Introduction: Make Fridge Magnets From Bottle Tops


Make your own fridge magnets, using stuff you probably already have at home.

OK, first of all, a short disclaimer: I am currently one handed after I tried to fight a car using a motorbike. The car beat me because it was made of metal and glass. You'll be pleased to know that my hand is expected to make a full recovery, but I hope this goes some way towards explaining the sometimes dodgy photos (and the fundamental simplicity of the Instructable).

SAFETY NOTES: This Instructable involves the use of super glue and a craft knife, so if you are a mere youngling, you should get an adult involved.

Now, to set the scene: I'm in the house, bored, wishing I had the use of both hands, etc. My girlfriend has gone out and I'm supposed to be looking for a job. So, logically, I decide to make some fridge magnets...

A quick raid of the recycling pile left me in possession of about 10 plastic bottle tops. I picked the ones with designs and logos, but you could go with plain. After raiding the recycling I was hungry for more tops, so I went out on the hunt. I got some strange looks at the local 7-11 after pulling out almost every drink to look at the lids. I then proceded to buy drinks based solely on the cap designs. I live in Thailand, but I can't read Thai yet, so I mostly had no idea what I was buying... This led to an interesting tasting session!

Step 1: What You Will Need:


  • A selection of bottle tops from plastic drinks bottles. Clean them!
  • Magnets, around 25mm x 3mm in size.
  • A craft knife.
  • A cutting mat.
  • Super glue.
  • Balsa wood stick or other light material to use as a filler between the cap and magnet.
  • A pencil.

Balsa wood or foam should be available from your local craft or model shop.
Magnets can sometimes be tricky to find in real shops - I bought mine from a hardware shop here in Thailand, but you may have to turn to virtual shops:

The other stuff should be easy.

Step 2: Marking, Cutting and Glueing.


To clean them, I left the caps soaking in a bowl of warm water with a tiny bit of washing up liquid. I made a sandwich and watched an episode of Red Dwarf. Then I dried the caps, and got on with the making!

First, put a cap on the end of the balsa wood. Make a pencil mark roughly where the edge of the cap is. Then, get a magnet and make another mark using it's edge as a guide. Depending on the size of your cap and magnet the first mark should be about a centimetre from the edge and the second three millimetres away from the first.

When you chop the block you should make the cut halfway between the two marks. Later, when you glue it all together the magnet should protude slightly from the cap. This will allow it to make good contact with your fridge.

To aid with the glueing, you should roughen the inside of the cap with a knife blade. Just use a criss-cross pattern like cross-hatching to add a bit of texture. This is especially important if you are using a cap with a rubber seal inside as the glue doesn't seem to adhere as well in those cases.

To complete the project you need to glue the balsa to the magnet and then glue the cap to the balsa. The end result should leave the magnet protruding from the base of the cap by a couple of millimetres. IMPORTANT: Dry test your project before glueing! Like the old carpenter always says: 'Measure twice, cut once!'
Put the balsa on top of the magnet and the cap on top of the balsa. If you can see a bit of magnet (like in the final image on this step) and the cap is pretty level then go for it.

Step 3: Make Loads, Then Put Them on Your Fridge!


Here is a short extract of dialogue from my house:


Girlfriend, arriving home: What have you been doing all day?
Me: Making fridge magnets! Look, I put a picture of you on the fridge!
Girlfriend: Weren't you supposed to be finding a job? And why is my face covered?
Me: Er, yeah, well... def get a job tomorrow... do you want some Coke Zero?... we have a lot of it with no lids on...


Anyway, I hope you like making the magnets! My first Instructable was brought to you today using the raging power that is Firefox, the GIMP and the letter M. Thanks for reading.

Comments

author
bumpus (author)2008-08-02

Excellent! I wish the US had bottle caps like those, They are much cooler! :D

author
kitobor (author)bumpus2008-08-02

What's funny is that Thai people like English - they think it's cooler! The grass is always greener on the other side... Anyway, we could start an international bottle top exchange, you send me some US ones, I'll send you some Thai/Japanese ones...

author
bumpus (author)kitobor2008-08-02

Haha, thats interesting, ours just have some informational crap on them.. Perhaps :D

author
ReCreate (author)bumpus2009-07-09

Yeah, Disclaimers...

author
Shane1163 (author)2009-03-01

oh wow.. those are neat bottle caps! here in the US they make them plain and boring! wtf is up with that..

author
Kaiven (author)2008-11-25

Tip: If you use neodynium magnets, I suggest a stronger epoxy type glue like JB weld. Much stronger glue. I found super glue tends to wear off and lose its grip.

author
completegeek (author)2008-08-30

If its worth doing, it's worth over doing. I would use those rare earth magnets and make them super strong. http://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/science/770f/
one tiny magnet can hold up to a pound!

author
kitobor (author)completegeek2008-08-30

I agree with you completely - on the last page of Make #8 there is an inspirational piece by Blake Hannaford about a clock he built in 1975. He finishes with "...put your heart into it. Design it to last. Build it well. You'll be glad you did." I always read it before I make anything.

On the other hand, those magnets scare the bejesus out of me... I quite like the data I have on my hard disks...

author
Skellington (author)2008-08-21

Ooh, I will definitely try this with my many coke caps. By the way, those red caps say "happy". :]

author
aliceownsj00 (author)2008-08-02

very cute and with the amount of soda people go through in this house those will be simple to make!

author
kitobor (author)aliceownsj002008-08-02

Thanks for the comment aliceownsj00, I really like your avatar - did you make it yourself?

author
aliceownsj00 (author)kitobor2008-08-03

Thanks, yeah I did haha I make them all the time

http://www.glitterpop.co.nr/ is my website

author
Kiteman (author)2008-08-02

LOL - hope you get better and/or employed soon.

author
kitobor (author)Kiteman2008-08-02

So do I! Making stuff is hard with one hand.

author
cyenobite (author)2008-08-02

Well done! Funny too.

author
kitobor (author)cyenobite2008-08-02

Thanks!

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