Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How to make a Magnetic Canvas (picture heavy)

After posting this post on the Studio Calico blog about the Footnotes add-on from the Bibliography kit, I got a lot of requests for info on making magnetic canvases. When I told my husband about it, Steve demanded a chance to do a pictorial so that he could share a couple of tips on making one. And since he made the first one for me, I figured I'd better let him. haha.

I'm renovating. And when I say I'm renovating, what I really mean is that I'm taking a house that we should have shoveled aside and trying to make it my dream house. The key to this renovation is this sweet boy right here:

I swear to pete this man can do anything! His dad was a contractor back in the day, but I don't know how he could have taught Steve all of the skill that he has. Basically, if you give him a project, he can do it. That's why we bought this stinkin' ugly house. lol. LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION...... house. Someday I'll love it. I'm not sharing a photo of it anywhere until it's done though. It's just so dang ugly. And I can't work on the outside until we are finished with the inside.

This is my mud room floor. Steve did the tile. Of course. Isn't it pretty? I will say that I love my mud room floor. We're slowly working on it.... this mud room used to be a single car garage. Now it has a pretty floor and a really pretty front load washer and dryer. lol.

I interrupted a day of interior trim to photograph him making me another canvas. We have a wood shop set up and he's been busy trimming pine for door and floor trim that will be replacing everything that's inside. That's 2200 square feet of trim, so I have a busy boy.

Okay, on to the canvas.

Steve has a couple of initial tips when making these canvases.

First. I bought the canvases in a two-pack on sale at Michaels. So any canvas will work.

Second. Metal sheeting. This is what you need to make your canvas magnetic. When you go to your local home improvement store, please don't go to the section where they sell the craft stuff. You will pay far too much money if you buy your metal sheeting in that section. Instead, go back to the heat ducting section, and buy flat sheets back there. This is the sticker on the back of the sheet we used:

The other things you need are:
tin snips
marking pencil

Steve suggests you insert your magnetic sheeting before you create your project on your canvas. The cutting and fitting process makes the sheeting very sharp which can tear the canvas. He'd hate for you to make a beautiful project and then to ruin it with a great big gash from a piece of metal sheeting. So I think this is a good tip. lol

The first thing you need to do when you are ready to go is to measure your canvas. In this case, my canvas was 16x20.

We wanted it to be magnetic as close to the edge as possible, so he trimmed it just short of 20 inches in the width.

Steve used tin snips here. When you are trimming be sure to wear your gloves. The cutting process curls the edge of the sheeting a wee bit which makes it very sharp.

For the height of the first sheet, he trimmed it just short of the opening in the back of the canvas.

After you have trimmed your piece, insert one side in the opening.

To fit the rest of the sheet inside the canvas, you will need to bow out the sheeting to fit it in the opening. Be sure to do so carefully so that you don't tear the fabric.

After you have fit the sheet in, slowly maneuver the sheet until you have slid it as far up as you can so that the magnet reaches as much of the top and side edges as it can.

After it's set, measure the size you'll need for the second piece.

After you have fit it in just as you did the first sheet, do the same and slide it carefully to the outside edges.

When you are finished, take packing tape to cover those sharp edges and keep the two pieces of sheeting in place.

Voila! A magnetic canvas.

For my canvas, I made Morgan a place to display her artwork. She's been using all of my scotch tape, hanging her latest drawing in her room or on the walls above her art table. I have plans for more canvases, but this first one is in her room next to her bed.

(Out for publication in Simply Handmade. Be back soon!)

I used Cosmo Cricket blackboard and the coordinating stickers for my magnets. It doesn't get any easier than that!

Let me know if you have any questions! Also, please share if you make a canvas. I have 2 more blank canvases finished and waiting for their final place. My current plan is to turn Prima Pebbles into magnets and use them at Morgan's art table, or in my kitchen area for school calendars and the grocery list, etc.

Have a great day! Davinie


  1. Thanks so much for sharing this. I just love this idea and really want to make one for my kitchen.

  2. That is a FAB idea! love it!!! and thanks for such great instructions!!

  3. great the mud room floor. We are also going to use this tile in our laundry room and bathrooms. i love the look of it!

  4. Wow. Need to bookmark this so I can show the hubster. He will be so happy with another project! :)

    This is fantastic!

