Stuck on Refrigerator Magnets

Decorate your refrigerator with personalized magnets the kids make – and "star in" -- themselves.

By Barbara Albright

 In most houses with growing families, the refrigerator is a blank canvas for photos, art work, and reminders of upcoming events. With all this activity on a single surface, you can't have too many magnets!

When the kids make the magnets themselves, the handy tools double as original art. Plus, they are fun to design.

Magnet Supplies
Inexpensive magnets are available at office supply stores. Business-card-sized magnets are the perfect shape for showcasing a child's school portrait. Other sizes, also sold at these outlets, are great for mounting kid art and cut-outs from magazines.

The thin, flat magnets have a peel-off side, under which is adhesive for easy mounting. Magnetic strips with adhesive sides are also available - handy because you can cut them to the size you want.

Other than the magnets, you'll need stickers, construction paper, cardstock, or craft foam, glue, and any small decorations that catch your fancy.

Make the Magnet
First, peel off the backing to reveal the sticky surface. Press it onto a piece of paper, cardstock, or craft foam and then trim around the magnet. Position a photograph on top of the paper and glue it on so that there is a colorful border around the picture.

Alternatively, stick the photo directly on the sticky surface and sprinkle glitter on the surrounding surface.

Glue decorative items on top of the glittery or colorful border. Try stickers, beads, tiny foam or wood shapes, buttons, or small pom poms.

Let the child chose decorations that reflect his or her interests - such as sports, ballet dancing, puppies and kittens, or tropical fish.

Holiday and Gift Magnets
Think of making magnets for Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, and Father's Day. Make them for birthday party favors or small gifts for neighbors or teachers.

Select appropriate decorations and colors for the occasion. For Valentine's Day, choose pink paper and tiny heart stickers; for St. Patrick's Day, choose shamrocks; for Mother's Day, pastel flower stickers. For a birthday party, decorate the magnet with thematic stickers - balloons or clowns, for instance.

Other Ideas for Magnets
With the adhesive surface, you can make all sorts of magnets. For starters, try:

  • A painted clothespin attached to a magnetic strip.
  • A pom pom flower garden.
  • A mosaic made from craft foam, construction paper, old photos, or magazine cut-outs.
  • Origami shapes.
  • Beaded, sequined or jeweled designs.
  • Creatures made with wiggly eyes and pom poms.
  • Pipe cleaner designs.
  • Patterns made with stray and unmatched buttons.