Cable and Magnet Bulletin Board




About: I've worked for Instructables off and on since 2006 building and documenting just about everything I enjoy doing. I am now the Creative Programs founder and manager for Autodesk and just finished building o...

Here is a way to make a place to hang papers, pictures and other random stuff using just some steel cable, a few magnets and some basic hardware. This project takes about 20 minutes to put together and you can pick up most of what you need at the local hardware store. While the project doesnt require much building experience, you will need a cable cutter, needle nose pliers and a drill to put this thing together.

When your done you'll have a lightweight, semi-portable, semi-hip way to hang up all the extra papers lying around - or bacon adhesive bandages as the case may be.

This project is based upon something I saw in a museum gift shop which closely resembled this. But why pay money for what you can build yourself and customize to you own needs?

Step 1: Gather Materials

First you will need to gather your materials.

1. Steel cable - I picked up about 8 feet of 1/8" steel cable from the hardware store at about 18 cents a foot. You can use thicker steel cable - but unless your going to be suspending a whole lot of paper (more than a couple hundred pounds worth) the 1/8" braided cable is fine.

2. Magnets - I had some old magnets lying around that I use as grill connectors on speakers so I just used those. If you want to buy some nice magnets that would work well you can get some at They offer a whole bunch of different types of neodymium magnets from 6 cents a piece up to 1 dollar a piece. Any disc magnet around a 1/16" to 1/8" thick will have plenty of holding power for a regular paper. If you plan on going through some heavier stock or want to hang some larger objects it would be best to get a bigger magnet - at around 1/4" they start getting really strong.

3. Cable clamps - These are available where the cable is sold in the hardware store and you should get the size that fits your cable. I got 1/8" clamps for 1/8" cable.

4. Screw Eyes - The screw eyes also come from the hardware store and are just your basic screw eyes for wood. 1/4" x 1.5" screw eyes are plenty strong if your hanging them in wood. If your walls are drywall or plaster you should pick up some plugs for the screw eyes and sink them in first so they have something to grab on to.

Step 2: Gather Your Tools

In order to put this together you will need some basic tools:

1. Needle nose pliers
2. Cable cutter (you can get by with a wire cutter and another pair of pliers - or even just a hack saw if you don't have a cable cutter)
3. A drill with a bit to make a hole for your screw eye.

Step 3: Mount One Screw Eye Into the Wall

Its easiest to wire up the cable once one of the anchors is already in the wall. Drill a pilot hole for the screw eye and twist it into the wall. I use a screwdriver stuck through the round part of the screw eye like a handle for leverage sometimes when its hard to twist them by hand.

Step 4: Cable Clamp Assembly

Once the screw eye is in the wall thread an end of the steel cable through the cable clamp first and then the screw eye.

Then thread it back through the cable clamp and tighten down the small nuts on the back of the clamp. I left about an inch or so of extra cable sticking out beyond the cable clamp just to give myself some room.

I used the needle nose pliers to tighten the tiny nuts on the back of the cable clamp.

(The pictures show this process happening on a table rather than on the wall with the screw eye mounted. This was for documentation purposes only - its best to thread the cable through the screw once its already hung.)

Step 5: Cut the Steel Cable to Length

Next you need to cut the steel cable to length. I cut mine to about 6 feet long since I cant reach anything much taller than that. If your going to running it horizontally on the wall then it can be any length you like.

Its easiest to use a cable cutter to do this (shown in first picture) - its about a 10 dollar tool at the hardware store. If you don't want to pick one up you can use a wire cutter or any others pliers with a cutting surface and just try to slowly work your way through the steel cable in a circular twisting motion between your hands (shown in second picture). This takes some time and requires a good deal of effort so be warned.

Hack saws can make pretty quick work of steel cable as well if you can get someone to hold the cable while you saw it.

Step 6: Hang Second Screw Eye on Wall

With one assembly complete and in place on the wall you will need to hang the second screw eye. Drill another pilot hole a few inches closer to the original screw eye then you cut your cable. I cut my cable at about 6 feet long so I put my second screw eye about 5'10" away from my first one. Hang the second screw eye.

Step 7: Screw Eye and Cable Clamp Assembly (2nd One)

This is basically just a repeat of step 3.

Thread the cable first through the cable clamp, then through the screw eye, then back through the clamp.

Pull the steel cable as tight as you can before locking down the nuts on the cable clamp so it doesn't sag when you hang your items. It helps to have a helping hand for this part so one person can pull the cable one the other person tightens the nuts.

(This picture shows this process being done off the wall just for documentation purposes. This step should be done on the wall, once the screw eye has already been hung).

Step 8: Put on the Magnets

Once you've got the cable nice and tight the last step is to grab the magnets, stick them on and hang your stuff.

If you want to grab something off the bulletin cable quickly you can just pull it straight down and the magnet stays in place - it kind of makes you feel like a magician a little.



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    12 Discussions


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi there,
    This post is excellent as well as the entire site. I really like the idea of ​​using the small things that are easily accessible and are located around our guides for something beautiful and creative. I would recommend everyone to visit this site from time to time and use your imagination.
    Best regards from Adam!


    12 years ago

    I made one of these in my office today! I just ran the steel cable around some pipe mounts already bolted to the concrete and put the turnbuckle near the ground. Small magnets hold single pieces of paper with ease.


    12 years ago

    Tightening is more easily done with a small turnbuckle. These come in many forms, including very slick ones for tensioning cable. These take a cable in each end and holds that cable with grub screws, and then the central barrel turns to lengthen or shorten the buckle.

    Neat concept, and well explained.

    2 replies

    Reply 12 years ago

    A turnbuckle would definitely make the cable a lot tighter than I was able to get it with my hands. Thanks for the suggestion - maybe I will stick one in line and take some pictures and make an update.


    Reply 12 years ago

    Make sure you don't overtighten the turnbuckle. When the screws are in wood, sometimes you can tighten the cable up too much and the screws start to lien in and pull out of the wood. Also, for this application, you should be able to use a friend to get the cable tight enough. A turnbuckle will clutter the contemporary look you are trying for.


    12 years ago

    Bulletin board 2.0 Great job!


    12 years ago

    Great idea- the only problem is that officemates might also want one for themselves and that means more frigate-rigging work. If could get hold of a three-strand cable- I think an eye splice would be neater, doing away with the clamps (another instructionable?)

    3 replies

    Reply 12 years ago

    What do you mean by an eye splice? Could you bundle three cables together and then run them out of the screw eye in different directions for each of your officemates? That would be a steel cable bulletin board tri-fecta!


    Reply 12 years ago

    That is really cool! I will try splicing the cable back upon itself - I wonder if the steel cable is too tight to manipulate though. I'll give it a shot and let you know how it goes.


    12 years ago