Instructables

Make your tea towel magnetic with sugru (+ video)

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It's incredibly satisfying to watch a tea towel fly across the kitchen and snap onto the fridge door.

We couldn't resist taking them outdoors though :)


This hack was inspired by quartertone's very awesome magnetised kitchen towel, we fell in love with his idea but also thought that sugru could make it a little bit better by solving the waterproofing and washing issue.

Did you know that sugru:
- bonds to fabrics
- is flexible when cured
- is waterproof so you never have to remove the magnet as sugru will protect it
- is washing machine proof so will not wash off
 
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Step 1: Ready, steady...

Start off by getting all your stuff ready for your hack. You will need the following:

Magnet* we used: Neodymium magnets - size 10mm x 5mm (1/2" is good)
sugru
Tea Towel
Scissors
Tissue paper



* We bought strong magnets from our local electronic store, (Maplin in the UK - product code: YA29G) they work really well as they are strong enough to hold the weight of a tea towel. (otherwise you'll might get tea towels sliding down the fridge!)
We also found loads of them on eBay, search for: NEODYMIUM or NdFeB
These magnets from RadioShack should be good too.
Or from K&J Magnetics, this one looks pretty good to me.

Good to know: This hack requires just 1/3 of a mini pack of sugru, so you can do three tea towels at the same time, or you can line up a few other hacks so you don't waste any sugru. For more inspiration and ideas, check out our gallery.
ac7ss2 years ago
How about applying a square patch of Sugru to the corner of the tea towel and folding it over the magnet, pressing around the magnet firmly to make the seal? Has that been tried and found lacking?
projectsugru (author)  ac7ss2 years ago
hey, that's a pretty neat idea, haven't tried it ourselves but it is clever. Are you going to give this a try ? Would love to hear how it works for you.
Have you seen this ible, there are some good tips for applying sugru to fabric that you might find useful.
remork2 years ago
Conductive Sugru!
Conductive Sugru!
Conductive Sugru!

:-)
projectsugru (author)  remork2 years ago
Hi remork,

cool, what would use it for ?
- As I work with textile and electronics, I would see conductive Sugru at the points where you connect the sewn electronics with the "hard parts".
- As Sugru bonds with textile, a whole other bunch of applications can be imagined such as connecting for example leds and resistors immediately on the fabric, with sugru.
- 3D modelling (playdoh-style) which connects electronics
(in any case, nothing above 5 volts :-))
projectsugru (author)  remork2 years ago
Sounds great, we are looking at this, watch this space :)
Jwendt2 years ago
Here is my take on this project.

I coated some (excessively strong) magnets with Sugru but found that the Sugru didn’t reduce the force of the magnets as much as I expected, so I wrapped the magnets in a small pouch of scrap washcloth. I picked up 4 terrycloth hand towels and a matching terrycloth washcloth and cut the corners of the washcloth off. I sewed the corner of the washcloth onto the towel and put the magnetic pillow into the pocket. It blends in really well and you barely notice the modification.

It worked out great, and you can toss the towel at the from quite a distance and not damage the fridge due to the two towel layers and Sugru protection. The magnet is still quite powerful, so I expect when they get washed to stick to the sides of the washer and dryer, but that should be fine.

As an aside, a pair of powerful Sugru coated magnets are a great desk toy for idle hands, plus make great stud finders. :)

I used DD4 magnets (13/16" dia. x 1/4" thick, 20.86 lbs of pull force) from kjmagnetics and half a package of Sugru per magnet. I really expected the heavy cloth and Sugru to weaken the magnetic field more than it did. If I were to get more magnets, I would try out the DD2, with 10.53 lbs of pull and get rid of the extra layer.


Thanks for the project. :)
projectsugru (author)  Jwendt2 years ago
sounds great, post a pic here :)
jces9992 years ago
Hi, Ive got my Sugru, teatowels & magnets- just a thought : at the end, once the magnets are firmly in place & cured overnight, would it help to turn over the fabric at the corner & sew it in place (into a pouch) just to make it extra robust? Or would that affect the magnets? I suppose you could cover the magnets in Sugru (to prevent rust), fold over the fabric at the corner making a pouch , and the just sew them into place ? What do you think?
projectsugru (author)  jces9992 years ago
Hi jces999,

once you cover the magnet in sugru you don't actually need to fold over the towel.
The sugru protects the magnet from rusting but also from impact when it hit's other metals. You could fold over the towel as well if you wish but personally, I wouldn't bother. Hope this helps and please post an image of your towel once you complete the project :)
fanman73 years ago
This is awesome, just ordered 4 packs of Sugru for the price of 3 with my YAYCHRISTMAS voucher code. Can't wait to make these! Also going to try to put sugru on the corners of my chopping boards so they won't slip. Awesome product. So many uses.
projectsugru (author)  fanman73 years ago
cool, sounds great, please share the results :)
btangvald3 years ago
Just a thought... Could you MIX Sugru with magnetic putty? That'd keep you from having the magnet problem. I don't know if it'd kill the magnet's magnetic-ness.
I've not tried it, but sugru has inspired me to think of innovative putty ideas.

question. If the sugru people are reading this, Would you consider making different forms of the stuff? more than just colours? add in magnetic properties, glow in the dark-ness, electronic transmitability (totally cool idea so you could make Sugru circuits!), etc.
just a thought.
projectsugru (author)  btangvald3 years ago
hey, great ideas, yeah, we have a massive to do list and most of these or on it. Extending shelf life is our priority though.

if you mix other ingredients with sugru, you will compromise it's properties, adhesion will be reduced and it will not be as strong. However, this migh suit some of your applications...

