Display Children’s Art: Make Your Own Magnetic Wall

Last Wednesday when I posted about our chalkboard wall, I left you with a tease that I was going to post about my wonderful idea for displaying children’s artwork.  (No, it’s not hang the pictures on the fridge 🙂 )

I was inspired with the idea a few years ago while skimming a decorating magazine. There was a picture of an elegantly painted chocolate brown, accent wall with an antique oil painting and amazing frame hung in contrast to the darkness of the wall.  It was lovely and simple and quite fitting for a home fashion magazine.  It’s not that I wouldn’t love to have such a classy looking area in our home, but the reality is that with homeschooling 9 children my goal is kid friendly, beauty and educational practicality.  Nonetheless it was the beginning of my idea for an accent wall to display the children’s art.

So how did I make it happen?  I painted an accent wall with magnetic paint.magnetic wall with living roomMaking your own magnetic wall is embarrassingly simple, but I did learn a few things in the process and am more than happy to share.

To make your own magnetic wall you will need:

  • magnetic paint – we got ours from Lowe’s (Pay attention to the recommended coverages.  The thicker the paint is applied the stronger the magnetism, you will not want to use less than recommended.)
  • wall paint in your color choice.
  • magnets (I purchase the plain, round magnets at Wal-Mart)
  • (optional) decorations to glue onto the tops of the magnets.  I used round gemstones and interesting buttons.Magnets

A couple of notes:

  • The magnetic paint is black, so if you choose a lighter color for your finished wall be prepared for several coats.
  • Read the instructions on the magnetic paint as to how many topcoats it will handle and still be sufficiently magnetic.
  • The magnetic paint is thick and a little tricky to work with. It took me six coats to get all of the paint recommended for our space onto the wall. Just keep going, it turned out fine.
  • The magnetic paint has a slight texture.  Most people never notice, but if you look at our wall in the right light, you can see where the magnetic part stops.  If I were doing it over, I would have painted ceiling to floor and then no one would ever notice.
  • We used satin paint for wash-ability.  However, because of the texture of the magnetic paint and the high traffic that our wall gets, I would suggest considering matte paint for ease of touch ups.

How to:

  • Apply the magnetic paint according to the directions.
  • Paint the whole wall including your new magnetic area with regular latex paint.
  • Hot glue your decorations to the magnets if you want.
  • Wait a long time for the paint to dry, longer than recommended.   We waited a few days before we left things hung on the wall.  Otherwise some of the paint will stick to the magnets or the paper.
  • Hang your children’s art on your wall.
  • Be prepared to explain to every guest that visits your home how you are able to hang pictures on your wall. magnetic wall

Here are some ways that we have utilized our magnetic wall:

  • displaying art (obviously)
  • hanging maps
  • displaying missionary prayer cards/updates
  • hanging our art appreciation cards
  • decorating for special occasions (birthday, father’s day banners, Christmas cards, balloons, etc.)
  • displaying any school visuals, graphs, charts, etc.

A magnetic wall to display children’s art works for me!  You can read moreRaising Olives Works for Me Wednesday or head over to We Are THAT Family for more.

Check out some of my other Do-It-Yourself posts or you may be interested in reading my series of posts on Why We Homeschool or stick around to read about HOW we homeschool nine children and love it.

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75 Responses to Display Children’s Art: Make Your Own Magnetic Wall
  1. Amanda
    June 23, 2009 | 11:34 pm

    I love this idea. My husband has told me about both paints, because he works at Home Depot and always has great ideas of things to do and this is one of them…. maybe a fun summer project 🙂

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  2. Smockity Frocks
    June 23, 2009 | 11:36 pm

    That is officially the coolest thing I have ever seen! You are so smart!

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  3. Jenny
    June 24, 2009 | 12:06 am

    oh wow. I gotta try that at my house. I know our doorways are magnetic, but a whole wall…that would be awesome!

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  4. Suz
    June 24, 2009 | 12:24 am

    Cute idea! I’ve often thought of chalk paint on the wall so my 4 yr old could have fun with it, but wasn’t sure I wanted to deal with the mess. This is a great idea… thanks for the tip too about painting the whole wall. I would be the one to have to go paint everything again to make it uniform.. 🙂

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  5. Home School Dad
    June 24, 2009 | 12:55 am

    This was an awesome idea. The more we thought about the chalk board wall, the less it appealed to us practically. However, the magnetic wall really makes sense to where we are at as a family. Thanks for sharing it.

