My Total Office Makeover: How to Make a Woodgrain Magnetic Memo Board

By: Chrisjob Jan 13, 2011

Welcome to our newest blog series, My Total Office Makeover, in which Curbly's editor-in-chief, Chris Gardner, realizes that as a full-time design and craft blogger working from home, he'd better transform his second bedroom into an inspiring space where work can actually get done.

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created at: 01/13/2011

Part IV: Getting Organized

I need a clean desktop to stay focused, so I knew I would need a memo board to keep current projects, notes, ideas, and "don't lose me" documents. I seriously dislike the look of white dry-erase boards, and needed something that didn't require pins or thumbtacks to attach documents. I've used magnetic paint before, but found it takes several coats and very strong magnets to make anything work.So, when I found this basic SPONTAN magnetic board at IKEA, I knew it'd work...now, I just needed to make it a little warmer and easier on the eyes. 

Here's how:

Materials and Tools

  • Basic magnetic memo board
  • wood grain contact paper (I could only find marble-y stuff at the hardware store, so I ordered mine from Amazon)
  • Scissors and craft knife
  • Bone folder or large metal spoon
  • Measuring tape

1. Measure the height, width, and thickness of your magnetic board. At the thickness + 1/2" to the height and width, and cut your contact paper to that dimension.

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2. Peel off about 3" of the backing paper, and adhere it to board at one side, leaving the 1/2" hanging over the edge. Work very slowly and use the bone folder to  smooth out any air bubbles. Thankfully, the wood grain contact paper has only a medium-level tackiness, so it's easy to reposition.

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3. Continue peeling away the backing and applying the contact paper until you have a smooth finish on top.

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4. You should have a bit of extra space on all the sides. To get square corners, wrap the contact paper like you'd do on a Christmas present. Then, use the utility knife to remove any excess.

See how easy that was?!

I also applied a similar technique to a magnetic pencil cup (in a darker walnut finish), and to magnetic knife block to create a safe and attractive way to store my scissors and other cutting tools:

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Comments

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Real wood veneer is available from scrapbooking stores and is fairly inexpensive. I found a site that has 26 x 40 sheets available; the price isn't listed but 12 x 13 sheets are around $3.00. This is available with different thicknesses of backing paper and the site also has instructions for use. I think they would look amazing on a magnet board. Also I remember seeing somewhere a blog post about using oil drip pans for magnet boards.

Josh - try the IKEA Spontan, but don't be afraid of frames. They can most always be removed, or busted off!

I'm having trouble finding unframed magnet boards. Most have that 1/2" or so plastic, rounded frame. Any suggestions Chris?

I think I'd over lap the contact paper keeping it as straight as I could. Then use a straight edge with an exacto knife to cut through the two layers. Once that's finished carefullly remove the extra sections of both upper and lower layers, replacing each large piece back down on the metal. Real wood pieces are seamed so I see no reason to wory about this being pieced.

Josh - mine is 17 x 26 1/2". The contact paper is only 18" wide, so it barely covers the edges. Shame about your size. Perhaps you could cut it?

What size was your magnet board? I want to get the big 18" x 12" one from AC Moore but the contact paper from Amazon is only 18" long so I assume it will leave some exposed surfaces.

Very cool. I love a lot of your stuff, and I'm also redecorating my office so I'm keeping a close eye out!

Check dollar stores - that's where I found mine. They had the color above and a lighter one...for, you guessed it, a dollar!

LOVE this! In fact I bought some of those magnetic strips from IKEA meant to hold knives and am going to attach it to my peg board. It is great for all my metal files, in addition I bought some 'spice' containers with magnets on the back to hold various supplies.

LOVE this! In fact I bought some of those magnetic strips from IKEA meant to hold knives and am going to attach it to my peg board. It is great for all my metal files, in addition I bought some 'spice' containers with magnets on the back to hold various supplies.

Hey this is really neat Chris.

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