Updated November 1, 2019.
I’ve become a complete convert to magnetic needle minders, also called stitcher’s magnets. Although I have some I’ve bought, my favorites are ones I’ve made myself. Why spend up to $25 to buy a magnet when you can so easily make ones that are unique?
You can easily adapt tutorials for making refrigerator magnets to one for stitcher’s magnets by just doing or replacing a few steps.
Here’s what you always need to do:
- Use rare earth or ceramic magnets instead of the craft magnets you find in stores. Those magnets are not strong enough. I buy mine on eBay (search for ceramic magnets).
- Objects that are more flat make better holders for needles because they stay on better.
- Use super glue or ES-6000 glue and follow the directions. You need a stronger glue to keep the decorative top on when there are two magnets.
- For each magnet you make you’ll need a non-decorated back. I put pairs of magnets with the fronts to assemble then I put the backs aside until the fronts have dried and cured.
- Don’t use paper or cardboard for the fronts unless you cover it (with glass) or put it in or on something (a bottle cap). It isn’t sturdy enough by itself.
- Make sure you use flat or almost flat items fo the fronts. Needles tend to roll off rounded tops.
There are several posts on this blog about making magnets. These are:
- Old Map Magnets
- Mid-century Modern Magnets
- Make Your own Stitcher’s Magnets
- Magnet Minder
- Lapel Pins
- Toy Animals
- Wooden Bead Hashtags
- Two Needle Minders Ideas
- Dollhouse Books
More Ideas for Magnet Fronts
I keep finding new ideas for magnet fronts. Here’s an assortment of them:
- Scrabble Tiles – wooden or plastic letter tiles and vintage typewriter keys work well and reproductions are easy to find, even if vintage ones are rarer.
- Clock Faces – You’ll sometimes find metal or plastic clock faces in collage assortments. Smaller ones make great fronts. You can also take apart old watches from thrift stores to find these.
- Resin Cameo Fronts – You can make Kelmscott-style magnets in many sizes by using cameo fronts. These are plastic and come in a wide variety of styles.
- Cabochons – These shapes, often found in bead shops, have flat backs and no holes. They come in a huge range of color and materials including stone, glass, resin, plastic, and acrylic.
- Resin, polymer clay, or plastic flowers – If you like small magnets, look to these small 3-D flowers I have found made from many materials. Designed as beads or to be glued on craft items they make great fronts, although you need to be careful with needle placement.
- Charms – Charms with flat backs work well for magnets. However you may want to remove the ring. Cut it off with wire clippers and sand the edges with a high-speed drill.
- Vintage Earrings & Pins – I love using these, clip off the backs and sand down if you like before adding the magnets.
- Enamel Pins – With the popularity of enamel pins these days, you may find pins you like. These can be converted to magnets. If they are stick pins, remove the back and cut off the pin. If they have pin backs, cut off both ends without opening. Usually some of the pin is left on the back. Either sand it down or use a thicker magnet so the edges won’t catch on the canvas.
I think you can see why my magnet board is overflowing.
Here are other great tutorials I’ve found around the Web. Notes and modifications are after the link.
- Magnet Mania Tutorial – This post uses scrapbook paper and stamps to make a wonderful assortment of designs.
- Gemstone Magnets – Raid the craft store to make these.
- Foreign Coins – I’ve made earrings this way and charms, but isn’t this a cool idea?
- Pantone Chip Magnets – You could also use paint chips this way for color-coordinated magnets
- Tile Magnets – Use 1″ tiles instead of 2″ tiles and dress them up.
- Decorative Bottle Cap Magnets – Use the inside of caps to hold paper pictures or flattened flowers. Clear resin is suggested here, but you can also seal with glossy ModPodge
- Three Great Magnet Ideas – Lace-look, maps, and bottle cap images
If you have a great tutorial for making magnets or other stitcher’s tools, let me know in the comments. I’ve started a Pinterest board highlighting them.