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  6. Angie
    June 24, 2009 | 6:05 am

    I really like this idea. Thanks for sharing.

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  7. vickihaley
    June 24, 2009 | 6:17 am

    Thank you for sharing this idea! A friend of mine and I were just talking about trying to purchase a school size bulletin board for hanging up artwork and other family info. but the magnetic paint will be so much easier and less expensive. I can’t wait to try it!

    [Reply]

  8. Dawn
    June 24, 2009 | 6:30 am

    This is a great idea. Thank you for sharing it. I don’t think there’s a better way to decorate your home than with your kids’ art.

    [Reply]

  9. Monica @ DailyDwelling
    June 24, 2009 | 7:53 am

    What a great idea!! I love seeing different ideas for displaying art work.

    [Reply]

  10. Carol
    June 24, 2009 | 8:12 am

    What a terrific idea! I’d like to do that. Thanks for all the hints!

    [Reply]

  11. Angelia
    June 24, 2009 | 10:14 am

    what a neat idea!! we’re planning on buying so i will definately keep this in mind. does home depot tint this like they do the other paints?

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  12. Jerri
    June 24, 2009 | 10:22 am

    Just yesterday, my daughter, who is a teacher, was talking about painting a magnetic wall in her class room. I’ll have to send her this link!

    [Reply]

  13. Nicki
    June 24, 2009 | 10:40 am

    That’s perfect! I think it would be great on doors, too, to hang notes or pictures. I like to put a scripture on each bedroom door, and my kids love their magnetic memo boards. Imagine a whole wall!

    [Reply]

  14. Lisa
    June 24, 2009 | 11:05 am

    WOW! This is amazing! It looks beautiful too. This is a genius idea, thank you for sharing.

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  15. Jen
    June 24, 2009 | 11:07 am

    Clever idea– cute! =)

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  16. Amy
    June 24, 2009 | 12:14 pm

    No way! That is soooo great! Nice Job. Gonna have to go pick up a can for my kid’s room doors. You’re the best!

    [Reply]

  17. Donna
    June 24, 2009 | 1:39 pm

    I want to try this but the wall I would use is white. Do you think you could go back and paint over it white? Thanks:O)

    [Reply]

    Raising Olives Reply:

    Angelia,
    The magnetic paint is black and can not be tinted. You must paint over it with regular paint to get the color that you wish.

    Donna,
    I wish that I could answer your question, but since we wanted a dark brown wall anyway we didn’t pay much attention to painting over with a lighter color. I would say that you would need a few coats. My best suggestion is to find a can of the magnetic paint and read the directions. Check out this link they say paint over with ANY color.

    One more thought on a magnetic wall with white paint. How will the white hold up to kid hands and magnets? Just something to think about.

    Blessings,
    Kimberly

    [Reply]

  18. hi-d
    June 24, 2009 | 3:47 pm

    That is SO cool! Thanks for sharing all your tips with us!

    [Reply]

  19. Nikki
    June 24, 2009 | 4:26 pm

    I have NEVER heard of magnetic paint!!!!

    [Reply]

  20. Heather
    June 24, 2009 | 4:44 pm

    I LOVE this!! I want to do it so badly–we are renting right now, so I am trying to figure out if I can do it. What a great idea.

    [Reply]

  21. Sherry
    June 24, 2009 | 5:03 pm

    What a neat idea! I didn’t even know there was a thing like magnetic paint. 😀

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  22. niki
    June 24, 2009 | 9:28 pm

    Very very cool! Never even knew they made anything like that!!!!

    🙂

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  23. Eos Mom
    June 24, 2009 | 9:58 pm

    I really want to do this to one wall in our kitchen and post all sorts of reminders and lists and important papers where I can see them (along with kids’ art and decor as well). Great job!

    [Reply]

  24. Nikki
    June 24, 2009 | 10:14 pm

    Ooh!!!!! I LOVE IT! Thanks for the tutorial. I will definitely check back to this post when I paint one.

    [Reply]

  25. Twisted Cinderella
    June 25, 2009 | 9:47 am

    That is such a fabulous idea! I LOVE it!

