Monday, March 21, 2011

Make your own magnets!

I'm sure you all have seen the magnets made of the clear glass mancala beads (or flat marbles).  But did you know how easy and inexpensive they are to make?

First you'll need to gather your materials:
  • Mancala beads (you can find them at most craft stores, usually in the fake flower section, and I have also found them at the dollar store)
  • Magnet of some sort, either the small flat round magnets, or magnet strip; however, I'll warn you the magnetic charge on the strips of magnets is pretty weak.  I used them in this tutorial but that is because I happened to have a roll of it lying around
  • Glue (I used E-6000 which you can find at most craft stores)
  • Magazine pages, scrapbook paper, etc. (anything with a pattern you like on it!)
Once you've got everything together, start cutting out patterns from your magazine/scrapbook paper into the shape of the mancala bead.  I usually cut my paper slightly smaller than the bead itself so it doesn't hang off the edges, and the beads slightly magnify the image so from the front it looks like it goes to the edges.

Also if you're not sure how a pattern would look on a magnet I will hold the mancala bead over the magazine page to see what it looks like.
Put a dab of glue on the piece of paper.
Place your mancala bead on top of the paper and press down.  You'll see the glue spread under the bead and you want to push until it has spread to all of the edges.
Now we want to add the magnet to the bead.  If you have round magnets you'd just put glue on one side of the magnet and stick it to the back of the mancala bead.  If you are using magnetic strips you'll want to cut a piece of magnet to the size you want.  Peel the tape off the back of the magnet and add a dab of glue to the sticky side.
Then stick this onto the back of the mancala bead.  Let the glue dry for a couple hours (or however long the instructions on the glue say) and you've got your very own customized magnets!

Here are some that I made out of a map in a Dwell magazine:
And here are some that I made in some shades of blue that I liked:
Have you made some magnets like these?  I would love to see how yours turned out!


  1. It's so much fun making your own magnets! Yours turned out great.

  2. Yours turned out very cute! I just love mine and the fact they match my kitchen! :)

  3. I have been wanting to make some magnets. Thanks for the tutorial. When I make mine I will try to send you pictures.

  4. Good point about the magnet rolls. They do bite.

    Great tute.

    I need me some new magnets.

  5. I love making these! Check out mine from last week!

    I used a 1" circle punch, which made that much quicker, modge podge, and the circle magnets (which are almost TOO strong...where's the middle?!?!)

  6. Great idea! Thanks for sharing.

  7. I love this idea! I saw your post on Not Just a Housewife's "Show Me What You Got" and I'm now following your blog. I've been thinking of making magnets for some time now...I just need to sit down and do it! Thanks for the tutorial. :-)


  8. I had issues with the E6000 glue leaving air bubbles. I tried modge podge and it ran the ink on my print outs. Ended up using Triple Thick which I purchased at Hobby Lobby. less Expensive than E6000 and doesn't have the odor of the glue! I found my glass beads at the dollar tree for $1.00 a bag.

  9. I did this a couple of years ago but put pics of my kids in them. The glue made the ink I ended up using jewelry glue and it worked fine.

  10. These are cute! I saw some magnets like these being sold at a specialty bookstore in my country and they are expensive! I wish I can make some... I have no idea where to get the materials here though. Thanks for sharing this!

  11. Really cute!!! Thank you for ahsring and linking up the handamde hog:)

    xoxox Hanna

  12. Great idea! I LOVE cute magnets! Thanks for showing us how it's done!

  13. I just found your blog and am your newest follower. This is a great tutorial and project. It is practical AND cute! Thanks for the great blog and inspiration.

  14. I have done this before! I have some on my fridge now. They are so easy and fun to make. Great job!

  15. I love this and I have been looking for a tutorial on how to make these. Thank you!

    P.S. I am having a giveaway on my blog, the cutest and most practical diaper bag you have ever seen!

  16. These are great! I just made a magnetic chalkboard and I'll probably make a few of these for it! I nominated you for a stylish blogger award!!

  17. Love, love, love...this is a great project for my 6 year old to be involved with (she is such a DIYer in the making!) Thanks for sharing!

  18. Such a nifty, thrifty idea!! Happy to see your creative idea linked up last week at my K.I.S.S. blog bash. Looking forward to seeing what great project you share this week, remember the link is open until Tuesday @ midnight {CST}.

    Drop by The Tattered Tag

  19. Love this idea - great teacher gifts! I'm having trouble w/ the magnet part. I bought the strip that you cut the size you need. Only it doesn't hold on to the frig well. Magnets seem to get more expensive the more 'power' that they have. Any ideas?