diy - fridge magnets

May 4, 2013

This is a tutorial on how to make fridge magnets out of bottle caps. I haven’t had much time to make things lately, but this is the kind of project that you can crank out in an afternoon.

Finished magnets on the fridge

Disclaimer

Do not attempt this without adult supervision. Always use proper safety equipment and follow all instructions provided with your tools.

Required Materials & Tools

  • bottle caps
  • ¾" diameter button magnets (available at craft stores like Michael’s)
  • ¾" diameter wooden dowel (available at Home Depot)
  • Super glue
  • Band saw
  • Needle-nose pliers
  • Disc sander

Necessary supplies

Step 1: Acquiring Your Bottle Caps

This is the most time consuming part of the project (and potentially the most enjoyable). I used this as an excuse to try a variety of craft beers and high-end sodas. To remove the bottle cap without damaging the face too much, I recommend putting a quarter on top of the bottle while opening it. This prevents the face from bending, although you’ll still mess up the skirt of the bottle cap a bit. Use your needle-nose pliers to bend it back in to shape; it won’t be perfect but it will be good enough.

Step 2: Cutting The Spacers

My goal was for the magnets to be slightly raised from the fridge. To accomplish this, I decided to make a spacer between the magnet and the bottle cap. The total height of the magnet+spacer is just under ½". Make a mark at ½" minus the width of your button magnet. This was 5/16" from the top for me.

Most of the bottle caps had a rubber-ish ring on the inside, so the dowel wouldn’t perfectly mate with the cap. To fix this, I sanded the edge of the dowel using a disc sander. You can see this in the photo below.

Once you’ve marked and sanded your dowel, cut it on the band saw. Stack your new spacer on a button magnet and place a cap on top to verify that you like the height. If not, tweak the measurements; I won’t mind.

left:cap, center:button and spacer, right:completed magnet

Once you have a size you like, you can use that as a template for the rest of them. I would now precede to crank out as many of these as you can. The incentive to make a bunch now is that you can just save them until you find more bottle caps and then you only need to glue the cap on.

So to summarize:

  1. Mark dowel using the first spacer
  2. Sand edge of dowel with disc sander
  3. Cut spacer with band saw
  4. Repeat

Step 3: Assembling The Magnets

You’ve got spacers, magnets, and bottle caps; now all you need to do is glue them together. This is pretty straight forward. I would use super glue (they sell handy 2-packs at the 99c store that are perfect for this), rather than hot glue. Just put a small drop on a spacer and then add a magnet on it. Press firmly together for about 30 seconds then set it aside to dry. Repeat as needed.

Once you have all your buttons together, it’s time to start gluing the caps on. Glue the caps the same way you glued the buttons: small drop, add cap, squeeze. Repeat as needed.

Crack open a cold one and allow your magnets to dry for 24 hours.

drying magnets

You’re done! Now you can show off your exquisite taste in craft beers, in style.

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