Construct a Magnetic Dickies Workshirt




Huh huh huh...  I said "Dickie". 

I often find myself under my car doing stuff. And while doing said stuff, I often find myself putting my tools on my chest. Why? Because it is a strain reaching back behind my head or across from myself and i don't have to go very far to get them. No forgetting where I put it too if it is sitting on my man bosom. Only problem is they fall off sometimes, like a lot. 

So I got the idea to cram some magnets in a work shirt on my right side (since I am right handed). Personal solution to make my life friggin' easier.

I basically added a handy dandy pocket which has a magnet covered insert slid into it. The insert is removable so that the shirt can be rung out in the wash without sticking to the washer and everything else in there. The insert is made from oil/water resistant/proof stuff so that you taking a spill under the car doesn't ruin it. I chose a semi-rigid plastic for the insert to keep the magnets from folding up the shirt and sticking it together. 

...This is my first instructable so bear with me


Step 1: Materials and a Precaution

These are all the materials you will need:
  1. Dickie brand workshirt or some other brand workshirt if you are a Nancy Boy
  2. plastic signs you buy at Lowes. These yellow ones for posting private property are perfect. just flexible enough
  3. butt-load of 1.5" washers. This is actually optional as I will explain later. I chose this size, you could choose a smaller one for more force. 
  4. butt-load of 1" diameter rare-earth disc magnets coated in epoxy (the epoxy: I was concerned about chipping, scratching, water and oil resistance)
  5. duct tape - duct tape really does do everything, don't it?
  6. a big hankerchief. I bought mine at a fabric store. It doesnt really matter what it looks like since it is going on the inside. You better get pink though... Wuss
  7. Steam a Seam! or some other woven interface mesh. Ask an employee at a fabric store. I hate sewing so this stuff is awesome
  8. marker, tape measurer or ruler, scissors, towel or ironing board, and an iron. 
A note on these magnets: Holy crap are they powerful. be careful around um.... everything. Things will fly 4 inches into the friggin' air to smack your fingers and stuff. Also, be careful with the magnets all around. They are very powerful but very brittle. Two images below here showcase what happens if you let stuff slam into them or mess 'em up trying to pry them apart. You probably wanna keep these things away from cell phones and cameras and robots or they might start singing folk songs...

Step 2: Planning

lay out the shirt and plan out where you are gonna put this thing. I opted for the upper right chest. I may add a second one of these for my stomach area later. The red border shows where I was thinking it would go. Be sure to flatten it out on the inside and get an idea of where that will end up too. 

I don't recommend having this thing too high on your shirt or going too far toward your armpit. It is not flexible enough for that and doesn't seem a good place to keep your tools for ease of reach.

It may help to lay on the floor and get an idea of where you want this to go. Be sure to take pictures so everyone can laugh at the out of context hilarity.

Step 3: Measure the Shirt

Next you are gonna wanna measure the area out that you want to magnetize. I went with a 6" wide area on my chest with an extra inch for when I seal and turn the pocket inside out. I made it about 11 inches deep again with an extra inch for the seem. 


^ seriously. I pee'd myself off hardcore the first time I tried this.
"FFFFFFUUUUUU!!!!!" - me.

Step 4: Measure and Cut Out the Pocket Pattern

Time to take those measurements and use them. You want to cut out an area equal to double the width of the pocket. Or double the length, actually in retrospect that is probably the stronger thing because the bottom of the pocket will take the most force being as we have this whole gravity nonsense. But anyway... I doubled the width and got 14" (remember we are adding one inch for the seem) and measured out 12" for the length. 

Step 5: Cut Out Interface Mesh to Seal Pocket, Iron, Turn Inside Out

Do exactly as I said there. Cut out a 1" strip of that Steam a Seam junk and follow the instructions to iron the edge together at the side and bottom.

NOTE: I only took a photo of the cutting it out for the side. Make sure to rememebr to do it for the bottom too

Now iron it and be sure to burn yourself. This is why I have the towel, because I do not have an ironing board. 

Then, turn it inside out. Voila!

Step 6: Making the Insert

You have to stop with the pocket at this point and measure out the width needed for the insert. Why? Because I said so. Make it JUUUUUST under the total width of the pocket to make it snug but not a pain in the bum to remove and insert.

huh huh huh... "insert"

Same goes for the height. 

