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We had a need for a magnet board design that was nice to look at, easy to build, and relatively inexpensive. Specifically, we needed it for our Disc Mounts which we created to store and display our CDs around the gaming zone. Learn more on our Disc Mount Project Page. We also used it for our 3D Super Mario Papercraft Magnet Board instructable so we could build, mix, and mash up scenes from the game.

This instructable shows you how to build a magnet board using a 24 x 36 in. plastic poster frame. These frames are inexpensive, fit common poster sizes, and single tin sheet usually can be purchased in this size. You can scale the design up or down for other sizes of frames as desired.


Buy super-strong, adhesive-backed, disc magnets for your poster magnet board projects from Lab 424, Amazon, and Etsy.


Enjoy.

Step 1: Get Parts and Materials

To build a poster magnet board you will need the following:

Parts and Materials
  • 1, poster frame with an acrylic face (24 x 36 in.)
  • 1, cool poster/picture (24 x 36 in.)
  • 1, flat sheet of galvanized tin (24 x 36 in., 24 - 30 gauge )
  • neodymium magnets (between 1 - 2 lbs pull force)
  • 1, roll masking tape (1" wide)
Tools
  • leather work gloves to handle tin
  • hot glue or white glue
  • tin snips (unneeded if tin is correct size)
  • tape measure (unneeded if tin is correct size)
  • straight edge (unneeded if tin is correct size)
  • marking pen (unneeded if tin is correct size)
  • hammer and block of wood (not pictured, unneeded if tin is correct size)
About The Frame: You want an acrylic face, not glass. Glass can break and is too smooth for these magnets to stick reliably. It should have a rigid backing. Hardboard or cardboard are typical. It should have tabs, staples, or a similar mechanism that bends to put pressure on the backing. The hanger should be attached to the backing, not the frame. Wood and metal frames are not necessary. We use inexpensive, plastic frames.

About The Tin Sheet: Magnets will not stick to aluminum, copper, brass, etc. The sheet can be smaller than the frame. 30 gauge sheet can usually be found at building supply stores in sections that carry heat , ventilation, and air conditioning ducting. Otherwise, suppliers of sheet metal in your industrial districts will usually cut you a piece to size. Bring your gloves to handle it.


Be aware that safety is your responsibility. Please read our Safety Warning and Disclaimer before you start.

