Make Your Tea Towel Magnetic With Sugru (+ Video)

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Introduction: Make Your Tea Towel Magnetic With Sugru (+ Video)

About: The team behind Sugru, the mouldable glue that makes fixing and making easy and fun. Do-ers of the world it's time to get excited. http://sugru.com
It's incredibly satisfying to watch a tea towel fly across the kitchen and snap onto the fridge door.

We couldn't resist taking them outdoors though :)


This hack was inspired by quartertone's very awesome magnetised kitchen towel, we fell in love with his idea but also thought that sugru could make it a little bit better by solving the waterproofing and washing issue.

Did you know that sugru:
- bonds to fabrics
- is flexible when cured
- is waterproof so you never have to remove the magnet as sugru will protect it
- is washing machine proof so will not wash off

Step 1: Ready, Steady...

Start off by getting all your stuff ready for your hack. You will need the following:

Magnet* we used: Neodymium magnets - size 10mm x 5mm (1/2" is good)
sugru
Tea Towel
Scissors
Tissue paper



* We bought strong magnets from our local electronic store, (Maplin in the UK - product code: YA29G) they work really well as they are strong enough to hold the weight of a tea towel. (otherwise you'll might get tea towels sliding down the fridge!)
We also found loads of them on eBay, search for: NEODYMIUM or NdFeB
These magnets from RadioShack should be good too.
Or from K&J Magnetics, this one looks pretty good to me.

Good to know: This hack requires just 1/3 of a mini pack of sugru, so you can do three tea towels at the same time, or you can line up a few other hacks so you don't waste any sugru. For more inspiration and ideas, check out our gallery.

Step 2: Base Layer of Sugru + Fabric Tips

First of all you'll want to make a small base layer of sugru on the towel so you can then attach your magnet...

Start with a sixth of a pack and push onto the corner of your tea towel. You need to really work the sugru into the fabric to get a good bond, the two best techniques for sugru and fabric are:

THE TWIST: use quick, sharp, twisting motions multiple times over the surface.

or

NAIL: use the back of your nail in short brushing motions to push down into the fabric.


TIP 1: After a little practice, you will find a technique that works for you.

TIP 2: Sometimes the sugru sticks to your fingers instead of the tea towel, just give your hands a quick wipe with dry tissue paper.

Step 3: The Magnet

Now you have a sugru base layer on your tea towel use the other sixth of the pack to fully encase the magnet.

sugru bonds to sugru extremely well, but to get the best bond make a point on one side of the magnet to push onto the tea towel. The point will squash the sugru outwards from underneath the magnet giving you the best possible bond.

TIP: Once the magnet is fixed to the tea towel, blend the edges around the magnet to the base layer of sugru. This will make your hack much more robust. If you don't blend the edges, the magnet can tear off over time.

Step 4: Get the Best Out of Your Magnet

Make sure you get the most out of your magnet by only applying a light covering on the top side, keep this in mind when your smoothing down the rest of the sugru to get the finish you want.

As ever you will need to leave your tea towel over night to dry so maybe leave those dishes a little longer...

Step 5: Customise!

We made loads of these tea towels for our video and had fun experimenting with making interesting shapes and mixing colours.

If you make one, please post an image in the comment thread :)

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    37 Discussions

    How about applying a square patch of Sugru to the corner of the tea towel and folding it over the magnet, pressing around the magnet firmly to make the seal? Has that been tried and found lacking?

    1 reply

    hey, that's a pretty neat idea, haven't tried it ourselves but it is clever. Are you going to give this a try ? Would love to hear how it works for you.
    Have you seen this ible, there are some good tips for applying sugru to fabric that you might find useful.

    - As I work with textile and electronics, I would see conductive Sugru at the points where you connect the sewn electronics with the "hard parts".
    - As Sugru bonds with textile, a whole other bunch of applications can be imagined such as connecting for example leds and resistors immediately on the fabric, with sugru.
    - 3D modelling (playdoh-style) which connects electronics
    (in any case, nothing above 5 volts :-))

    Here is my take on this project.

    I coated some (excessively strong) magnets with Sugru but found that the Sugru didn’t reduce the force of the magnets as much as I expected, so I wrapped the magnets in a small pouch of scrap washcloth. I picked up 4 terrycloth hand towels and a matching terrycloth washcloth and cut the corners of the washcloth off. I sewed the corner of the washcloth onto the towel and put the magnetic pillow into the pocket. It blends in really well and you barely notice the modification.

