A friend of mine was obsessing about magnetic paint a couple of years ago. He had just used magnetic paint to great effect in his office, covering a wall in it, and then using that wall as a huge, fantastic blank canvas for everything in the office that needed to be pinned on view – from things that needed to be done, to ideas for the clients in his branding and design business.
But it was not until we had finished refurbishing our son’s bedroom and a rather old tin of magnetic poetry paint was given to us by a kind friend, that I swung into action, and realised the true potential of the stuff.
So what is Magnetic Paint?
The tin specifies a range of ingredients from Ethylene Glycol and Ammonium Hydroxide through to Sodium Benzoate, but the key ingredient is Iron Powder. Stirring the stuff and rollering it onto a wall reminds me of the iron filings that I used to play around with in chemical sets as a kid.
How to turn your wall into a Magnetic Pin Board
If you don’t mind painting, then it’s pretty straight forward to create your own magnetic pin board. First off, you need something to apply it to your wall with. I chose a mini roller, with a short pile mohair sleeve. A mini roller will soak up a minimum of paint (it’s expensive stuff so you don’t want half your paint to soak up into the roller!) whilst still giving you a reasonably quick and easy way to cover the wall.
I also marked the area I wanted to paint with masking tape. That way I knew exactly where to paint and didn’t waste any of this expensive paint on areas that I didn’t intend to pin things to.
3 Coats Required
You need to apply at least 3 coats of paint to the wall. The more magnetic paint you apply the more effective the magnets will be, so I was careful to ensure that I had enough paint to cover the area 3 times. The paint takes a minimum of 4 hours to dry between coats, so it’s a good idea to cover your roller tray in cling film after each coat. You don’t want to wash the roller in between each coat, using up valuable paint, and so cling film keeps the paint from drying on the roller during the 4 hours between each coat.
To cover over the magnetic paint when dry requires 2 – 3 coats of the emulsion that you painted the rest of the wall with.
Whilst you could leave the wall in the grey finish of the magnetic paint, you’ll achieve a far greater effect in the room if you hide the magnetic paint.
It’s also important to buy the right magnets – the key here is to get the strongest magnets you can find, because ideally you will want to be able to pin reasonably thick card and multiple sheets of paper to the wall. The magnets I bought – pictured above – from first4magnets.com are available in a range of colours. I was also recommended push pin magnets from Ultramagnets.com.
The end result exceeded all expectations. One magnet is strong enough to hold even a heavy birthday card on the wall.
Transform your Living Areas with Magnetic Paint
So if you’re looking for ways to funk up your children’s bed room or even your living room, magnetic walls could be the answer. Put simply, they’re a fun way to arrange everything from “To Do” lists to birthday cards. They encourage creativity and self expression in a way that a more conventional pin board cannot achieve over a much smaller area.