Sunday, December 18, 2011

Losing my marbles

This year, I'm making marble magnets for my coworkers. I got the idea here. It seemed like the perfect idea - inexpensive, yet something I could customize for each person.

I started by picking up the basic supplies - marbles (small and large), magnets, and glue. I got two sizes of marbles simply because I wasn't sure how well the small marbles would work. I needn't have worried - there were plenty of pictures that worked at that size.

Most of my generic pictures (such as the stripes you see in the above picture) came from flyers and magazines around the house. Since I wanted to customize the magnets, I also printed out clip art from the internet - wine glasses, tents, running shoes, stacks of books, etc. to match my coworkers' interests.

As you can see by the above picture, I'm not great at cutting circles. That didn't really cause me any problems - unless the picture was really off, adding the magnet to the back covered any flaws. Since the marbles (purchased at the dollar store) are not uniform, I cut the picture to match the specific marble it was going to end up on.

Once the picture was cut, I brushed on some silicon glue, put the marble on top, then pressed the center of the marble down to work out any bubbles. (A few especially flimsy pictures got glued to some thicker paper, but most of the time I didn't bother.)

As a note, I tried the Mod Podge but found it left the picture too shiny, so silicon glue it was.

The next step was the hardest - waiting until the glue dried. Once it did, I used a glue gun to glue the magnet to the back, then used nail polish remover to clean any misplaced glue off the marble.

I tried two different kinds of magnets - from Michael's and from the dollar store. Interestingly, the dollar store magnets were cheaper and stronger. However, they were a smaller diameter than the marbles, and they're a little rougher. (I can hear scratching when I move the magnet on the fridge.) I definitely recommend the more expensive magnets.

In the end, I only made one of the bigger marbles, but if I were making these with children, I'd definitely use the bigger size.

I packaged the magnets (in groups of six) into baby snack containers and tied a ribbon around them, ready to take into work on Tuesday.

There were a few that didn't turn out - not centered properly, too many flaws in the marble, etc. When that happened, I simply removed the picture from the marble using the nail polish remover.


  1. Fascinating, I have never heard of this before. They look lovely and will make such a charming gift!

  2. I'd never heard of making them before either, but they were easy to do and turned out really well.