Introduction: Magnetic Dry Erase Label

I keep a wide stock of materials and chemicals in my shop, and, for safety and organization purposes, many things are stored in cabinets. Flammables in a proper flammable cabinet, welding materials in their cabinet, corrosives, detergents, paints, and so on, all out of sight and protected. It is tough to track stock, and some things are easy to forget or misplace, especially when others are working in the space.

I have the habit of marking EVERYTHING with either Sharpie or dry erase, and was looking for a good temporary label solution. In the end, I found the cheapest solution I could: dry erase tiles that I can put on shelves or cabinet doors, and move where needed, but not make a permanent or difficult to clean mess.


2X4" White Porcelain Tile -- Mat of 15 for about US$2.50

Business Card Magnetic backer -- About US$20 for 100

Hot Glue

Step 1: Materials

I had a stack of adhesive-backed magnet material for mounting business cards that I picked up long ago. In the quest to find an appropriate dry-erase surface, I wandered through the Orange Box Store for a couple of rainy-day hours. In the end, I selected glossy white tiles for the dry-erase surface, as the price is about US$0.20 each and they are excellent dry-erase surface.

The tiles separate easily with a utility knife, and the excess connecting material cuts off fairly easily. The back side is unglazed and textured for bonding with a thin-set, so it is really not a good surface for the adhesive on the magnet. Hot glue will grab the surface well, though, and will adhere to the magnet sheet, as well.

The magnet sheets are a little wider and a little shorter than the tiles. This actually makes alignment easy, as the magnet can be trimmed after being mounted.

Step 2:

After peeling the backer from the magnetic material, I set it on a flat surface and applied two beads of hot melt. It isn't necessary, nor is it desirable, to cover the entire surface. Two beads is sufficient, and the magnet material can flex a little. Covering the entire surface makes it tough to get flat fitment and makes excessive squeeze-out likely.

Immediately, the tile is pressed into place with moderate force to get good contact of the glue to the tile back. Doing this on a flat surface keeps the magnet flat.

Once the glue has cooled, the overhanging edges are trimmed flush to the tile with a utility knife. Blade life isn't great even with care, due to contact with the tile.

The 2X4 tile is large enough to write a surprisingly long list, with a fine point dry-erase marker, and the porcelain does not stain over time like most inexpensive boards or dry-erase paints.