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Picture of Magnetowel (magnetized kitchen towel)
I usually keep a kitchen towel draped over the handle of either the oven or the refrigerator. The problem with keeping it on the fridge or oven handle is that it takes some effort (perhaps minimal, but more than none) to thread the towel through the handle after using it. Draping it over the oven handle often fails when it slips off and falls to the floor. Simply dumping it on the kitchen counter won't do either, since that would hinder drying.

Here's a solution I came up with that is easy to use, fast, and takes very little effort (to use). It's also not too hard to make. It will change the way you use your kitchen towels! Ya.

** Because there's been some confusion, I just want to clarify that this method allows the magnet to be removable. Yes, the magnet can be removed easily for washing (of the towel).
 
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Step 1: Magnetowel - Materials

Picture of Magnetowel - Materials
Things you need:

Kitchen towel (not pictured)
Ruler - or any other length-measuring tool
Pen and/or pencil - or any cloth/paper marking utensil
Scissors - or any cutting utensil (Xacto-knife, cutting wheel, etc)
Neodymium magnet - available online and probably at some hobby stores
Fabric of some sort - for making the pocket
Iron-on adhesive - available at most hobby stores
Iron - ... no comment at this time

The magnet I used was purchased from K&J Magnetics , but you can probably get them at a lot of other places online, and probably at some hobby stores. It is about 1.5 cm in diameter, and about 0.5 cm thick.

I used iron-on adhesive because I didn't have a sewing machine, and didn't want to go through the hassle of sewing everything together by hand. If you do have a sewing machine, it may be easier and more secure. Just sew along the same lines as where the adhesives go. The iron-on seems to be holding nicely, however.

Step 2: Magnetowel - Prepare fabric

Picture of Magnetowel - Prepare fabric
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Measure and cut out a piece of the fabric as appropriate for the size of your magnet. The second image shows the approximate measurements you should make. For reference, I used a cylindrical magnet of 1.5cm diameter and 0.5cm thick, and I used strips of adhesive that were 0.5 cm wide.

The blue and orange boxes in the image shows where the magnet will go. The bottom part folds up to create a hidden pocket , and the pocket gets placed (adhered/sewn) pocket-side down on the corner of the towel, which creates a pocket-in-pocket so the magnet does not accidentally slip out.

Blue box dimensions:
   Width = 2cm = diameter of magnet {1.5cm} + thickness of magnet {0.5cm}
   Height = 1.5cm = diameter of magnet {1.5cm}

Orange box dimensions:
   Width = 2cm (same as blue  box)
   Height = 3cm = 1.5 * ( diameter of magnet {1.5cm} + thickness of magnet {0.5cm} )

** The extra length of the orange area provides the necessary maneuvering space needed to get the magnet into the hidden pocket once everything is stuck/sewn in place.

Green areas = width of iron-on adhesive to be used {0.5cm}

Total size of fabric:
   Width = 3cm = width of blue box {2cm} + 2 * width of iron-on adhesive {0.5cm}
   Height = 5cm = height of blue box {1.5cm} + height of orange box {3cm} + width of iron-on adhesive {0.5cm}


Keep in mind that these are just guidelines, and you can vary the size of the blue/orange areas depending on how snugly you want the magnet to fit, and how easily you want to be able to insert/remove it.

Step 3: Manetowel - Adhesive strips

Picture of Manetowel - Adhesive strips
Cut out strips of the adhesive. You will need 5 strips:

Height of blue box (1.5cm), 2 strips
Height of orange box (3cm), 2 strips
Entire width of fabric (3cm), 1 strip

After a bit of trial & error, I found that it's actually easier to work with the strips if they are slightly shorter than you need. We're not going for a complete seam seal here, so it's okay if there are small gaps where the pieces of sticky meet. Cutting the strips about 1-2mm (0.1-0.2cm) shorter should be fine.

I bought 3/8" wide adhesive because I couldn't find anything narrower, so I ended up cutting the strips in half lengthwise so as to waste minimal area on the adhesive. (3/8" ~~ 1cm, so half that is about 0.5cm which is the measurement I used in calculating the fabric dimensions)

Step 4: Magnetowel - Iron-on #1

Picture of Magnetowel - Iron-on #1
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Now that you have your materials all prepared, it's time to put everything together.

First, measure off on the fabric where you will be folding. Basically, this means: measure the height of the blue box from the end, and make a mark there.

