Monday, September 23, 2013

Too Much Stuff: The Moving Experience

Everybody who has moved has said this at least once during a move: why do I own so much stuff?  I'm no different, and packing to move across the country made it clear that I needed to be more organized and to get rid of quite a bit of extra stuff.  When I was unpacking, it was even more obvious that dumping things into baskets (my old method of organization) just wasn't going to work anymore.  It also became clear that I own a lot of earrings.  Lots and lots and lots of earrings.  So I decided that for my new place, I would make a new system for organizing little things like earrings and hair clips that take over when you're not looking.

I was inspired by a popular blog post on magnetic make-up boards.  Although I am way too lazy to wear makeup, it only takes a minute to put on a pair of earrings.  A magnetic board with small hooks would save space and make it easy to see all of my earrings at once.  I had to change several details to make it work, but I'm happy to say that the result is worth the work.

To make a magnetic hanging board, you need a pretty strange collection of things - but they don't cost very much.  I only owned the spray paint from a previous project and it was about $40 for everything else.  I had planned to do the entire project in one day but it ended up taking three days due to some moving shenanigans.  If you have the items you need, you could make this type of board in a day.  Paint and glue in the morning, wait for everything to dry, and assemble in the evening.

I ended up using:

  • 2 picture frames (no glass needed)
  • spray paint (primer and final coat)
  • gold magnetic paint (optional)
  • cotton fabric
  • spray adhesive
  • Goo Gone
  • tin snips (shears)
  • sheet metal
  • magnets (neodymium)

You can also use contact paper instead of gluing fabric onto the sheet metal.  Sheet metal is cheap and is sold in sheets at hardware stores.  I got mine in the plumbing section at Lowe's.  One smart blogger recommended taking a refrigerator magnet to the store to check that the metal is magnetic before you buy it.  I forgot to do this but fortunately I did get the magnetic kind of sheet metal.  I also bought a set of tin shears for cutting the metal to fit the frames.  There isn't a substitute for tin shears so you will either need to buy a pair or have the metal cut to size at the store.

Habitat for Humanity Restores are a fantastic resource for larger furniture items, lamps, doors, rugs, and picture frames.  I picked up a set of two ugly and large picture frames for $10 that had a nice design and texture under the ugliness.  I bought the fabric specially to match the new color for the frames.

The magnets need to be strong enough to hold up whatever it is you want to stick on the board.  Neodymium magnets are very strong, cheap, come in many shapes, and are easy to buy.  Because I wanted to hang earrings, I bought magnetic pegs that are intended for classroom use.  The makeup board bloggers bought smaller magnets and hot-glue-gunned them to the the back of the makeup packaging.

The ugly pictures came in solid black frames so I spray painted them with a coat of primer before putting on two coats of my chosen color.  While the paint was drying, I used the plastic that was at the front of the frames to cut out the sheet metal to fit.  This took a lot of hand power and my thumb was pretty sore by the end.  Using the outline of the plastic as a guide worked very well and I didn't have to recut anything.  I also made sure to align two sides of the plastic with the ends of the sheet metal so I only had to cut two sides instead of four.

Once the sheet metal was the right size, I cut the fabric out to be about 1 inch wider on all sides.  I sprayed a lot of adhesive on one side of the sheet metal and stretched the fabric out so there were no bumps.  After the fabric was mostly glued onto the metal, I cut diagonal lines across the fabric from the outer corners to the corners of the sheet metal.  This let me fold down and glue the fabric to the back of the sheet metal without the fabric being pulled from two sides.  If this explanation doesn't make sense, take a look at the pictures below.  When the glue was dry, I fit the covered metal back into the frames and replaced the cardboard at the back of the frames.

Be careful about getting adhesive on your hands.  You can't just wash it off with soap and water, especially if it's dried.  I used Goo Gone.  If you do press and hold the fabric down onto the metal without thinking of the consequences of sticking your hands into spray adhesive, then you'll need something like Goo Gone.

The neodymium peg magnets were very strong but also the wrong color, so I painted them a dark metallic gold to match the fabric.  The pegs hold the earring hooks without a problem.  Another advantage to storing earrings this way is that they stick to the board because it's magnetic, so I haven't accidentally dropped any earrings behind my dresser since I put the boards up.

I used the first board to hang my earrings and the second board to hang my necklaces.  I haven't figured out how to store bracelets, so those are still sitting in a basket.

Overall, this project turned out wonderfully.  It wasn't the easiest thing I ever made but it also wasn't that difficult, mostly just time consuming.  If you need a better storage system for some smaller items that you use regularly, this maybe worth trying.

Ugly pictures from the thrift store.

Removing the back and taking out the picture and the clear plastic at the front.  Don't throw away the cardboard at the back of the frame - you may need it to hold the sheet metal in place.

With a coat of primer.

While the paint was drying, I traced out the plastic fronts from the picture frames as a guide for cutting the sheet metal.

Tin shears.

The metal, ready for the fabric.

Cutting out the fabric.

After the spray adhesive, most of the fabric is attached.  I still need to the corners and glue the extra fabric to the back of the sheet metal.

The primer has dried so I put on the first coat of paint.
Cut from the outside corner of the fabric on a diagonal line to the corner of the sheet metal.  This will let you fold the fabric over without making large lumps.

Fabric glued down.

Completed frames.

Now they need the magnets.
Magnetic pegs that have been painted gold.

Earring board.

Necklace board.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jae, just popped over to let you know that your link to Food on Friday: Zucchini was featured in my Need Some Inspiration? Series on Carole's Chatter today. Cheers