Kid’s Magnet Board

I finally finished a project that was way too long in the making. It actually went through several concepts and incarnations before I got to the final product. I wanted to make a magnet board for the kids that I could keep in the ‘monkey cave’ in their room.  I’ll go into more detail on monkey cave another day, but basically it is a second closet in their room that we converted into a little play area for them.

The first magnet board concept was a board painted with magnetic paint. I went to Home Depot and they actually had 2′ x 4′ sheets of craft wood that was thin, durable and fairly smooth. They cut it into two 2′ x 2′ squares for me and I painted them with magnetic paint.

I did two coats of the magnetic paint with a small roller. Once that had dried, I painted 2 thin layers of paint I had used for my pantry. I used as little paint as possible for this part because the magnetic paint loses some of its’ magnetic properties under too many layers of latex paint. My plan was to add some decorative trim around the edges and have a cute and finished looking magnet board. Before I was able to complete that step, I came across this at a yard sale:

It’s a large cabinet door front that was just begging to be up-cycled into something fun. I actually got 3 cabinet door fronts in different sizes and I have no idea what the other 2 will turn into yet. Pretty much as soon as I got home from the yard sale, I took the hardware off of one and sanded the door front.

After that, I applied a couple of layers of Kilz primer. Now learn from me here, people. I did NOT stir the primer as well as I should have and when I first started applying it, it looked like I had just poured some Elmers glue on there and then topped it with a heavy dose of olive oil. It was completely separated and it was a horrible mess. I let it dry and then tried to re-sand, but it created little bubbles that are still there to this day! Sooooo, stir primer extremely vigorously and then apply thin coats until you get the coverage desired. Also, make sure to allow ample drying time. My patience was tested here and I think I went in a little early with the re-coats!

I painted the trim with some green paint I had left from another project. I forgot to take a photo of this step, so you’ll have to use your imagination. I considered using the magnetic paint again, but decided to try a sheet of metal. I bought a thin piece of metal from Lowe’s and cut it to fit the inside of the cabinet door panel. I used tin snips, which wasn’t easy on a 4′ piece of metal, but we had them around so that’s what I used.

I knew I wanted to cover the metal with fabric before I put it in the ‘frame’ so off to my local fabric store I went. Normally when I go into a store and someone asks me if they can help me find anything, my standard answer is “No, thank you, I’m just looking.”

When I went in the fabric store and the lady asked that question, my answer was….”I need a cotton fabric that won’t wrinkle and is easy to iron, and is fairly thin but not easy to tear and I would like a light color (but not too pastel) and it should have a little bit of a print on it (but not too distracting) and it can’t clash with light green.” Poor lady.

So I went home with my thoroughly searched for fabric. Although I felt all of my requirements above were important the two most important were that it was fairly wrinkle-free and that it was pretty thin. If I had used a thick fabric, the magnets would not stick as well. I ironed my new purchase and then my husband and I glued it around the metal sheet using Liquid Nails. I made sure to pull it taut so that it wouldn’t wrinkle on the front. Then I put a bunch of books on it and left it overnight.

The next day, we glued the fabric covered metal to the inside of the cabinet door and let it sit under books and weights for another 24 hours. Then, finally……A Completed Project!

I love it.And more importantly, the kids love it. I set it in our play room/ guest room for the kids to see it and play with it. When I said I was going to put it in Monkey Cave, you should have seen the meltdown. Evan insisted it had to stay in the playroom. So, the playroom it is. But I kept looking at the lonely Monkey Cave wall where I had envisioned the board. I decided a magnet board was going in there whether Evan liked it or not! So I went back to my original 2′ x 2′ board with magnetic paint. To be honest, I just didn’t have the energy to cut, paint and glue trim around the edges. However, I had recently gone to a teaching store (my new favorite place!) and picked up some monkey paper borders. They didn’t work for my original intended purpose so they were just laying around. I decided to cut them to size and glue them to the edge of the 2′ x 2′ board.

Now I have two equally cute and functional magnet boards in different parts of our house. Are there about a million things I would do differently next time to make the finished product better? Yep. But for now, I’m pretty happy. One more Before & After? Okay!



5 thoughts on “Kid’s Magnet Board

  1. Such a beautiful project for your kids, you can do it again for any other room in your house! It’s really nice! … you are so funny! 🙂 I never heard about liquid nails before? BTW Happy Thanksgiving! 🙂

    • Thanks so much! I can’t wait to make one for my office (probably not with monkey’s on it though). Liquid nails is great. It’s actually a hardware item and you use it with a caulking gun. It’s really strong though, so perfect for projects with heavier materials like wood and metal. Happy Thanksgiving to you too!

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