You also want to round off the corners with your scissors for these purposes as well. And also to protect the fabric from getting a hole poked in it or something. 

Step 7: Attach the Pocket to the Dickie

Cut out a big friggin' piece of that fuseable mesh stuff to cover the entire pocket. You want this sucker to hold come tornado or hurricane.So measure out a piece and cut it and iron it into the pre-planned place inside the work shirt.

I have mine place a few inches below the top button as shown and slightly under the buttons fold there. Be sure to not damage the buttons when ironing. 

Step 8: Finish the Insert

OK time to attach the magnets. 

These powerhouses should be spaced apart fairly well and taped down with the duct tape to keep them from sliding around and flipping over and pinching you and smacking into themselves and breaking and other nasty stuff. 

On one side you may want to add washers. If you face this side outwards it will make the pull of the magnet a bit weaker and less 'sticky' which I prefer. They also prevent unnecessary snapping to the magnet. Like I said, these things are kinda fragile. So if something is gonna snap/slam onto your chest it would be nice if it was snapping to steel and not to your magnets... potentially breaking them or scratching the epoxy covering.

Lay down the magnets one at a time with the tape!  Also make sure they all have the same pole facing outwards at the washer optional side. 

Don't worry about the washers moving around. These magnets aren't letting them go anywhere, trust me.

Step 9: Finished + Hindsight

Bam. You should be able to stick various tools and bolts to your chest now like this sexy guy here.

If I were to do this again, What would I do differently?:

I might make the stick area a little thinner and longer down the shirt. I may do just that very soon. I figure this will save a little weight and give me more coverage up and down. Depends on how I feel about this width... need more test run uses "in the field".

I may also ultimately get some stitching done to it here because I imagine this mesh stuff will not hold forever. 

I think i may also find a prettier way to attach the magnets like epoxy or some such instead of ducktape. 



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    22 Discussions

    Nice Stickie Dickie you have there. :)

    And congrats on your first Instructable! You did great.


    Can you please convert a metric butt load to pounds? I can't seem to find my conversion chart...

    Awesome idea by the way!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    I love it when I have an idea independently verified. This is awesome. And very similar to my most recent instructable, BUT you obviously started this before I published that. Great minds think alike.

    6 replies

    OMG. I think i don't feel so ingenius anymore after seeing this... : /

    Your idea is still great. Even though the arm bands can be bought, it's still cool to be able to do your own. Besides, one can make a more custom system.One idea is to put this where items can be held on the outside of my pants pocket to hold things like scissors, mini-metallic flashlight, etc.

    Could also be used inside the pocket, to keep things from moving around a lot and becoming irritating when walking, sitting, etc.

    Basically a magnetic pocket organizer. :-) I'm sure there are other ideas for this out there.

    Good job.


    Whoa. Never thought of that. I think you jsut came up with an explanation of how so many video game characters swords stay on their backs without a visible scabbard. haha


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Great Idea, I'm always doing something under my car I always lay a wrench or something down and have to scoot around on my creeper till I find it again. Great i'ble.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    great idea - it could also be used around Halloween. Love your precise instructions - how much is a butt-load?

    2 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    yes. a crap-ton being relitively the average amount of crap produced by FOX news during primetime.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    this is great!...for young people without pacemakers. don't hug your grampa while wearing!


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Great Idea! But I guess you must be completely aware when you are wearing this thing , so no to leave scissors or knives unatended. I mean, I would not want any sharp metal object flying towards my chest.

    This is a great idea. A few years ago I built a belt clip with a magnet for holding screws, I stopped wearing it when I got stuck to a car I walked past. That said, any problems with you sticking to things? Is the insert annoyingly heavy?

    1 reply

    I am editing the last page of this instructable with things like this. The weight IS noticeable but not so much that I mind it. I think i would have made the strip a bit longer and less wide, which would give me more coverage up and down my body and weight a bit less. I havent stuck to anything yet but I tend to jack my car up really high.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Lol, I can just picture a bunch of sockets flying off my shelf and hitting me in the chest. But still, this is a great idea. I'll be making one (I just need to be carefull about where I wear it).

    1 reply