Introduction: Magnetic Cabinet Closures
This quick and easy article looks at how magnets can create cabinet and drawer closures. You don't need to be a handy(wo)man to do this!
What you'll need: some magnets, maybe a screwdriver, maybe a drill, cleaning supplies!
Step 1: Simple Idea: Adhesive Backed Magnets
This first method is the quickest and easiest method we found. We use some magnets that have a strong adhesive backing to stick to the cabinet door and frame. We used a matched pair of adhesive backed magnets, D81AD-P.
A matched pair means one magnet has the adhesive on the north pole, the other magnet has adhesive on the south pole. This way the magnets can stick to the frame and door, and the magnets will attract to each other!
We also found success with smaller sizes, like the D61AD-P.
Step 2: Stick the Magnets to the Door and Frame!
When we say this method was quick and easy, we mean it!
First and VERY important! Clean the surfaces with alcohol or some other wipe to remove any grease and dirt that might be on the cabinet door and frame. If you don't do this, the adhesive won't stick well.
Peel the backer off one of the magnets and stick it to the door. Stick the matched pair magnet to the first magnet on the door. Peel away it's backer so that the sticky adhesive is exposed.
Now the two magnets are stuck on the door, with the adhesive backing of one exposed.
Close the cabinet door and press it shut. Firmly press the door shut for about 15 seconds, to allow the adhesive to bond.
Viola! That's it!
Step 3: Smaller Magnets...double 'em Up!
We also found that using smaller magnets, like the D41AD-P, worked as well, but felt better when we used two pairs instead of just one. With one pair at the bottom and one pair at the top, opening the cabinet had a nice feel to it.
The same process is used to install these magnets. Make sure those surfaces are clean!
We also show here how using adhesive magnets can be good for drawers too!
Step 4: Inset Magnets
We’ve seen some really beautiful magnetic closures on fine woodwork. Our customers have incorporated magnets into cabinets, doors and even tiny jewelry boxes. Small disc or cylinder magnets are set into drilled holes. The magnet's surface can be flush with the surface, or even hidden below.
To stick with our kitchen cabinet theme, we mimicked this with larger D44 magnets set into ¼” diameter holes in a kitchen cabinet.
For these 1/4" diameter magnets, we took a 1/4" drill bit and drilled a small hole into the door. We drilled the hole so that the magnet would stick out just a tad, enough to be higher than the thin stoppers on the door.
To make sure the holes lined up, we placed one magnet in the door hole, then closed the door, marking where the magnet touched the frame. Then, simply drill another, equal hole in the frame and inset a second magnet! Easy as pie!
Step 5: Mounting Magnet
In all the other methods, we used a magnet-to-magnet setup. Here we use a strong, sturdy mounting magnet with a steel washer.
For this method, we designed and 3D printed a small bracket to a hold a 5/8" mounting magnet, MMS-A-A. We secured the magnet to the bracket and a small #4-40 machine screw and nut.
We secured the magnet-bracket assembly to the cabinet with two #4 wood screws.
Then, we attached a steel washer, like our NSW82 (not a magnet) to the backside of the door.
This combination is the strongest of our examples here. It’s much stronger than the other setups. It’s really too strong for our cabinet doors that don't have handles. It required over 5 lb of force to open, which is more like opening a refrigerator door than a cabinet.
This setup is also more tolerant of mis-alignment. Unlike a magnet-to-magnet setup, a magnet sticking to a steel part will happily stick just as well if slightly offset. You could even use a larger steel “strike plate” to make a bigger target.
Step 6: Countersunk Magnets
Using the same idea of magnet-to-steel attraction, we used a countersunk magnet, like our RC22CS-N on the side of the frame and a steel washer on the door. As you can see in the picture, we simply screwed the countersunk magnet to the frame, so that the side of the magnet was facing out.
This method yielded a decent feeling pull...not nearly as much force as the mounting magnet! This method was quick and worked quite well!
Step 7: Video Summary of All Examples
That's it! We think each example is pretty easy to do and each example has it's pro's and con's, but no matter which way you choose, you should see good results!