    It worked out great, and you can toss the towel at the from quite a distance and not damage the fridge due to the two towel layers and Sugru protection. The magnet is still quite powerful, so I expect when they get washed to stick to the sides of the washer and dryer, but that should be fine.

    As an aside, a pair of powerful Sugru coated magnets are a great desk toy for idle hands, plus make great stud finders. :)

    I used DD4 magnets (13/16" dia. x 1/4" thick, 20.86 lbs of pull force) from kjmagnetics and half a package of Sugru per magnet. I really expected the heavy cloth and Sugru to weaken the magnetic field more than it did. If I were to get more magnets, I would try out the DD2, with 10.53 lbs of pull and get rid of the extra layer.


    Thanks for the project. :)

    1 reply

    Hi, Ive got my Sugru, teatowels & magnets- just a thought : at the end, once the magnets are firmly in place & cured overnight, would it help to turn over the fabric at the corner & sew it in place (into a pouch) just to make it extra robust? Or would that affect the magnets? I suppose you could cover the magnets in Sugru (to prevent rust), fold over the fabric at the corner making a pouch , and the just sew them into place ? What do you think?

    1 reply

    Hi jces999,

    once you cover the magnet in sugru you don't actually need to fold over the towel.
    The sugru protects the magnet from rusting but also from impact when it hit's other metals. You could fold over the towel as well if you wish but personally, I wouldn't bother. Hope this helps and please post an image of your towel once you complete the project :)

    This is awesome, just ordered 4 packs of Sugru for the price of 3 with my YAYCHRISTMAS voucher code. Can't wait to make these! Also going to try to put sugru on the corners of my chopping boards so they won't slip. Awesome product. So many uses.

    1 reply

    Just a thought... Could you MIX Sugru with magnetic putty? That'd keep you from having the magnet problem. I don't know if it'd kill the magnet's magnetic-ness.
    I've not tried it, but sugru has inspired me to think of innovative putty ideas.

    question. If the sugru people are reading this, Would you consider making different forms of the stuff? more than just colours? add in magnetic properties, glow in the dark-ness, electronic transmitability (totally cool idea so you could make Sugru circuits!), etc.
    just a thought.

    1 reply

    hey, great ideas, yeah, we have a massive to do list and most of these or on it. Extending shelf life is our priority though.

    if you mix other ingredients with sugru, you will compromise it's properties, adhesion will be reduced and it will not be as strong. However, this migh suit some of your applications...

    If you could chose one version of sugru with new properties, what would it be ?...

    Um...

    Why dont you just sew a magnet into the corner
    (ie. fold the corner over and sew it shut with the magnet inside...)

    and save the trouble of the sugru ... duh!

    Your stupid.

    4 replies

    hello dwilkinson1,

    thanks for your comment.

    To answer your question, the magnet would not survive the washing machine, so sugru is used to serve two functions;
    1: to bond the magnet to the towel
    2: to protect the magnet from the washing machine / tumble drier / impact with hard surfaces.

    Best,

    James

    Dear James,

    Thanks for your diplomatic response...

    I was drunk when I wrote that, (in case you cant tell).

    So of course if you just sew it in place it will rust and run into the fabric?

    I still don't get your answer though... wouldn't the folded over corner of fabric with the magnet sewn inside:
    protect the magnet in the wash & soften the impact of hard surfaces?
    & indeed bond the magnet to the towel in a sewn up corner?

    Or would it just tear the fabric as it goes through the wash I suppose.

    I'm going to make some my way anyway & let you know how it goes.

    Cheers Deb.

    hi again, thanks for your apology.

    water will penetrate the fabric so will still rust, if you look at quartertone's original post, he made the magnet removable. : https://www.instructables.com/id/Magnetowel-magnetized-kitchen-towel/

    I used sugru so that it does not have to be removed.

    Sorry for being inconsiderately rude and calling you stupid. I was drunk.
    Your not stupid.

    Love this idea! Not just for the magnet use (I'm into solving home problems with magnets too), but for your sugru use. I've used mine in only one project so far--to reconstruct the eye of a frog sculpture (for which it worked beautifully). Time for another sugru challenge?