How to make a magnetic memo board

April 27, 2011

If you’ve read this here blog for a while, you know I share the fails along with the good stuff. And sometimes there’s a project that’s not necessarily a fail --  it just doesn’t work the way I had hoped.

Case in point – the DIY memo board in my office:

After I finished, I hung it up, admired it, and then stuck my first pin in to hold up a reminder…and the hives started.

The pin put a huge hole in the beautiful fabric – the fabric that pretty much inspired the whole room. The fabric I LOVE that I do NOT want to have meeeellions of holes in.

Breathe Sarah.


I tried different pins, and again with the hyperventilating.

The fabric I used on my old board worked fine:

I know that one looks a hot mess – it was on it’s last leg. :)

Anyway, that fabric was thinner, so it did fine with the push pins. The new fabric, notsomuch.

Because I really wanted to have a memo board I could actually use…I had to figure out a new way to go about this project.

It finally came to me, in the form of magnets.

And it only took three months (who’s counting?) but I finally got it done. Again.

I picked up a sheet of metal at Lowes that was the perfect size for what I needed. YES! No cutting necessary. Until I got it home and realized they put the wrong tag on it – and it was six inches too long.

I don’t have metal snippers of any kind, but I was determined to not go back to the hardware store again – so I tried our do-it-all scissors…and they worked!:

We LOVE these things – they cut through just about anything. Including metal. ;) Who would have thunk? (You can find them at Bed Bath and Beyond.)

I used plenty ‘o Liquid Nails on one side of the metal sheet:

And centered on my piece of foam:

I wrapped it with the fabric – again. And secured the fabric to the back of the board with hot glue. Again. :)

Then I used my nail gun to nail it onto the back of the frame:

If you attempt this, you could use either the foam board (for push pins) or the metal (for magnets) – you really don’t need both. I just used the foam because I had it, and it made it easy to attach it to the back of the frame.

When I was done, I realized the frame needed just a little somethin’:

And decided it was time to stress a little and do a little distressing:

I always sweat when I do that, even though it’s no big deal – if you sand off too much, you can just touch it up with paint.

But I do always stress. :)

I finished it up (again) by adding a coat of poly to protect it:

And now, it’s finally ready to do it’s job:

For real this time!

I made some DIY magnets by taking some cute scrapbooking brads and little magnets:

I just took off the “brad” part (they twisted right off) and glued a magnet on the back:

So I finally have a spot to put all of my memos…you know, cause it’s a MEMO board.

DIY magnetic memo board

Not a sit empty for three months cause you’re going to ruin it if you use it. :)

I still don’t know if it will stay in that spot – it’s convenient, but it depends on how much I put up there. (These were just random things I had nearby.) If it gets too cluttered I may move it across the room.

I’ll live with it for a while where it is and see how I use it. But now, at least I can USE it:

desk with light and magnetic memo board

And not just admire. It’s function over form around these parts. :)

You may have noticed…no, I still haven’t painted the board and batten. Soon. I swear. I’m mentally preparing myself.

Let’s just focus on how far it’s come, umkay?:

Now…onto filling holes, caulking, priming, painting, filling holes, caulking…whimper.

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  1. That looks great!! What a super idea to use magnets instead of tacks .. . you really are clever (and thrifty). ;)

  2. I love the transformation in your office!! It looks great! And the memo board is even better now that it's magnetic.

  3. Love, LOVE this!! I have a memo board that I've made myself, and I've re-done my sewing room all magnetic (think: all my tools in little tins on knife strips-within reach!!), and I've wanted to re-purpose the memo board! I think this might be my next little project. :) Although working with metal still makes me super nervous!

  4. It's perfect, and I was chuckling along with you when you said you could NOT put a hole in that fabric. It's gorgeous!! :) You have at least another year before we will expect the boards to be painted. Grace...lots of grace!

  5. Love it! Pretty fabric. I'd be much more likely to use a magnetic piece...I always try not to punch holes in stuff. And PS, does "Anonymous" really think we'll click on that incredibly long and spammy link?

