me...but if i was going to break the rules and get a gift, it would have to be for more than 4 magnets at $3.50 each (um, i totally used a calculator to figure that out).

days later i was still thinking about these cute little magnets. there weren't just scooters. there were pictures of flowers and patterns and animals and they came in different sizes and...and who ever thought magnets could get a person this excited?

so i did what anyone obsessed with the internet would do and searched for a tutorial or some project similar to make my own. well, i found all sorts of information! feel free to google marble magnets - you'll see that there are a lot of people making these little guys. i'm not taking credit for coming up with the idea or how to do them...but i also don't know who exactly to give credit to. so i'll give a run down here on how to make them and you can go in search of detailed tutorials with pictures and other suggestions if you so desire :)

this is my technique. you might find a way to do it better, but this does the trick for me.

marble magnets
3/4" craft magnets
clear glass flat back marbles
magazines (shiny paper worked best for me)
E6000 glue
3/4" hole punch and/or scissors

1. using hole punch or scissors, cut out small picture circles from magazines
(to see what works, use a marble to see how magnified something will be - you'd be surprised)
2. place a dot or so of glue on a magnet and sandwich the glued side between another magnet
3. twist to coat both, then pull apart (this squish, twist, and pull apart should take 5 seconds or so)
4. cover and center the glued side of the magnets with your chosen picture circles
5. allow to dry for a minute or so, just to set
6. repeat the squish, twist, and pull routine with two glass marbles
7. pressing firmly, attach and center the glue backed marbles to the picture/magnets
8. allow to dry fully before hanging on a magnetic surface

*the hole punch might be pricey (about $7), but it is much easier and neater than cutting circles with scissors
*flip the hole punch upside down so you can see what you're cutting out
*check the back of the marbles - the ones with "veins" don't look as nice as the smoother ones
i used marbles that are mostly round (or, you can find plastic ones online that are perfect circles)
use magazines! in trying to do this as a replacement for the marbles in the store, i found great pictures of scooters and printed them. inkjet on regular paper, laser on cover stock, photo printer and glossy paper...nothing worked! the E6000 is strong stuff and bled through everything but the shiny magazine paper.

i loved this project so much that i couldn't wait to start. in fact, husband and i got snowed out while driving near chicago and had to stay in a hotel over night. there was a walmarts across that there street and i went and bought all of the supplies. that night i made my first four magnets in a tiny hotel room. hello glue fumes, welcome to my lungs!

pouches to hold the magnet sets

after making those four, i knew i wanted to make more for my friends and family. i spent lots of time customizing these with printed pictures meant for each of the intended recipients. then i found that the prints didn't work so i just started punching patterns from old magazines. ads worked really well and soon i had made about 70 magnets.

but how to package these magnets? in the store, the magnets came in a rectangular magnetic box. i didn't have any of those...but i was quickly inspired by a starbucks gift card i received. it came in this adorable knitted pouch-like envelope complete with a button! i bought glittery felt, fancy buttons and metallic red embroidery thread and made little pouches for all of my magnte sets.

i'm sure based on the picture you can figure it out, but let me know if you'd like a tutorial :)

sister and mom sewing pouches

no i did not make workers out of my family (i have done this in the past). after giving them their magnets, they couldn't wait to make their own so i taught sister and mom how to make both projects. we used one of mom's hospital uniform catalogs and found some great patterns. it is so funny where some of the pictures came from. bedding catalogs, old calendars, fashion magazines and even food ones!

did you know that this particular pattern came from a KY ad?

i also taught this craft at my soap making class. while the soaps were freezing i laid out piles of magazines and let my class have at them. when i mentioned i had read that pennies are the perfect size for the magnet, they couldn't resist. and it's true! in no time there was a beautiful set of 4 shiny penny magnets.

in total, i made about 125 magnets over december and january. its now one of my most favorite projects. husband liked them too. when i first made all those magnets i put them on our fridge. as i gave them, set by set, away as gifts, husband noted that i needed to make more to fill the void...he did not offer to make his own.

(as a final note, friend, if you read this...which he might...know that i am sorry that you didn't get scooter magnets)


Meg said...

How come I didn't get any magnets?

alauna said...

i pwomise i didn't forget. it's more that i just don't love you as much as everyone else.

anyway, technically you almost did. they were even IN your apartment on new years. but i forgot to leave them there (or give them to you at any other time during the ENTIRE time home). i still have them saved for you :)

Meg said...

Ok good, because in case you didn't notice my fridge magnets consist of one large magnet that I covered in yellow tape and cut into pieces. I am in serious need of something cuter.

Becca said...

Hey this is Rebecca! Wow your blog looks super flash - and I believe on your tracker thingy that I am "Auckland, NZ" which isn't REALLY correct, but I suppose it's pretty close! LOL.

I see you love both WACOM intuos tablet - have one, almost never use it. : ( And illustrator - which I also have and almost never use. Do you use them together, or do you use your tablet with photoshop? I need to get back into the designing/sketching/sewing groove, except I need to finish my damn thesis first (hence the not using any of my techy design stuff)... I actually find myself wishing I had access to U4ia!!!

Anyways, I'm so jealous of your crafting sewing baking photography because I wish to do ALL of those things... Except I decided to move to NZ and do a thesis instead! : ) I guess I'll live!

Meg said...

Just a quick reminder to bring me my magnets when you are home in June. I remembered after seeing the ones on your giveaway post.

I really like them, and I want them right now!!! :)