Introduction: Magnetowel (magnetized Kitchen Towel)

I usually keep a kitchen towel draped over the handle of either the oven or the refrigerator. The problem with keeping it on the fridge or oven handle is that it takes some effort (perhaps minimal, but more than none) to thread the towel through the handle after using it. Draping it over the oven handle often fails when it slips off and falls to the floor. Simply dumping it on the kitchen counter won't do either, since that would hinder drying.

Here's a solution I came up with that is easy to use, fast, and takes very little effort (to use). It's also not too hard to make. It will change the way you use your kitchen towels! Ya.

** Because there's been some confusion, I just want to clarify that this method allows the magnet to be removable. Yes, the magnet can be removed easily for washing (of the towel).

Step 1: Magnetowel - Materials

Things you need:

Kitchen towel (not pictured)
Ruler - or any other length-measuring tool
Pen and/or pencil - or any cloth/paper marking utensil
Scissors - or any cutting utensil (Xacto-knife, cutting wheel, etc)
Neodymium magnet - available online and probably at some hobby stores
Fabric of some sort - for making the pocket
Iron-on adhesive - available at most hobby stores
Iron - ... no comment at this time

The magnet I used was purchased from K&J Magnetics , but you can probably get them at a lot of other places online, and probably at some hobby stores. It is about 1.5 cm in diameter, and about 0.5 cm thick.

I used iron-on adhesive because I didn't have a sewing machine, and didn't want to go through the hassle of sewing everything together by hand. If you do have a sewing machine, it may be easier and more secure. Just sew along the same lines as where the adhesives go. The iron-on seems to be holding nicely, however.

Step 2: Magnetowel - Prepare Fabric

Measure and cut out a piece of the fabric as appropriate for the size of your magnet. The second image shows the approximate measurements you should make. For reference, I used a cylindrical magnet of 1.5cm diameter and 0.5cm thick, and I used strips of adhesive that were 0.5 cm wide.

The blue and orange boxes in the image shows where the magnet will go. The bottom part folds up to create a hidden pocket , and the pocket gets placed (adhered/sewn) pocket-side down on the corner of the towel, which creates a pocket-in-pocket so the magnet does not accidentally slip out.

Blue box dimensions:
   Width = 2cm = diameter of magnet {1.5cm} + thickness of magnet {0.5cm}
   Height = 1.5cm = diameter of magnet {1.5cm}

Orange box dimensions:
   Width = 2cm (same as blue  box)
   Height = 3cm = 1.5 * ( diameter of magnet {1.5cm} + thickness of magnet {0.5cm} )

** The extra length of the orange area provides the necessary maneuvering space needed to get the magnet into the hidden pocket once everything is stuck/sewn in place.

Green areas = width of iron-on adhesive to be used {0.5cm}

Total size of fabric:
   Width = 3cm = width of blue box {2cm} + 2 * width of iron-on adhesive {0.5cm}
   Height = 5cm = height of blue box {1.5cm} + height of orange box {3cm} + width of iron-on adhesive {0.5cm}

Keep in mind that these are just guidelines, and you can vary the size of the blue/orange areas depending on how snugly you want the magnet to fit, and how easily you want to be able to insert/remove it.

Step 3: Manetowel - Adhesive Strips

Cut out strips of the adhesive. You will need 5 strips:

Height of blue box (1.5cm), 2 strips
Height of orange box (3cm), 2 strips
Entire width of fabric (3cm), 1 strip

After a bit of trial & error, I found that it's actually easier to work with the strips if they are slightly shorter than you need. We're not going for a complete seam seal here, so it's okay if there are small gaps where the pieces of sticky meet. Cutting the strips about 1-2mm (0.1-0.2cm) shorter should be fine.

I bought 3/8" wide adhesive because I couldn't find anything narrower, so I ended up cutting the strips in half lengthwise so as to waste minimal area on the adhesive. (3/8" ~~ 1cm, so half that is about 0.5cm which is the measurement I used in calculating the fabric dimensions)

Step 4: Magnetowel - Iron-on #1

Now that you have your materials all prepared, it's time to put everything together.

First, measure off on the fabric where you will be folding. Basically, this means: measure the height of the blue box from the end, and make a mark there.

Fold the fabric at that point, and iron it to make a crease.

Next, open up the crease and place the strips of adhesive along the edges of the fabric. In the images below, I'm doing the "orange box" side first.

Put on the iron according to the instructions on the iron-on adhesive. The instructions on mine said to iron (no steam) for 1-2 seconds for this step.

Do not remove the paper backing yet.

Step 5: Magnetowel - Iron-on #2

Flip the fabric over, and place the other iron-on strips in the appropriate locations. When ironing, be careful not to go past the crease, as over-ironing the adhesive would cause it to melt too much, and become useless for the final step.

Step 6: Magnetowel - Final Ironing

Remove the paper backing off all the strips of adhesive, and fold the fabric at the crease. All the pieces of adhesive should now be facing the same direction.

Place the folded magnet pocket (the fabric) adhesive-side down onto a corner of the kitchen towel. The fold should be facing "in" (see image).

Iron it on! My instructions said 6 seconds for light fabric, and 8 seconds for thick fabrics. This was a very light fabric, so I went with 5-ish seconds.

Let it cool before you start handling it too much, because the adhesive may not have set just yet.

Step 7: Magnetowel - Insert Magnet

Insert the magnet into the opening.

Maneuver the magnet into the hidden pocket (not pictured). I found that it helps to rub/roll the fold between your fingers (I used my pinky and thumb) to cause the inner pocket opening to buckle, to make it easier for the magnet to "catch" the opening.

Step 8: Magnetowel!


You now have a magnetized kitchen towel! Most metal surfaces in a kitchen are magnetic, so there are lots of places you can just toss this onto (oven, refrigerator, dish washer). If you like to keep a towel near the washer/dryer, you can stick one there too.

Just remember to remove the magnet before you put it in the wash. It probably won't do much damage, but it's best to be safe.

Additional notes:
- If you have a sewing machine, or don't mind stitching by hand, the pocket would probably be more secure if it's sewn into the towel.
- You can cut the strip of fabric out of a duplicate towel (matching color/design), to hide or camouflage the pocket.
- Putting the pocket in the center of the towel may make it easier to identify the location of the magnet (instead of checking every corner), and would require less vertical distance to hang the towel.

See also the Sugru-based magnetic towel by projectsugru !

Thanks for reading!