Welcome to how to make a magnet out of anything, your guide to making any flat object a magnet. In this post, I’ll show you everything you need including where to get the best magnets. Enjoy.
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How to Make a Magnet
A while back my wife asked me to make a couple magnets for her from a set of wooden cutouts that she got from a friend. After finding the magnets, and finishing the project, it was just too easy not to share with everyone.
This will work for any flat object, preferably a wooden one since we are on a woodworking website, but it will also work for plastic. The object just needs to be thick enough to drill around 1/8 inch into the back side without popping through.
The other thing you will need are very small rare earth magnets, which I will show you where to get. These are some of the most powerful magnets on earth, and they are also super small, so they offer a lot of pull for a tiny little package.
Small Rare Earth Magnets
The best magnets for making something into a fridge magnet are called neodymium magnets, or more commonly rare earth magnets. These are probably the most powerful magnets for their size, and the don’t require a power supply to operate.
Rare earth magnets com in a lot of different sizes and shapes, and they also come in different strengths.
If you want to make yourself laugh, look on Amazon at some of the very powerful magnets and read the reviews. There is everything from people that couldn’t get then out of their mailboxes, and others that put them on their fridge and dented the door.
For making a magnet out of a wooden cutout, you only need a package of smaller magnets, like the ones used to hold together small plastic models for gamers. These are generally 1mm thick and 3mm wide, and that is a perfect size.
If you have a larger drill, or a standard size drill set, look for 1/8″ diameter magnets that are thin, so you can still drill a shallow hole and insert the magnets.
In this example, mine are 1mm by 3mm, and the ad said that they are a little wider than 3mm, so my 3mm drill would create a hole that was slightly smaller, which is great. This means a pressure fit, and no glue needed.
Preparing the Blank for Drilling
Measure and mark for several magnets, and depending on how strong they are, you may need more or less. I like to add enough magnets that I feel really good about how strong the piece will be, so I don’t have to worry about it falling off.
In general, a few more magnets than you think you need is better than a few less, and they are not expensive, so you can afford to drop in a few extra without much more effort.
Measure and mark a line down the center of your piece of wood, and then make marks at regular intervals for where to drill for the magnets. In my case, the marks are half an inch apart.
Drilling Your Wooden Magnet
Select a drill that is just slightly smaller than the magnets you purchased. If you don’t have a drill that works, you can always epoxy the magnets in place, but I promise that part of the fun of this project is hammering the magnets in place, so a little extra effort looking for the right drill will pay off.
Drill your holes so they are a little deeper than the thickness of the magnets, and enough to accommodate the rounded head of the drill. You need to go deep enough that the flat sides of the drill go deep enough into the wood that they are at least at thick as the magnets.
Drill all of your holes, and don’t worry if they are not perfect. This part of the magnet is going to be against the refrigerator, so it won’t be seen anyway.
Inserting the Rare Earth Magnets
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There are a couple ways to add the magnets, and you can do it either way.
Your mini magnets likely came with a small metal rod that you can use to hold one magnet at a time. This is a helpful item, and it makes handling the small magnets much easier than without.
All you do is slide off one magnet from the pile, place at at the head of the metal rod, and then use the rod to press the small magnet into the hole. Press it until it’s flush, and you are done.
Using a Hammer to insert Magnets
Simply put a magnet on the head of the hammer, and then hold the hammer head in your hand as you gently press the magnet into the opening.
Repeat this over and over until all of your magnets have been placed, and then you are done.
You can use the flat hammer head to rub against the back of the wooden cutouts to make sure that the magnets themselves are fully seated and flush with the wood. This will help prevent scratching on your refrigerator.
Gluing in the Magnets
All you need to do is mix up some two part epoxy, rough up one face of the magnets with a little sandpaper so you get a better bond, and then add a drop of it before pushing in the magnets.
Repeat this until all of your magnets have been placed, and then make sure that they are all flush. Once you are done, allow the epoxy to cure, and then you can handle your diy magnets.
A good rule is to use a little less epoxy, and make sure that you get good coverage. This is better than flooding it and having the epoxy squeeze out all over the place. This will create a mess, and then you’ll have to clean it off before you can use your homemade magnets.
How to Make Anything a Magnet Wrap-Up
Using this process, you can make plenty of magnets for the fridge, or for gifts, and one small packet of rare earth magnets from Amazon is all you need to make this work.
If you have any questions, please Contact Me and I will do my best to help you. Happy building.
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