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  26. Roan
    June 25, 2009 | 11:49 am

    This is the neatest idea! I love it! I am pondering which wall could I paint with this magnetic paint! I wish I had know about this when we were building our house.
    Your brown wall looks so pretty. I’ll let you know if I tackle this (or in reality, if I ask my painter to tackle this!)
    Joyfully,
    Roan

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  27. Joy
    June 26, 2009 | 12:10 am

    That’s so cool!!!

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  28. Katie
    June 29, 2009 | 10:20 pm

    Wow!! I love this idea! I’ll have to file it away for someday when I have kids whose artwork needs to be displayed!

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  29. Laurel
    July 2, 2009 | 3:36 am

    We’ve been in crisis mode at our house, so I haven’t had much time for blog reading. I LOVE this idea. So cool!!!

    mama of 13

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  30. Dalas
    July 13, 2009 | 10:55 pm

    I don’t even know if I should admit this or not… but I actually got giddy reading this post 😀

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  31. Sandy
    July 28, 2009 | 10:40 pm

    Love it! I just bought some magnetic paint to use in my son’s room. I am thrilled to know that it really works. I have seen it advertised and in many organizational sites, but hadn’t talked to someone who actually used it.
    Thanks so much.

    [Reply]

  32. lisa
    August 31, 2009 | 11:12 am

    ok I haven’t done the chalkboard walls for the dust issues but have NEVER heard of this. I LOVE this idea!

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  33. Robin @ Heart of Wisdom
    October 19, 2009 | 11:04 am

    I use one wall for Bible timeline and book of the Bible charts- This would be great on a magnetic board.

    The Bible timeline teaches when story happened. We run string from book of the Bible to Bible story on the timeline to teach children where to find the story in the Bible.

    [Reply]

    Raising Olives Reply:

    I love the idea of the string from the book of the Bible to the Bible story. Thanks.

    [Reply]

  34. Kelly
    October 31, 2009 | 6:53 pm

    I plan to do this on my home office wall… : )

    [Reply]

  35. Jimmie
    November 10, 2009 | 3:54 am

    Cool, cool, so cool. Want that! Can I magnetize my entire house? 🙂

    [Reply]

    Raising Olives Reply:

    Hmmm, if you did that I wonder if it you would be immune to all disease and illness? Remember the whole magnetized mattress pads? 🙂

    [Reply]

  36. Jill
    November 21, 2009 | 12:15 am

    I used magnetic paint in our school area, putting on more than the recommended amount, and it still isn’t strong enough to hold even single sheets of paper! Not sure what my husband and I did wrong! 🙁 But yours looks great!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Have you seen these super magnets made specifically for magnetic paint? They’ll send you one for free and they may fix your problem.

    [Reply]

  37. Jennifer
    November 29, 2009 | 9:08 pm

    I tried this at the beginning of the school year in our school room. I was very disappointed with the results! I got my paint at Michael’s craft store and it was chunky and very hard to spread. I took the first can back and tried it with another having similar results. The small section that I did doesn’t hold well either. Only a few select magnets will even stay on, let alone hold anything up. My paint was gray, I would advise anyone attempting to do this, to use the black paint featured here. It looks like it works a lot better!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Have you seen these super magnets made specifically for magnetic paint? They’ll send you one for free and they may salvage your effort.

    I really hope that this will end up working for you, it’s such a fun thing to have.

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  38. Sherri
    January 7, 2010 | 3:49 pm

    Kimberly… Do you think it would be possible to use BOTH the magnetic AND the chalkboard paint???

    I have a door in our kitchen that leads to the basement that would be AWESOME as a magnetic-chalkboard door! LOL

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Make sure you look at Sheri’s comment (just below yours on this post).

    I think it’s possible, but you’d have to be careful to put LOTS of magnetic paint on.

    [Reply]

  39. Cathy aka The Attached Mama
    January 7, 2010 | 7:54 pm

    We have a magnetic wall and chalkboard wall in our children’s playroom.

    We used the black magnetic paint as a primer. (We put on 8 coats!!!!) And then we put the black chalkboard paint over it.

    But still, we have trouble getting regular magnets to stick to it. The only magnets that work really are the SUPER, high power ones that you can buy at craft stores. (We purchased ours at JoAnns.) DISCLAIMER: If you choose to buy the high power ones, you must be very careful that your little ones don’t get their hands on them. They are strong enough that if they swallow them, it could be very dangerous. (Not just a chocking hazard. I am talking about the magnet could cause internal damage.)

