Introduction: Making a Custom Magnetic Work Mat
It's always a pain to work with tiny screws and parts because they inevitably get lost.
Magnetic mats are a great tool to have but they are a bit expensive and not really customized to projects you work on ALL the time.
My kids CHRONICALLY crack their iPhone screens so I thought it necessary to fix them myself to save what ended up being a TON of money. I found using magnetized mats where great for organizing the small screws but I wanted something custom.
I will show you a cheap and easy method for creating custom magnetic mats for any project you may have.
Step 1: Materials
Materials are few and readily available. I found Magnetized Ink Jet sheets at Office Depot for about $16 for 5. Because I wanted to possibly use a dry erase marker on the pads, I bought some office depot Window Decal sheets also to go over the magnet sheets.
NOTE: The magnet sheets are WEAKLY magnetic so I double them up. You can purchase some stronger magnet sheets on amazon or ebay but they are not printable.
- Magnet ink jet Sheets
- Window Sticker Ink Jet Sheets
- Ink Jet Printer
- Laminator - optional but recommended. I found that laminating 2 magnetic sheets together works better than placing a window sticker sheet on top of the magnet sheet.
And that's about it.....
Step 2: Preparing the Sheets
Like I said earlier, the sheets are weakly magnetic. They are meant to be printed on the white side and you slap them on your car/truck gray side. I found that putting 2 sheets together gray on gray greatly increased the holding power.
Now remember, you are using this to keep SMALL screws organized on your work space so you don't need rare earth magnet power. I experimented with magnetic tape and it was a little too strong for what I needed. 2 sheets works well enough.
Step 3: Printing
Because these are Ink Jet Magnetic Sheets, I thought it would be great to print out the insides of the iPhones to place the screws over when I was working. I found a picture of 3 iPhone models on one sheet and printed it out on one of my magnetic sheets. It was iPhone 5, 5S and 5C.
It worked great!
The beauty of the Ink Jet Sheets is that you can print ANYTHING you want! Print a grid, print a circuit board or whatever! The possibilities are endless!
I've included the triple iPhone pic for anyone who wants it.
Step 4: Finalizing
So now that you have your printed mat, you can place this on top of a second mat. Make sure it's magnet to magnet.
I ended up LAMINATING mine in order to keep the sheets together and I can also use a dry erase marker on it without having to worry about messing up the printed images.
For those of you who don't have a laminating machine, you can simply place one of the clear window sticker sheets over the top printed magnet sheet to act as a barrier.
Hope this was helpful!