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<p>Dear laboratory 424,</p><p>Lots of thanks for your support!</p>
<p>Brilliant! Impressive collection!</p>
<p>Also, would you suggest using a liquid nails to glue metal sheet to the board as my frame's size is 40&quot; by 28&quot;? I thought it would make structure more rigid. Thanks</p>
<p>The staples probably will not fold between the metal and carton. Most likely they will just stop and stick out from the surface of the carton. Your best bet is probably the 3M Super 77 (or similar) adhesive.</p><p>Super 77 is dry and tacky when it sprays onto a surface. We used a cotton fabric and didn&rsquo;t have issues with it bleeding through the fabric. However, it's possible that a silky/sheer fabric may allow some of the &quot;tackiness&quot; to bleed through. I don&rsquo;t think it would show spots; rather, the surface would feel a bit sticky to the touch. Undesirable nonetheless.</p><p>One thought is to not spray the adhesive onto the front surface and apply the fabric; rather, just use it to attach the fabric to the back. For instance:</p><p><strong>(1)</strong> Buy fabric that is significantly larger than the sheet metal so you have several inches or more of overlap on the backside of the sheet.</p><p><strong>(2)</strong> Lay the fabric down on a flat surface.</p><p><strong>(3)</strong> Lay the sheet metal on top of the fabric.</p><p><strong>(4)</strong> Spray the adhesive on the back of the metal.</p><p><strong>(5)</strong> Fold back the fabric edges and apply to the tacky metal surface and apply pressure to lock the fabric in place.</p><p><strong>(6)</strong> Work around the edges in a similar fashion. Make sure to pull the fabric tight before applying to tacky surface so face is smooth. (You can reposition if needed since 3M stays tacky.)</p><p><strong>(7)</strong> Lay the backing on top of tacky surface and press to stick.</p><p><strong>(8)</strong> Mount into frame.</p><p><strong>(9)</strong> Eat a delicious sandwich to celebrate how awesome you are.</p><p>Note: Using this technique, you'll want to round off the corners of your metal sheet so it doesn't cut through your fabric when pulling it tight.</p>
WOW!! I'm IMPRESSED!!<br>I will definitely recommend your site to all my friends. <br>Guess what? Yesterday I gave myself thoughts and came to exactly same procedure you have recommended. Even rounding the metal sheet corners.<br>And you're correct: there're no any spots on silk from 3M Super 77.<br><br>Thanks a lot. I will add a drink to my sandwich to celebrate how awesome YOU are. Till next project - Arkady
<p>We never glued the metal to the backing since the frame + backing + acrylic face kept it in place and flat. However, if you want to glue it I&rsquo;d consult <a href="http://www.thistothat.com/">This to That</a> for the magical answer (I've never tried liquid nails). Metal to wood comes up with several options. You can choose other materials using their tool if desired.</p>
<p>Thanks for very detailed instructions and illustrations. I'm planning to use a board for &quot;fridge magnets&quot; bought while travelling. I will use red silk fabric on face of metal sheet instead of acrylic face: don't want an exposed metal. What's your opinion? I will staple silk to the carton.</p>
<p>Fabric works nicely (we tried it). We used <a href="http://solutions.3m.com/wps/portal/3M/en_US/Adhesives/Tapes/Products/~/3M-Super-77-Multipurpose-Spray-Adhesive?N=5396314+3293242460&rt=rud">3M Super 77</a> to make the fabric stick to the metal sheet to give a nice, uniform, flat surface. When applying the fabric to the metal with the adhesive:</p><p><strong>(1)</strong> Cut the fabric so it is much larger than the metal sheet. </p><p><strong>(2)</strong> Apply adhesive. </p><p><strong>(3)</strong> Start at a corner and slowly roll fabric onto the surface while smoothing out wrinkles along the way.</p><p><strong>(4)</strong> Trim the fabric about 1-2 inches from the edges of the metal sheet and stick it to the back of the metal sheet with more adhesive.</p>
Thanks for quick and, as usual, very instructive reply.<br>I've never used glue on the fabric before. Is there any chance of making spots on face of the fabric because of adhesive?<br><br>What about applying a stapler on the edge of carton's back using an extra 1&quot; of fabric trim. Am I right to think that staples will fold between metal sheet and carton?<br><br>Thanks again for your help.
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Incredibly well illustrated project, I may have to try this. I wonder, would the paint that makes a chalkboard surface stick to the tin? Or maybe even a thin layer of plexiglas to turn it into a white boar. . . .
Excellent idea firehazard07! According to Rustoleum, yes it will stick to metal. Check it out <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.rustoleum.com/CBGProduct.asp?pid=103">here</a>. Unfortunately, plexiglass doesn't make a good whiteboard surface. Glass will make a good surface though, but you should cover your magnets with vinyl or other rubbery/fabric/etc covering to protect against the glass breaking. <br/>
Just jumping in a few years late on this...there are two problems with glass. One is the thickness reduces the magnetic force on an average magnet. Second is that glass is slippery - if you try to hold anything with any weight to it, the combination of slippery and weak magnet will allow the object to slide down the front of the board.&nbsp; You can fix that with a lot more magnets holding up the object.&nbsp; Putting vinyl on the magnet will not help if the problem is between the object and the glass.&nbsp; The friction needs to be on the board.&nbsp;<br> <br> On Kiteman's niggling point, I vote both ways.&nbsp; In 28 years as an aerospace engineer that material was always referred to as sheet steel.&nbsp; When we went to buy it we had to specify 'galvanized.'&nbsp; Yet in old style hardware stores it was referred to as tinplate.&nbsp; Now in the big box hardware stores I believe it is referred to as simply, 'galvanized.'&nbsp; Apparently local custom prevails.&nbsp;