    So, what we did was super glue the high power magnets onto painted wooden letters. And that makes them large enough that I don’t have to worry about the kids eating them or something. But I still keep them high enough that they can’t reach them. We just use them for display.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Thanks for taking the time to share your experience.

    Also for the info about the magnets. I was considering purchasing some, but with how our kids are always adding and removing pictures, I think it’s better to not have the high powered ones. I’ll have to think about the super glue.

    [Reply]

  40. Lisa B @ simply His
    January 25, 2010 | 3:23 pm

    I did the same thing as Cathy — except mine was the gray magnetic paint. You have to keep it stirred really well and paint it many coats. Then I put green chalkboard paint over it. I did it on one wall below the chair rail in the kitchen several years ago. I figured if I was doing any cooking (haha, big joke if you know me — I don’t cook a lot!) that my daughter could sit and draw or play with her letter magnets.

    I’ve since been craving to redo my kitchen (very tired of the yellow-flowery wall paper that’s been here the 13 years we’ve lived here). I’m probably going to cover up the chalkboard/magnetic board, but have thought about taking a piece of wood and making my own board to hang. The motivation eludes me right now but maybe since I sold you my Blissdom ticket, I can do something around here 😀

    [Reply]

  41. Debby
    February 2, 2010 | 5:44 pm

    I was searching for ways to display my son’s artwork and your blog site came up! I am soooo glad it did! This is awesome and I can’t wait to try it. How much paint did it take to do your wall?

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I wish that I had a better answer for you, but I don’t remember exactly. What I do remember is that I used all of the recommended paint for my wall space, per the instructions on the can.

    Let me know how yours turns out.

    [Reply]

  42. MotherOfBlessings
    February 18, 2010 | 1:26 pm

    I have plans to do a wall in our school room. My plan is priming with the magnetic paint and topping with whiteboard paint. Anyone try this?

    [Reply]

  43. Gayle
    February 25, 2010 | 2:07 pm

    What a cool idea! If you couldn’t (or didn’t want to) paint a whole wall, you might paint strips of wood (lathing strips or even bigger ones), then attach them to the wall with nails and stick the magnets along it. Or, you could do a cabinet door (inside or out), a room door, the side of a desk, bookshelf, dresser, etc.

    [Reply]

  44. Karen Doornbos
    July 15, 2010 | 6:50 am

    Last year, we finished our garage with drywall. We have 6 grandkids and they are always putting art on my fridge; it was always covered! I decided to paint a half wall by the entry with the magnetic paint and make it the grandkids artwall! I’ve had a couple of garage sales since and have had countless comments on the wall! I now know my fridge is off white metal and not multi colored paper!

    [Reply]

  45. Jenny
    July 30, 2010 | 9:19 am

    I’ve been looking for ideas on this subject! This is a wonderful blog. Great Job… and thanks for sharing!

    With Great Appreciation,
    Jenny

    [Reply]

  46. Jenny
    July 30, 2010 | 9:20 am

    My website was spelled incorectly! Sorry 🙂

    [Reply]

  47. Heidi
    August 9, 2010 | 2:10 am

    This may be the coolest thing I have seen. Ever. Thanks so much for sharing. I’m not a large family mom, or even a home schooling mom (yet), but I am really enjoying going through your site. Lots of great information, and you are such an inspiration to me.

    [Reply]

  48. […] the other side of our kitchen is our dining room with the chalkboard wall and magnetic wall.  We do a few subjects that make use of that chalkboard in the dining room, but the vast majority […]

  49. […] chalkboard wall.  We display time lines, maps and the children’s most current art work on the magnetic wall. Chalkboard wall and magnetic wall in dining […]

  50. Crystal & Co
    August 15, 2010 | 1:49 pm

    How did I not know that magnetic paint existed? I LOVE THIS!!!