Fold the fabric at that point, and iron it to make a crease.

Next, open up the crease and place the strips of adhesive along the edges of the fabric. In the images below, I'm doing the "orange box" side first.

Put on the iron according to the instructions on the iron-on adhesive. The instructions on mine said to iron (no steam) for 1-2 seconds for this step.

Do not remove the paper backing yet.

Step 5: Magnetowel - Iron-on #2

Picture of Magnetowel - Iron-on #2
Flip the fabric over, and place the other iron-on strips in the appropriate locations. When ironing, be careful not to go past the crease, as over-ironing the adhesive would cause it to melt too much, and become useless for the final step.

Step 6: Magnetowel - Final Ironing

Picture of Magnetowel - Final Ironing
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Remove the paper backing off all the strips of adhesive, and fold the fabric at the crease. All the pieces of adhesive should now be facing the same direction.

Place the folded magnet pocket (the fabric) adhesive-side down onto a corner of the kitchen towel. The fold should be facing "in" (see image).

Iron it on! My instructions said 6 seconds for light fabric, and 8 seconds for thick fabrics. This was a very light fabric, so I went with 5-ish seconds.

Let it cool before you start handling it too much, because the adhesive may not have set just yet.

Step 7: Magnetowel - Insert magnet

Picture of Magnetowel - Insert magnet
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Insert the magnet into the opening.

Maneuver the magnet into the hidden pocket (not pictured). I found that it helps to rub/roll the fold between your fingers (I used my pinky and thumb) to cause the inner pocket opening to buckle, to make it easier for the magnet to "catch" the opening.


Step 8: Magnetowel!

Picture of Magnetowel!
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Done!

You now have a magnetized kitchen towel! Most metal surfaces in a kitchen are magnetic, so there are lots of places you can just toss this onto (oven, refrigerator, dish washer). If you like to keep a towel near the washer/dryer, you can stick one there too.

Just remember to remove the magnet before you put it in the wash. It probably won't do much damage, but it's best to be safe.

Additional notes:
- If you have a sewing machine, or don't mind stitching by hand, the pocket would probably be more secure if it's sewn into the towel.
- You can cut the strip of fabric out of a duplicate towel (matching color/design), to hide or camouflage the pocket.
- Putting the pocket in the center of the towel may make it easier to identify the location of the magnet (instead of checking every corner), and would require less vertical distance to hang the towel.

See also the Sugru-based magnetic towel by projectsugru !

Thanks for reading!

confu1 year ago

Thanks for the inspiration and the nice ´ible!

Check out my follow-up which includes almost no crafting at all:

http://www.instructables.com/id/No-Sew-No-Glue-1-M...

juntti4 years ago
Very handy (!) instructable, but I went on thinking what if you would make the magnet external to the towel? That is, embed the magnet to a separate piece that both sticks to a metallic surface (with the magnet) AND hold the towel with some sort of gripping mechanism. This way you only need one magnet, you can remove the towel and do the laundry as usual, towels remain unmodified and you can use them to all sorts of other uses too.
juntti juntti4 years ago
Oh, just noticed that the magnets are removable in this solution too.
Yes the idea here is removable, BUT I think you are on to something. What about sewing the magnet into a pocket with velcro on the back. Then sew a patch of velcro to all of the kitchen towels. Then just move the magnet to the current towel quick and easy.
Yes, I think velcro might do very well although I think it may collect some fluff etc. over time.

I was actually thinking much cruder solution with some sort of (I am missing the word here as English is not my mother tongue) small jaw-like grip with a "spring system" pulling the jaw closed (and gripping the towel). This way you can just swap any towel (without any preparation) in to the jaw and keep on cooking. ;)

(Think crocodile clip with a magnet: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crocodile_clip).
The velcro shouldn't get too "fluffy" as long as you attach the fuzzy side to the towels, so the hook side doesn't go through the laundry.
MaXoR juntti4 years ago
yup... you can usually pick those up from your local dollar store for well... about a dollar, for a pack of six usually.

Alligator clips are universal, and some come with magnets, others don't. I believe the velcro idea is better in that sure, it may get full of string after a while, but you can pull that stuff out with a sewing needle in no time flat.