In the instructable you said that glass should be avoided because it is too smooth for the magnets to be reliable, is there any way to have this wonderful idea be a whiteboard and a magnet board that doesn't have magnets falling off? Thanks for this great instructable!
If you are planning to just stick paper, cardstock, etc to your board then it will work with neodymium magnets that have 2 lbs. of pull (any stronger and you may break the glass from the force). Some recommendations:<br/><br/><ul class="curly"><li>Get glass at or under 3/32 in. thick so 2 lb pull magnets can be used.</li><li>Cover your magnets with a thin layer of vinyl (or similar material). This helps grip the paper and adds a little cushion between the magnet and glass. You can get thin vinyl at fabric stores, or vinyl stickers for printers at office supply stores.</li><li>Be careful when you place the works together, and mount it securely to the wall so it doesn't move.</li><br/></ul>I steered away from glass primarily because of the breakage issue. In my case, I wanted to be able to hold the weight of a CD on the board, which (after testing) required a large magnet that was more expensive and broke the glass in a couple cases. But the 2 lb pull magnets seem to work fine for paper stuff on glass. If you can find safety glass that would be better since if fractured, large piece would not fall out. <br/>
Are you able to use <a href="http://www.PosterRevolution.com">movie posters</a> from www.PosterRevolution.com?
cool
You may also be able to get tin sheets wherever there's a printing press. The offset process often uses tin plates to run their printing on. We used to get these all the time for crafts and stuff.
Cool! I totally want to do this for my BF.
first off, great job on the instructable, mate. Second, where did you get that poster, or does anyone know any cheap poster websites or stores?
We purchased the <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.istockphoto.com/file_closeup/flora/plant_life/trees/2797724_golden_trees.php?id=2797724">digital artwork</a> at <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.istockphoto.com/index.php">istockphoto</a>, cropped it to the part we wanted, and then had it blown up to poster size at <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.uprinting.com/">uprinting</a>. You might check out <a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.allposters.com/">AllPosters</a> too. I have purchase from them many times. You can get large poster prints for as low as $7.00. My experience with them has been nothing but positive.<br/>
great, thank you very much!
Great instructable!
Niggly point - where-ever you say "tin", I think you actually mean "steel" or "iron", since tin isn't magnetic.
It is possible to use tin in this project, even preferable if you live someplace humid (to inhibit rust). Otherwise you could use clear spray to coat the steel and achieve the same end.
Here we see the common error in understanding - the &quot;tin&quot; which magnets will stick to <em>is not tin</em>. It is tin-plated steel.<br/><br/>So-called <em>tin cans</em> are actually steel cans lined with a very thin layer of tin.<br/><br/>Tin itself is not magnetic - the magnet attracts the iron or steel <em>through</em> the tin.<br/>
There is no error in interpretation the word tin. I am using the word in its common understanding, not the specific, elemental description. Under this usage, it makes sense. You are correct though.
Is that really the "common understanding" of the word tin? I don't do much work with tin, but I have taken chemistry and knew it had it's own entry on the periodic table---Sn is not Fe. But my husband, an electrician, not a chemist, said, "sure magnets stick to tin." Still I KNEW that was just not possible. What's up with that?
It's the fault of &quot;tin cans&quot; - they're made of <em>tinplate steel</em>, but, people being lazy, they stopped listening after the first syllable...<br/>
Wimpy wimpy wimpy, Hefty Hefty Hefty!
Brilliant! I reused an old-fashioned "in-out" board from the office, but I love the simplicity and variations with this that the scene could be changed to anything desired. I will do this for my cubicle so I can position my benders on it! Thank you!
don't the magnets affect the cd's?
As vanbo mentioned, magnets will not harm CDs, DVDs, CD-RWs, DVD-RWs, etc. These discs are made of plastic with the data encoded as bumps molded on the plastic, or (in the case of RW's) opaque dots in a clear dye layer burned in by a laser. Both of which are not affected by magnetic fields. If you are curious, HowStuffWorks has some good background on this:<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/cd1.htm">Construction of CD</a><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://computer.howstuffworks.com/cd-burner1.htm">How CD Burners work</a><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://electronics.howstuffworks.com/question655.htm">How CD-RWs Work</a><br/><br/>No worries...we've been storing all of our games this way for nearly a year.<br/>
Na, CDs are optical and not magnetic, so they should be fine.
awesome idea though im gonna have to make something like this
This is such a great counterpart to your first instructable. Not only can you have your cd's in a convenient spot, they can look decorative too! I love it.

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Bio: Inventing new and unique products for people, robots (if they ask nicely), and a few plants. Learn more about us at "lab424.com/about" if ... More »
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