    Dear Husband,
    I have a really simple project for us!
    Your Forever Loving Wife

    [Reply]

  51. […] 4.  A whole magnetic wall from Raising Olives. […]

  52. […] Happy Housewife picks up inexpensive frames at IKEA. Kimberly made one whole wall magnetic. Pam stapled artwork to the garage wall. Kristen created her kids’ art gallery in an alcove by […]

  53. Rasa
    January 26, 2011 | 11:01 am

    I love the idea! I would like to try it, but my concern is that I will have to re-locate the kids out of their room until the paint dries … How long does the whole project take? You mention six coats of magnetic paint. How much time do you have to wait between coats? How much time do you have to wait after the last magnetic coat before you can paint the final color? How many coats of final color are neededed? Thank you so much in advance!

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    It’s been a while since we did this project and I don’t remember the specifics of how long it took the paint to dry. You’ll have to refer to the can of paint that you purchase.

    It only took one coat of the final color to cover the magnetic paint, but our final color was dark as was the magnetic paint.

    [Reply]

  54. Celee
    February 5, 2011 | 5:56 pm

    My fridge is getting a bit um crowded. Great idea!

    Celee

    [Reply]

  55. cindy
    March 20, 2011 | 10:32 am

    so do you think i could combine the magnetic and chalkboard walls by using the chalkboard paint as the topcoat on the magnetic? my son would love both, and if i combined them, he could draw around magnetic letters and other items that way.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    I think that may work and it would be super fun for him.

    [Reply]

    Sarah B Reply:

    Oh!! If you do this I have to know how it works! As soon as I saw this I knew exactly what wall I would want to do this too and was trying how to split the wall have chalkboard half magnetic, if you can put the chalkboard on top that would be great!!

    [Reply]

  56. Lynette
    March 26, 2011 | 12:39 am

    This is FABULOUS! Brilliant! I LOVE IT! We are planning on building our own house here in the future – and I’m builing in a giant sized – wait for it – homeschooling room! In stead of a traditional family room, it’s going to be the homeschooling/play room! So excited about that and now excited about decorating one area of the walls this way! Thanks for the super cool idea!

    [Reply]

  57. Amanda
    May 1, 2011 | 1:48 pm

    You could always get some molding to frame the magnetic paint so you won’t be able to see the difference in wall texture. Plus it’ll give it a little extra touch.

    [Reply]

  58. Brandy
    August 28, 2011 | 10:44 am

    I LOVE this idea!!!!

    [Reply]

  59. betsy
    December 4, 2011 | 9:52 pm

    this is my first time posting in a blog… we are looking for ideas of a playroom we have in our new house for our two daughters. my husband and i are sooooo excited!!!! this is a wonderful idea!!!!! thanks for sharing!!!!

    [Reply]

  60. Natasha
    January 3, 2012 | 4:47 pm

    I just wanted to make sureI am reading this correctly. Once I paint the magnetic wall, I will need to paint over it with my color of choice? So, paint the wall, wait to dry and then paint my color? Just double checking. Fabulous idea, thank you.

    [Reply]

    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    You’ve got that right. I just followed the directions on the can of magnetic paint, so I’d double check with the type of paint you get, but it’s so super easy and gives such nice results.

    [Reply]

  61. Tara
    June 27, 2012 | 11:38 pm

    Love your blog! Really need to go to bed but can’t seem to stop reading it and it all started with a google foe workboxes. Anyway, my question is: our walls are textured. Will this still work? Thanks!

    [Reply]

  62. alexis
    March 7, 2013 | 9:57 am

    hello, okay this might be a bit of a hard question but I NEED HELP alright my mom is letting me paint my room and i am doing all the walls but one the same color, my idea was paint one wall with chalkbored AND magnetic paint that way i cant draw on my wall have little insperational notes things like that but all so be able to magneticly stick things to the wall with out having to poke holes in the wall. now my mom doesnt want me to have a black wall (she things its to gothic) so i ready that i could use grout and paint and that could be used as a chalkbored paint but i want to do the WHOLE wall not just one small section but that whole side of the wall. i noticed that you had done the whole wall as well and i was wondering if i have to keep mixing over and over in one paint pan? or can i mix it to where i dont have to get re mixing?
    also i want to try and convince my mom to at least get the magnetic paint and i can paint over it with the custom chalkbored paint(white)

    [Reply]

  63. April
    January 18, 2014 | 10:33 am

    We’re in the process of finishing our basement which will have a family/play room and I plan on doing this on one of the walls. I’ve come across more than one brand of magnetic paint and there seems to be a wide range of reviews so I was wondering what magnetic paint you used?

    [Reply]

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