  6. You. Are. Awesome. Love your blog. Cannot get enough. And I think I want your house. :)

  7. I am TOTALLY with you...I did one, too:

    It's in my kitchen and I love it for hanging my daughter's artwork and you have GOT to get yourself some electric snippers like I have - they make neat curly cues!

    Becky B.
    Organizing Made Fun

  8. It's really, really nice, and good on you for resurrecting it and making it perfect!!

  9. Looks awesome! Great solution! I'll be keeping this in mind when I put together the two memo boards for my office. Your office looks wonderful!

  10. I don't know is this has been answered, but where did you get the fabric for the drum shade and memo board? I love it and that blue is perfect for our living room.

  11. Your office looks so darn cute! I love the memo board as well :)

  12. Totally stealing this idea for my almost finished memo board- soon to be a mag-y memo board :)

  13. Great save!! I like it even better now! You got skills girl... or skilz...either way, you got it..

  14. Sarah, books on tape are what get me through painting. It's sooooo boring I have to be listening to something, so it's either the TV or some books on tape.
    Great fix on your bulletin board.

  15. Love I'm ready to dig out the wonderful old frame I have and start this project!

  16. Love it. Yes, my inner Type A wouldn't have handled holes in that beautiful fabric either. I'm doing a slightly similar idea in my 7 year old daughters room except that instead of fabric she wants a framed magnetic chalkboard. My husband runs a steel shop so at least I can get him to cut the steel for me. :). Doncha feel great figurin out a way to protect that gorgeous fabric?!?

  17. Looks GREAT! That's exactly what I need. I have a small 18x18-ish one but I need a HUGE one! TFS! Off to the hardware store I go...ok not this very minute but this weekend for sure! ;0)

  18. LOL! You're awesome...
    And you came up with the perfect solution!!! It looks fantastic...

  19. Love your message board and that it is magnetic, how cool is that. We are living in parallel universes today, I also posted about a message board. Never enough ideas to help stay organized!! Have fun filling with the hole repairs! Ha...Janell

  20. Love love love it! Thanks for posting...I had the same problem with mine so it just sits that's not very productive is it? Thanks a meeeellion! ;)

  21. Your room is coming along great! I love the colors you chose (although I like all the colors in your house!)

    Have a happy Thursday! :)

  22. This is a GREAT idea! I have a ton of magnets that I collect when I travel and am definitely running out of room on the fridge - I may just have to do something like this to display them all. Thank you for sharing!

  23. Great idea!!! I love that fabric too. I used that and your shade fabric to recover my wing chairs.

  24. I think the magnets are way better because not only does your fabric stay nice but the things you hang there also don't get holes. It always bothers me to put pinholes in things like kids artwork or photos - with this you won't have to. Great job!

  25. Such a great idea and you make it look so easy! thanks for the tutorial. Those scissors are going to find a loving home with my other tools.

  26. Love this what a great idea to use magnets. I just now need to make a memo board for my office!

  27. The magnets were a great idea! Isn't it funny how a great idea just suddenly comes to you? Sometimes I have to put a project aside until I get a brainstorm.

  28. This freakin rocks my socks. Please come link it up tomorrow at my party!!!

  29. A magnetic board is a great idea! I did a little memo board project also. I used ribbon criss crossed, and while it looks fab, you can hardly fit anything between the ribbons, and they tend to loosen. Perhaps my board needs a little re-do also =)

  30. I love the idea of using a frame and using the metal- what a great idea! I might be trying that soon!

  31. You inspire me just to *do* something (anything!) each time I visit your blog. I love, love, love how you're lightening up your space. ..I envy your ability to see the end in your head before getting there :) Have a great weekend!

  32. This is so awesome. Thanks for being very inspiring. I'd love to have an office that looks like this. Of course, I now know how to get it!!

  33. Sarah,
    I made a memo board just like this for my room in my apartment and it looks GREAT! Thank you for the are amazing!

    - Tara

  34. I love this project and I am going to make one for my daughters room!!! Maybe even the chore board for the mud room!!! YAY projects =O)


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