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  • Writer's pictureBecky

How to Make a Magnetic Board by Recycling

A magnetic board is a fun tool to have at home or at school. In this post, I’ll share how to make a magnetic board by recycling.

Since I wanted to make a magnetic board for my classroom, and the cookie sheets were recently replaced, I decided it was time to repurpose them!

You Will Need

* An old cookie sheet or cake pan that is made of material that magnets will be attracted to

Tip: If you don’t happen to have steel pans that need to be retired from the kitchen, a trip to a resale shop will work. You might want to take a magnet with you and see which pans will work.

* Paint

Tip: I used spray paint for a consistent finish, but acrylic should work as well. Check the labels to make sure that the contents are safe for people to be touching. J The cookie sheet and cake pan will not be used for cooking after you paint them!

* A drop cloth

Tip: My drop cloth is a repurposed drape. Old newspapers or table cloths work as well.

How to Make a Magnetic Board

1. Find a pan that is made of steel. Check to make sure by trying to attach a magnet to it.

2. Wash the pan.

3. Find an open space to paint so that paint fumes do not get to anyone (outside is a great space).

4. Cover the surface you will paint on top of. Though I was outside, I put down a drop cloth because I didn’t want the grass to be painted. This may seem like an unnecessary step to mention, but it’s better safe than sorry.

5. Paint one coat on a side of the pan.

Tip: When using spray paint be sure to follow the directions on the can. Determine the best distance to be from the object based on the directions, it is often 10 to 12 inches away. Use consistent strokes beginning before and continuing after the end of the pan.

6. Wait for that layer to dry.

7. Repeat step 5 and 6 until you have applied at least two coats to each side of the pan.

Idea: Paint each side of the pan a different color!

8. (Optional) Decorate the edge of the board. In my example I’ve used a boarder that could be used for a bulletin board, but you could use acrylic paint, washi tape, or many other items to decorate.

Uses for a Magnetic Board

Using a free printable from Tot Schooling, I repurposed some magnets to create the planet magnets in my example. Here are some other ideas for how to use your magnetic board to make fun, inexpensive tools for your family’s magnetic board. Magnetic tape and cardstock (or printer paper and laminate it) will let you have endless possibilities for creating your own magnets.

* Practice language skills

- “writing” words (children can copy words that are in a favorite book, or on their spelling/vocabulary list)

- ordering letters in the alphabet

* Practice math skills

- ordering numbers

- make patterns (try repeating and growing patterns)

- creating tessellations

* Review Science

- order planets (cute planet printable that will help children remember the order)

- label parts of a plant

* Other activities

- make characters and a setting to play

- trace a paperclip through a maze

Fun Information about Magnets

What metals will magnets stick to?

Cobalt, iron (steel which is mostly iron), and nickel

Earth has a polarization like a magnet does.

Looking for Articles about Magnets and Magnetism?

Here’s a great one for kids from Britannica. It explains how the earth functions like a giant magnet, which is why a compass points north no matter where we are on the planet:

This site offers information about magnets and links to great resources (which includes books about magnets):



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