I like this, going to make one, using the velcro idea. Thanks guys!
rcisneros4 years ago
What a great and simple idea. Just sew on a little pocket for the magnet. Great for the fridge. My only concern is the wife can't remember to turn off the lights let alone remove a magnet. Maybe I can waterproof the pocket or the magnet because they will rust as soon as there is the smallest crack on the magnet surface.
Waterproofing it would be a good idea just incase you forget to remove it but I'm pretty sure that it would get "stuck" to the walls of your washer and dryer.
absolutely it will stick, but at least there won't be a growing red-brown spot.
Oh for sure. I completely agree
this is a great idea, I love it.
wowsers, your ible has been featured on Lifehacker, well done :)

http://lifehacker.com/5814465/diy-magnetic-towel

bone_chaos4 years ago
Wo would of thought! Simple! Love it.
ehu4 years ago
Impressive simplicity. why not have thought earlier?
Greetings from France.

Eric
ssandeelee4 years ago
great simple idea - was thinking you could probably just turn one corner of the towel down to make the pocket, leaving a small opening for the magnet - though you would need a sewing machine for that .....
dollywild4 years ago
Brilliant! I am off to raid my son's possessions for all their tiny magnets!
chuckyd4 years ago
Kitchen "towels", of the reusable variety have been shown to harbor toxic growth. It is safer to use either newly clean towels or disposables.
well, my granny said you use a clean one each day. So, that would take care of the toxic issue. Per granny, an obvious authority on clean, after one does the washing up supper time, one puts that days towel and wash cloth into the laundry and lays out a clean set for the next day.
great instructable, if you have any old hard drives open one up destroy it remove the magnets from it, super powerful flat neodids I believe. Anyway I hae used these magnets to make ladder nail holders etc free and fer me. I have the same stove and use th ehandle for the dish cloths. but it is nice to have one fer "dirty" or "hands" use. When you are drying dishes you really do not want people using the same dish cloth to dry hands. 1) people are notorious for not using soap then smearing stuff on it, then you share the gunk by drying dishes with it. 2)If all hands are really clean you now exfoliate the hands on the cloth (minimal yeck factor cause we do this all day long and as we sleep), more important we tend to soak the towel rendering it useless. 3) pe-ple will grab towels to clean counters or even a spot on a floor or a food spill then put it back. (really do you want to dry a piece of silverware after it was used , even just a corner, to clean a small coffee spot on the floor?

This lets you have a towel just for 1 thing and you can put one on the fridge (between kiddies stuff and ones own stuff, at least while cooking) for the kids or others

Mine is done different then this but the concept is the same.

love this one simple and sweet
gormly4 years ago
This is awesome. Thank you, We have a rack for our towel and every time I am in a rush to get it, the rack comes ripping off with the towel.

This is a great solution!
We have been using velcro (sewn on), and also chip bag closers, but I prefer your solution.
rikkiesix4 years ago
Nice idea
Great instructable
Greetings from Belgium
Erik
Meuryn4 years ago
Great idea! Always having blimin' tea towels all over the floor.
Servelan4 years ago
Fantastic alternative to dorky crochet-topped towels like Mom has in her kitchen...and if you have a stovetop instead of a stove (like me), you could easily attach a small metal (not stainless - most stainless isn't magnetic) doodad (enameled?) to the counter or cabinet just below the cooktop and have the same effect...
jperkins74 years ago
What does this do in the dryer? Hmmm. I may have to make my magnets removable.
Make a 'clonk' noise when it fixes itself to the drum. Same in the washing machine. Though stainless steel is not as attractive for magnets as normal iron.

If there is more than one of these towels, the might stick together.

The temperature of washer/dryer should be a good deal below the Curie point of the magnets, so they should not lose the magnetic strength. Not sure, if the water in the washing machine can make them 'rust', but I don't think so.

Worst problem I can think of is two of them clicking so forcefully together that one (or both) of the magnets break. But the 'shards' would still be in their little pouches.

I would be more worried about the strength of the glue and strengthen (or replace) it with some stitches if a sewing machine is available.

Good idea, nice i'ble!


quartertone (author)  jperkins74 years ago
The design of this iron-on / sew-on pocket makes the magnet easily removable. It's easier to see when you have a working magentowel in your hands.
I love it! I am definitely doing this! I used to use the binder clip on a tied ribbon method but the binder clip was a pain in the butt to try to open with 1 hand if I was holding a hot pot or whatever. This is so much easier. Good thinking!
capricorn4 years ago
This is a very interesting Ible.

I like it a lot, thanks for sharing :)
Ahhhh! It makes so much sense! How did I not think of this before? Great job. :D