Large Gem Magnets–My Pinterest Challenge

Who doesn’t like cute fridge magnets, right?  But not only do they need to be cute, they need to be functional.  I’d pinned some magnet-making ideas on Pinterest a few times (ideas from here and here) and after some advice from my friend Allyson, decided to put my own twist on them by making them larger.  I had plenty of scrapbook paper at the house so I just knew this had to work.  You might remember me trying this back in December.  Sadly, most of them failed.  The glue or magnet residue soaked through the paper and ruined the pretty designs you see through the glass gems.  I was bummed they didn’t work and since the school year was starting back up I didn’t really take them time to try them again…until now!

Thanks to the Pinterest Challenge, started by a couple of bloggers that I enjoy reading (Sherry and Katie), and having the summer off, I decided I’d give it another go!  Here is my second try at making my large gem magnets!


First of all, take a look at the messed up magnets with the yucky dark spots in their centers.  So sad.  Such pretty paper, wasted.


Okay, moving on.  The hardest part about putting my own twist on this project was finding the size gems I wanted.  I wanted the larger stones so that I could use larger prints, or so that you could see more of the print you wanted.  And so that the magnet could be bigger and stronger, therefore holding up more on the fridge.  After lots of price searching, I finally found, where I was able to order both the magnets and the glass gems.  The paper punch and glue were both bought at Michael’s, which is also where I usually find most of my scrapbook paper.

For those interested, here are the details on the supplies:

-Ceramic magnets: 28mm

-Large molded glass gems: Clear (Non-Iridized, 40mm)

-1.5 in hole punch by Martha Stewart

-E-6000 Industrial Strength Adhesive Graft Glue

-Mod Podge

-MINWAX Fast-Drying Polyurethane in Clear Satin

-Application sponges for Mod Podge and Polyurethane


Now let me catch you up on how these work.  It is super simple, I promise.  First, you pick some paper patterns that you like, find the area you want punched out, and punch it!


Once you have the paper punched, you adhere it to the flat side of the magnet (pretty pattern to flat side) using a craft adhesive.  When I first made the magnets using smaller gems and magnets, I glued everything together with Mod Podge; however, when one of the smaller ones fell off the fridge (because it wasn’t really strong enough to hold much weight) the magnet came apart from the gem.  Because of this, I figured I needed something stronger, hence the E-6000 craft clue.  After the adhesive dries (I’d give it a couples hours to be safe), you can attach the magnet.  And this is where I ran into problems…


So since my last try at these magnets didn’t work, I had to come up with a way to prevent whatever leaked through (either the glue or residue from the magnets) from doing it again.  Greg’s first thought was to try coating the back of the gems with Polyurethane, so he bought me a small can and a little application sponge.  I already had some gems with paper attached (without magnets so they were spared destruction in the first go-round) so I decided to try it on those.  The problem with Polyurethane is that it stinks and takes a long time to dry.  So I applied my first coat and sat back, read a book, and waited…


Then after a couple of hours I decided that I better be on the safe side and apply a second coat.  So then of course, more waiting.  Look how shiny!


By that night, the magnets were dry so I felt it safe enough to attach a magnet.  The glue takes a little while to set so I like to leave them over night.  You can’t walk away right away though, because sometimes the little magnets like to slide around on the backs of the gems, especially if they are too close to another magnet.  This is where the E-6000 glue comes into play again.  Hopefully this time it won’t cause icky dark spots on the front side.


And the next morning?  Voilà!  No dark spots!!  Yay!!  (Don’t worry, that’s just a shadow in the gem on the right –no dark spots!)


However, I wasn’t completely satisfied.  Take a close look.  You see all of the air bubbles?  That happened when attaching the paper to the glass gem with the E-6000 glue.  The glue is thick and it runs out in a continuous stream from the tube.  Once you attach the paper it seems hard to even out underneath the paper, so I end up with lots of air bubbles, or glossy spots where glue either is or isn’t.  It isn’t super noticeable in all the magnets, but it is in some.

078-with arrows086-air bubbles

Also, I don’t like how the paper doesn’t sit flush with the glass on the back. Makes me worry that it would catch on things and tear, especially in the hands of children.084-arrow

So, now what?  I decided that maybe I’d try Mod Podge again, in place of Polyurethane, but still use the E-6000 to glue the magnet on.  Mod Podge also works as a sealer and takes a lot less time to dry.  And since I decided to use it on the back, I decided I’d go ahead and use it to stick the paper to the glass as well, because it should spread better than the E-6000.  So far, so good!


Then I still needed to test it and make sure the dark spots wouldn’t appear when I attach the magnet, which I’m still using the E-6000 for because I don’t trust the strength of Mod Podge for that task.


Looks like I’ve got a winner!!  I’m still not quite sure why I didn’t try Mod Podge before the Polyurethane…isn’t that the go-to for all crafters?  Oh well.  The last thing I tried on my magnets was adding a layer of Polyurethane over the magnet after it has been attached to the gem and dried.  Why you ask?  Because these ceramic magnets are still leaving residue on my hands and even on my fridge, and who wants that?  I’m hoping that applying 1 layer will take care of the residue issue without depleting the strength of the magnetism.  It also makes the magnets look nice and shiny, and apparently, shiny appeals to me.

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Turns out, it works!  No marks and the magnets are still strong.  Now I just want to make lots of these magnets!  My fridge is going to be full.  And so will my filing cabinets in my classroom.  And my teammates’ filing cabinets.  Here are the ones I have finished so far.  Sorry for the weird light reflections in the glass, couldn’t get a good angle, but you can see all of the patterns at least.

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Anyone want some large gem magnets for your fridge?  There’s got to be a demand for magnets out there, right?  Haha, maybe I can use this to help supplement my teacher salary.  I’ve got so much scrapbook paper to choose from!  I’m also pinning more ideas for button magnets and bottle cap magnets (the bottle cap ones are mainly for a friend that wants them), so my magnet making capabilities might eventually expand.  Winking smile

Why don’t you also head on over and check out the cool projects made by the lovely ladies who sponsored this Pinterest Challenge; Sherry, Katie, Kate, and Michelle!  At the bottom of their blogs you should also be able to see plenty of other bloggers who have also submitted their work in this challenge.  This is my first year participating, but I’ve enjoyed looking through all of the people who have in the past.  You might even get some inspiration to try some yourself!

9 thoughts on “Large Gem Magnets–My Pinterest Challenge

  1. Thanks for sharing the trial and errors. I tried to make some a couple years ago and didn’t like how they turned out. I’m inspired to give it another try.

    • You should definitely try it! I liked them too much, and had already ordered too many gems/magnets, not to try again, haha. Hopefully they turn out better next time!

  2. I love the paper you used!! I did the thumb tack version on the Pinterest Challenge. I used Martha Stewart’s Craft Glue to glue the paper on and then I used E–6000 to glue the tacks on. They’re holding up so far but I didn’t have a punch so I cut it all(unevenly) by hand.

    • Thanks for stopping by! The first time I made them I didn’t have a punch either; cutting them by hand is no fun! I’d love to see what yours looked like too!

    • I like yours too! The problem with my punch is that I can’t see through it so I have to feel the hole to make sure it is lined up where I want it. The knife you used is a good idea because it lets you cut exactly where you want! Nice job!

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