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DIY Magnetic Memo Board Using Magnetic Paint

I recently shared photos of my new silhouette gallery wall.  I’m so excited, it is hard to turn my chair around and actually do work because I just keep ogling my silhouette collection, which is finally on display.  I’m also pretty excited about the magnetic board I made that hangs, very discretely, among my silhouettes – much better than my ratty old bulletin board!

DIY magnetic memo board

Here’s how to turn any smooth into a magnetic memo board, using paint!

I started with a great vintage frame, which wasn’t easy to find!  (The frame also has a mirror, which is what I applied the paint to).


I love the ornate details:

I took the mirror and frame apart, and set up a place to paint in my basement, covering the floor with some cardboard.  I cleaned the mirror thoroughly to remove any dust or grime.

Turning a mirror into a magnetic surface

In my basement (but you should use a well-ventilated area), I applied the Rust-Oleum magnetic paint to my mirror with a small roller.  As suggested on the can, I applied numerous, very thin coats.  The manufacturer claims three coats will work, but that is a lie.  I literally used almost the whole can before it would hold a magnet.  After using almost all of the paint, I could finally get a magnet to stick & hold up some paper.

Then I roughed up the frame with sand paper, cleaned it, and applied some leftover magnetic paint with a paintbrush – it took two coats for even coverage.  I wanted the frame and magnetic surface to be the same colour.

Although it took a few days to finally get all of the paint on, the results are impressive – I created a magnetic surface from a mirror and a can of paint!

Some tips for using magnetic paint:

  • Allow more than the recommended drying time in between coats for a smooth surface

  • Mix the paint really well each time you use it

  • Buy a nice smooth, low pile roller that won’t create “dimpling”

  • Keep a magnet handy to test the magnetism after each coat dries

  • Don’t fool yourself into thinking this can be done in an afternoon

DIY magnetic memo board

Does magnetic paint work?
I didn’t let it dry enough in between coats, so I don’t have the smoothest
surface ever, but it works!

Tips for using magnetic paint // What not to do

Create a magnetic surface (almost) anywhere
Proof of magnetism

Create a DIY modern memo board

Now it is time to rock the magnetic poetry.  Have you tried using magnetic paint for any projects?  I have to admit, this stuff is pretty cool!  Here’s a tour of my vintage/modern home office, so you can see how this new DIY magnetic memo board add some function without sacrificing a modern style.



  1. Michelle
    April 21, 2011 / 5:45 pm

    Looks great!! I love the frame, might have to try that : )

  2. Dana@Mid2Mod
    April 21, 2011 / 7:38 pm

    I would have never thought in a million years that you could build up enough of a metallic surface with paint for a magnet to stick. That is so cool!

  3. Stephanie
    April 21, 2011 / 8:29 pm

    ooo…tres chic!!

  4. emily @ the happy home
    April 21, 2011 / 8:50 pm

    that looks fab! i'm always skeptical of those wacky paints (after my chalkboard paint fail) but it's great to see them actually work!

  5. jenna marie
    April 21, 2011 / 11:14 pm

    oh! I love this!! thanks for sharing, I've been wanting to try something, your tips will be helpful. =)

  6. Tanya @ Dans le Townhouse
    April 21, 2011 / 11:15 pm

    I was a little skeptical, too. I'm actually super surprised it is actually magnetic. I kind of thought this might be another DIY Fail. But, seeing as phase II is chalkboard paint I'm nervous about your experience, Emily.

  7. emilie
    April 21, 2011 / 11:47 pm

    I love it! Great idea "wink wink"! Great minds think alike!The wall looks fantastic!

  8. Tanya @ Dans le Townhouse
    April 22, 2011 / 1:13 am

    Oh yes, forgot to mention: I intended to create a bunch of these. You know, because I'd have so much extra paint. Snort. I'll have to love this one alot because no way am I dropping 30 clams on another can of magnetic paint.

  9. Lesley
    April 22, 2011 / 5:18 am

    Egad. I may just end up stealing every single idea that you have. I already made your Abstract Painting and now I have to make this? Sigh. Stop being so inspiring. I'm exhausted.

  10. Krazy4Mod
    April 22, 2011 / 7:19 am

    You are so creative and artistic. I'm not jealous but maybe a wee bit envious 🙂 Just love your wall of silhouettes and the new magnetic mirror is icing on the cake.

  11. Classic Style
    April 22, 2011 / 11:53 am

    so creative..thanks for sharing your inspiring ideas../Marie

  12. Colleen @ MuralMaker&More
    May 2, 2011 / 3:20 pm

    Well, dang. I just did my first chalkboard paint project and now I gotta try this too! Love all your tips. Thanks for sharing. Nowadays, I always read (trust) blogger tutorials over the manufacturers!

  13. Tanya @ Dans le Townhouse
    May 21, 2011 / 1:35 pm

    An update: if you try this project, you might find not all magnets are strong enough to adhere. I picked up some super strong magnets and they work perfectly.

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