Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Making a Magnet Board

The Redhead is obsessed with books. Books and letters and anything that involves [pretending to] read, or being read to. And this bookworm mama couldn’t be happier. One of her favorite toys as of late are the Magnetic Fridge Phonics Letters by Leapfrog.

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I love that she loves them. But our stainless-front fridge isn’t magnetic, so the poor little letters had been jammed into a 3-inch-wide strip of the side of the refrigerator. That wasn’t going to work. Enter Mom :)

I started with an open-back frame I’d found on clearance at Hobby Lobby. You can’t see the price tag, but I left it on there for my own self-esteem: Regular price: $59.99. Clearance Price: $12.99. :::happy dance:::

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I took my frame to Home Depot with the novel idea that they would have sheet metal. Giant, flowing strips of sheet metal that I could choose from, they would just, you know, cut it for me, and I’d be on my merry way. Well, no such luck. So I settled for a sheet of luan backing [which my helpful HD Associate did cut for me], and 2 flat sheets of pre-cut metal that are usually used for air ducts. I didn’t want to have to buy the tools to cut metal myself (can you imagine that? Talk about asking for a catastrophe!!) so I pieced together these two flats and it came relatively close, with just an inch or so in between the border of the frame and the border of the metal. No worries.

First, I laid the frame over the luan and marked where I wanted my metal pieces to lay. Then I used a liberal amount of spray adhesive to stick the metal to the luan. If my metal had been one solid sheet, I could have stopped here, fit the backing into the frame and called it a day. But I wanted to cover the seams, so I covered the entire piece with this cream twill fabric that I had left over from a table covering I made for my parents’ anniversary party earlier this month (40 years! Woot Woot Mom and Dad!). I pressed the fabric and since the luan wasn’t thick enough to bring out the staple gun, I actually just used a tough mailing tape to tape down the fabric. 1½ -inch chocolate grosgrain ribbon made for an easy matted edge. I fit the whole shebang into the frame, and voila!

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If your frame has a back, you could just insert it and lock into place. Since mine was backless, I went ahead and used good old Gorilla Glue to lock it in place. A good silicone adhesive or caulk would do the trick, too. Whatever floats your boat. Thanks to Mr. V. for doing the hanging job. Now The Redhead has a spot to learn her letters to her little heart’s content and I don’t have to stare at 26-magnets cluttering up the side of my fridge. Everybody wins. :)

Budget Breakdown:
Frame: $12.99
Metal sheets + Luan backing: $14
Fabric covering: $0 (already had)
Ribbon Trim: $1.99
Gorilla Glue + spray adhesive: $0 (already had)

Total: $28.98

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