  5. This is adorable. I need to get a home improver like that. Mine can do electrical and some light stuff... that's about it.

  6. What a fab idea!!! Thanks for sharing.

  7. Thank you(and Steve)so much for posting the directions for this. I can already see myself making a space-themed one for my son's room and of course, something girly & pink for my daughter.
    One for the kitchen would be great too!

  8. Raegan requests one of these for her birfday. Hell, Kael does too. Cars or spaceships or something.

    Yes, presumptious. But I'm not crafty at all and OMG is that CUTE!!! So much hounding will be had...

  9. WOW, Dav! Thanks to your and your guy for demo-ing this for us. Love it!

  10. ooooh COOL!!! i think i might need one of those for my place :) although i don't trust myself to make it. maybe the boy? HA! actually it sounds more like something his dad can do.

  11. what a great idea! These would be perfect for the kids' rooms. I have an ugly, unfinished house too, so I totally feel your pain. My bathrooms floors...concrete. Yup. We have lots of plans, but not lots of $$, lol!

  12. So clever! I love this idea. Mine you I don't think I will be able to get dh on this project to quickly! LOL awesome instructions and pictures, thanks so much!

  13. Davinie - this is such a cool idea! And what a fabulous hubby you have to help you out!!!!

  14. Wow, thank you so much for the picture tutorial! I am going to have to try making one this weekend... I could use something that is magnetic in my kitchen... I wish I had known stainless isn't magnetic.
    BTW that mudroom floor is beautiful, can't wait to see what else you do!

  15. Very cool project! I could always use more wall space to display stuff!

  16. thank you for sharing this, it's an awesome project and I'm going to make one....THANKS Again!

  17. thanks for this tutorial. its super awesome!

  18. wow! this is such a fab tutorial! thanks for sharing.

  19. oh yum!!! i tried to do this with just using a chalkboard once but i must not have had a good chalkboard b/c nothing stuck to it! thanks so much!!!

  20. What a cool project, Davinie! You are so lucky to have such a handy man around. Thanks for posting all the directions.
    Love your floor, too!!

  21. WOW!!! Awesome!
    Steve is a very handy man.

  22. Jennifer.T6:18 PM

    Great tutorial Dav! I love the idea of using the Prima pebbles as magnets too.. I had no idea what I was going to use all of them for LOL

  23. I'm so jealous of your handy-man! You are soooo lucky or should I say he is sooo lucky :) Thanks for the tutorial...really looking forward to seeing your other two :)

  24. What a great idea. Your layouts are rockin'!

  25. Thank you thank you for taking the time to give us such detailed instructions for this project, Dav! I'm so excited to give it a try!

    Your finished canvas is STELLAR. Love it so much!


  26. What a great idea and it turned out so cute! I know my grandsons hang so many things on their walls, something like this would so work.

  27. What a cool project, Davinie! I've been working with canvases, lately, but hadn't thought to make them magnetic-- such a great idea!!

  28. wow - I LOVE the canvas idea - so cute - and what a great husband to let you take pictures of him making it! Can't wait to see the end result on the house - the mud room floor is fab!

  29. Love the magnetic canvases.... I have a couple also hanging throughout my house... Just love it when our hubby's talents fit our Sbing thoughts so well... hehe

    Hugs girl and keep the good stuff coming.

    Elisa K

  30. Anonymous9:06 AM

    awesome project dav! and it's always good to get the hubby's involved in a crafty project :)

  31. super awesome!! :)

  32. I jsut made one of these with my dad this weekend. Thanks for the idea.

    If you want to make more here is a little tip...pop the staples out of the one short end and slide the sheet metal in. We trimmed it about 3/4" shorter than the width and height and it fit perfectly with no snags. Then just fold the canvas and staple back into place with a staple gun.

    Again, thanks for the great idea.

  33. WHat a sensational Idea!!! I wish I had wall space in my scrap corner I would love to do one of these

  34. Hi,

    Today I saw an ad about something similar in a art magazine.
    Now I'm looking for more info.
    This article shows in a very simple and effective way how to do it.

    Best regards,


  35. Thanks it was a very good help, now to make a magnetic canvas (picture heavy) is definitely simple utilizing your information. Thank you