If you could chose one version of sugru with new properties, what would it be ?...
dwilkinson13 years ago
Um...

Why dont you just sew a magnet into the corner
(ie. fold the corner over and sew it shut with the magnet inside...)

and save the trouble of the sugru ... duh!

Your stupid.
projectsugru (author)  dwilkinson13 years ago
hello dwilkinson1,

thanks for your comment.

To answer your question, the magnet would not survive the washing machine, so sugru is used to serve two functions;
1: to bond the magnet to the towel
2: to protect the magnet from the washing machine / tumble drier / impact with hard surfaces.

Best,

James
Dear James,

Thanks for your diplomatic response...

I was drunk when I wrote that, (in case you cant tell).

So of course if you just sew it in place it will rust and run into the fabric?

I still don't get your answer though... wouldn't the folded over corner of fabric with the magnet sewn inside:
protect the magnet in the wash & soften the impact of hard surfaces?
& indeed bond the magnet to the towel in a sewn up corner?

Or would it just tear the fabric as it goes through the wash I suppose.

I'm going to make some my way anyway & let you know how it goes.

Cheers Deb.
projectsugru (author)  dwilkinson13 years ago
hi again, thanks for your apology.

water will penetrate the fabric so will still rust, if you look at quartertone's original post, he made the magnet removable. : http://www.instructables.com/id/Magnetowel-magnetized-kitchen-towel/

I used sugru so that it does not have to be removed.

Sorry for being inconsiderately rude and calling you stupid. I was drunk.
Your not stupid.
flyingpuppy3 years ago
Love this idea! Not just for the magnet use (I'm into solving home problems with magnets too), but for your sugru use. I've used mine in only one project so far--to reconstruct the eye of a frog sculpture (for which it worked beautifully). Time for another sugru challenge?
projectsugru (author)  flyingpuppy3 years ago
awesome, thanks flyingpuppy :)
msthimble3 years ago
The idea of adding a magnet to a tea towel is brilliant, however, I will skip the expense of using the sugru, by making a small fabric pocket to contain the magnet. I am glad that you have introduced me to sugru, it looks like an amazingly versatile product. I am going to check out your other instructables featuring sugru.
projectsugru (author)  msthimble3 years ago
cool, check out quatertone's original post which does just that: http://www.instructables.com/id/Magnetowel-magnetized-kitchen-towel/
Spokehedz3 years ago
LOVE IT! I am so doing this with our towels. I have a surplus of magnets from when I used to make throwies.

I am going to fold over the top of the fabric on the towel though, as an added protection--that, and my magnets are about the size of quarters in diameter and thickness.
Technically you could do that instead of using sugru, and just sew the folded over corner around the magnet - but odds-to-beans the magnet would eventually wear a hole through the fabric. I don't think it will with the sugru around it though. Love sugru. Love it.
projectsugru (author)  Spokehedz3 years ago
oooh, I love the sound of folding over the towel, please share when you do that :)
wkearney993 years ago
Be very careful about small magnets like this is you have ANY small children around. If they swallow one it can cause FATAL complications in their digestive system. As in, a magnet or something else metallic gets clamped together inside their intestines.

The same thing can be said about small batteries. The voltage in them is enough to cause an electrical burn inside their esophagus or intestines.

Sure, the kids need to taught to handle things properly. But no small child should have to risk the horrific injuries or death possible from a simple mistake. Be careful with magnets and batteries with kids around.
1. Magnets are only dangerous if swallowed in pairs. If you eat one, then don't eat anything else magnetic--you are fine, albeit a bit strange for wanting to eat metal.

2. This has nothing to do about batteries. Please, go be safe on the hundreds of other projects on here that use batteries--you are just making more clutter here. And it's not the voltage that causes burns, it is the chemicals inside them that are the major issue. If you are going to be overly cautious and tell others about dangers that the Instructable has nothing to do with, at least get your facts straight.

Thank you, have a great day.
STFW on magnet or battery ingestion. The risks and severity of injuries are not trivial.

The voltage in the batteries is most certainly an issue. With longer exposure the chemicals inside only add to the risk. http://www.poison.org/battery/

Someone considering the use of magnets in a home setting would do well to at least be AWARE of possible risks. I doubt many people would really give much thought to it.

The point is small pill-like objects and kids are something to give some THOUGHT about. Not just snide comments.
Please just stop. You are not helping anybody with this information. You are only making yourself upset, and I don't want you to be upset. We know about these dangers. We know way more about dangerous stuff than just magnets... Just please stop... Otherwise you will have to go to every single instructable on here and tell them this exact same information--and you won't get anything done otherwise if you do that.
ewoky73 years ago
Looks good. when you tested the towels in the wash, did they not get fixed to the sides of the machine?
projectsugru (author)  ewoky73 years ago
hi ewoky7,
the magnet will click onto the drum, but as the magnet is not that strong, they pull away during the wash so not a problem at all :)
action pig3 years ago
Brilliant!
Jayefuu3 years ago
Excellent! Love it.

Do you sell sugru branded t towels yet? :D
projectsugru (author)  Jayefuu3 years ago
ha ha, no, not yet ;)
quartertone3 years ago
I love it! Looks sturdy enough to withstand a vigorous washing. Have you tried running it through the laundry yet?

ps - I'm quartertone; no "s"
projectsugru (author)  quartertone3 years ago
yup, we've tested sugru in the washing machine and it survives with flying colours. Have you tried sugru yet ?...

eek, sorry about the typo !

James