Saturday, June 1, 2013

Guilty as Charged!

Turning a wall into a magnetic wall

It took me awhile to think of myself, and say "I'm an artist".  Sometimes that still feels a smidge uncomfortable, however I do legit believe it.  BUT, shouldn't an artist hang art on the walls?  I almost never print my own photographs.  I have a few, mainly because I got a duplicate that someone else wanted.  (I don't have my own printer $ cha-ching).


I have a large empty wall in my dining area and was determined to hang some of my photos there.....that's been a plan for about 2 years.  Finally!  I decided what to do.  I thought I would share my project with you in case you're guilty of not embracing your own art work too.

I painted a magnetic wall.  I can hang photos randomly, for as long or short a time as I wish, to help group together a series, or to display my own art.  Here's how it goes, you know, to save you from trying to figure it out.

Set Up
Set Up
I used a level to get a straight edge.  My plan was to make a magnetic chalkboard, therefore I didn't go floor to ceiling, but I've seen images of that and in the right place could be really cool.

Paint Clothes
Paint Clothes
I'm normally a pretty tidy painter....these puppies have endured years and years of painting.  I wouldn't risk doing this project without paint clothes.

Here are the two paints I bought.
The magnetic is a primer so ANY color can go on top of it.  I went with black chalkboard paint (it comes in a variety of color options)...but I could have painted it the color of the existing wall if I wanted.

The MOST important thing about this primer you MUST stir it well.  Have the store run it thru one of those mixers (I asked to have mine "shaken not stirred" 007 style).  While you're painting whisk it around frequently.  There are flecks of metal in it that sink and goop up.  You won't get a good spread of metal coverage if you don't.

Roll On
Roll On

The primer dries pretty quickly, so I was able to space out the coats about every 30-45 minutes. 
I put 4 coats on to get good coverage-the quart can was sufficient.  I think the hold would be stronger with more layers.


After the first coat I realized rather than just drop cloth on the floor, I should have covered the baseboard heating-I think the same would occur with wood trim.

It was suggested to use a tight foam roller rather than one of those fluffy ones.  I don't know if that had something to do with the specks.


Clean Up
Clean Up

Magnetic primer is NOT latex, so you need some of the "big guns" to clean up.
Fortunately this worked on the baseboard heating too.

Roller Saver
Roller Saver
Since I was painting at regular intervals rather than continually cleaning roller and brush, I tucked into a plastic bag and it didn't dry out.  I learned this trick from my brother.

By the time I finished all 4 coats, the roller was much heavier than when I started.  Likely it's magnetic too.  Rather than clean it, I just threw it away.
Day 2
Day 2
On day 2 things were much easier....(note the coffee mug in the back drop).
The chalkboard paint WAS latex and when I picked up the roller, it zipped right on the wall in about half the time the primer had taken.  You must wait 4 hours between coats however.
I hear if you put beyond 2 coats on, it lessens the effectiveness of the magnetic hold.

Soon it was finished.  I chose to paint the light switch cover too....just cuz.  I thought that might POP off the wall a bit if left "bisque" colored.  I think you could also paint a faux frame around it in an offsetting color, or have someone handy make a chalk tray for the bottom edge.

Magnetic Chalkboard
Magnetic Chalkboard
I put it to the test later in the day with some refrigerator magnets I had around.
Unless they are pretty strong, they are not sufficient to hold up images....if they're cheap ones, they just slide down the board as soon as you give them a job to do.
What you need are rare earth magnets
I'd never heard of them.  They're really strong.  I bought tiny ones-about the size of a hearing aid battery.  I could hardly pull them apart. 

You can see the images look much better without the big clunky magnets all over them.
I had no idea what size magnets to purchase.  I ended up getting 1/4" x 1/10".  I bought 40 pieces and that's not enough.  I think when I order more, I'll get something a bit larger. I couldn't find them in a store. I ordered from Amazon and saved a few bucks, but I think it might be better to just order from the source.
  • I completed a project
  • If you keep stirring the primer, this does work
  • I have a legitimate place to display my images
  • It's a relatively quick project to do
  • It's a little stinky...such that it would be nice to do this on a day when you could have windows open to give a bit of ventilation. 
  • The magnetic hold is "ok".  I don't think those childhood ABC letter will stick unless you put mega layers of primer.
  • The surface is a bit bumpy (like a very subtle stucco or rough sandpaper).  I don't think it will be great to use as a chalkboard-I'm OK with that, I just wanted it to look like a chalkboard, but it might be frustrating for the kiddos.

I don't think my mother liked the black much, but I do believe when filled with colorful images, it will provide a nice backdrop.  I'm not very formal, so this sort of crafty look works well for me.  All depends where you plan to complete the wall.



Anita Johnson said...

I love this idea...nice work.

Tamar SB said...

Love it!! What a fun idea! I would love to do something like this when I own my own day...

Kay L. Davies said...

I'd like to do it the same color as the wall, just for the surprise factor, but you're right, the black makes a great backdrop for the photos.
What a fun project. I think I'll mention it to my artist brother and his wife. They have two youngsters who love to draw.

Carol Blackburn said...

How super, Susan...........I like it immensely. Now all you need to do is magnetize the back of some mats and you can place your photo on the wall and mat it. It should be EASY for a pro like you are now. :)

Cathy H. said...

Susan, this turned out fantastic! I love the ideas of random placed pictures and the fact that they can be changed!! I don't have any of my pictures around my house either! Someday I'll get around to that!!

Leanne Barnett said...

Clever you! This is a great idea & looks great.

Becky said...

Wow, wow, love this!!!!!! Love being able to switch up the art work (you artist, you!) and that it can be done with any paint color. This is going on the idea list for the future (wink, wink!)

Kathryn said...

Love this idea Susan and that you can change out photos as and when you like. My brother and sister-in-law collect tacky fridge magnets from all the places they visit. Think they're running out of refridgerator space so this would be a great project for them!

Sarah Huizenga said...

This is such a wonderful post. You wouldn't believe how many empty frames I have in my storage room. All bought with the intention of hanging with my photographs inside. Not one of these has ever made it to a wall. Sad :( I really need to work on that. I love the idea of the magnetic/chalkboard wall. What a wonderful way to display your photos.

Rosie Grey said...

What a clever idea, Susan - it looks stunning!

Justine said...

you are clever, this is so cool and so martha!! love it

bgottsab said...

Susan - what a great idea - it turned out beautifully! What fun to be able to create ever-changing mosaics of your work. Own that "artist" title - it definitely fits. Thanks for sharing your steps.

Susan said...

Nice job other Susan. I hate wearing gloves and always end up with splattered hands too. (and sometimes hair)

I love playing with rare earth magnets! (They have a bunch near the cash register at one of the geeky stores that my hubs frequents.) You have to be careful though, as it's easy to pinch your fingers with some of the larger ones, as they do snap together quite fast! :-)

Wayne (Woody), whatever said...

This is a really cool idea, I really like it! This would also be a cool idea for a photo studio.

seabluelens said...

OK, I'm totally impressed. Who knew you were such a clever DIYer? It looks great, and I love that you are now displaying your own ART (which it definitely is) in your own home. Now to figure out what to do with my photos....

Jamie said...

I love it! I've framed and hung some of mine - but that makes changing difficult (which means I don't do it) and it was expensive. This is a much better way to go.

sherrygaley said...

This came out really well...and your photos look great! Thanks for sharing the process. Nice to have such a big space to put them and to be able to move them around and change them up.