Picture of Poster Magnet Board
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.

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Step 1: Get Parts and Materials

Picture of 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)

  • 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.

ArdalanS3 months ago

Great instructable

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. . . .
laboratory424 (author)  firehazard076 years ago
Excellent idea firehazard07! According to Rustoleum, yes it will stick to metal. Check it out here. 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.
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.  You can fix that with a lot more magnets holding up the object.  Putting vinyl on the magnet will not help if the problem is between the object and the glass.  The friction needs to be on the board. 

On Kiteman's niggling point, I vote both ways.  In 28 years as an aerospace engineer that material was always referred to as sheet steel.  When we went to buy it we had to specify 'galvanized.'  Yet in old style hardware stores it was referred to as tinplate.  Now in the big box hardware stores I believe it is referred to as simply, 'galvanized.'  Apparently local custom prevails. 
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!
laboratory424 (author)  ninjamonkey6 years ago
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:

  • Get glass at or under 3/32 in. thick so 2 lb pull magnets can be used.
  • 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.
  • Be careful when you place the works together, and mount it securely to the wall so it doesn't move.
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.
aposters3 years ago
Are you able to use movie posters from
shirley xie4 years ago
sonipitts6 years ago
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.
adidame6 years ago
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?
laboratory424 (author)  thedownsmeister6 years ago
We purchased the digital artwork at istockphoto, cropped it to the part we wanted, and then had it blown up to poster size at uprinting. You might check out AllPosters 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.
great, thank you very much!
kannd866 years ago
Great instructable!
Kiteman6 years ago
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 "tin" which magnets will stick to is not tin. It is tin-plated steel.

So-called tin cans are actually steel cans lined with a very thin layer of tin.

Tin itself is not magnetic - the magnet attracts the iron or steel through the tin.
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 "tin cans" - they're made of tinplate steel, but, people being lazy, they stopped listening after the first syllable...
Sandisk1duo6 years ago
Wimpy wimpy wimpy, Hefty Hefty Hefty!
inquisitive6 years ago
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!
zubbie20006 years ago
don't the magnets affect the cd's?
laboratory424 (author)  zubbie20006 years ago
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:

Construction of CD
How CD Burners work
How CD-RWs Work

No worries...we've been storing all of our games this way for nearly a year.
Na, CDs are optical and not magnetic, so they should be fine.
Matt4_166 years ago
awesome idea though im gonna have to make something like this
Brennn106 years ago
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.