Friday, October 23, 2009

Magnetic Message Board Tutorial

Eventually {and hopefully sooner rather than later} I will have pictures of my studio up for you. The room itself is small and nothing special really, but it is filled with treasured items, fav photographs, and artfully displayed supplies. I have to create in a pretty space, and I like even functional items to be attractive, too. So, it's in that vein that have another tutorial for you. This one takes a great deal more elbow grease than the last one, though.

I think I have mentioned that I have always been starting little entrepeneural projects, like a personal chef/catering business right out of college. I also spent a summer making hand painted signs, and the magnetic/dry erase board was one of the items that I sold. You know how you run to the store for milk and come back with all sorts of unplanned culinary goodies--and no milk? Well, I do that all the time when I shop for supplies. I'll run out for more needles {the very thing I left the house for}, forget to write it down, and come back with new damask fabric, pom pom trim, funky buttons--and no needles. So, this board is a great way to write down something you run out of right when you run out of it to avoid additional trips. It would also make a fun and inexpensive Christmas gift. Plus, it's magnetic, so it can display pretty things, too, like these beautiful German glitter cards that a sweet customer sent me.

Here are the supplies you need to get started:
2" unfinished pine in length and width desired
spray paint
black paint {latex or acrylic}
a 1" wide paint brush and a fine tip paint brush
tin snips
metal flashing
silver nails
graphite transfer paper {found at most craft stores}

I buy the unfinished pine at Lowe's {it's only a few bucks for a 12' piece} and cut it myself with a chop saw. If the idea of high powered whirling blades is a bit much for you, you can always have the guys at Lowe's cut it for you. If even that it too much work, you can cut the flashing and put it inside a pretty frame. Speaking of the metal flashing, that is also at Lowe's. It's made for dryer ducts and it's about $4/piece. One 12' board and one piece of flashing will make about 4 message boards.

So, let's assume you have the wood the size you need it. {Mine was 9" wide x 18" long.} First spray paint the face of the wood whatever color you want. I used light blue. After it dries, use a small paint brush to paint the sides black with either latex/house paint or acrylic paint. After that has tried, wearing gloves, cut the metal flashing with tin snips. Leave room at the top for words if desired, and then use four silver nails to tack the flashing in place. {Please note that the sides of the flashing are sharp, so I do not recommend using the message board with children unless you sand the sides or cover them with trim.}

All that's left now is adding the words. I chose "Shopping List," but you could personalize it for a gift, like "Robert's Honey-Do List" {he, he} or "Sheryl's Great Ideas"... you get the idea. So, rather than free-hand the words, which might look sloppy, I used graphite transfer paper. I select a font I like in the right size to fit the message board and print it on regular white computer paper. Then I position the words in the exact place that I want them on the board, and slide the tranfer paper underneath, like this. Trace over all the letters with a pen, and the graphite will leave the words behind, like this. {Sorry--it's not the same example... accidentally deleted those pictures. oops.} Then using a fine tip brush and the same paint you used on the sides, paint on the letters using the graphite transfer to guide you. Incidentally, this combo of words, transfer paper, and paint is great for all kinds of things. I used this menthod to paint several sayings in our house, like this quote in the playroom or "Le Bain" in the bathroom.

After your words have dried, pound two nails in the back, tie on a bit of twine, and your message board is ready to give and/or hang!


Alisha said...

Love this!

Alisha said...

Oh, I almost forgot....when you have some free time can you come decorate my house ;)? You are so creative and talented :) I wish I just had an ounce of your creativity...

Amy said...

Good grief girl, is there anything you DON'T do?? Love this magnetic board...great idea!

And please tell me that your playroom doesn't always look that neat. If so, I am doing something wrong! :(

Haley Baur said...

Hi Jessica,

I have been following your blog for a couple weeks now. I found you on etsy - I absolutely ADORE your shoes. Now if I could only get my hands on them for my little girl and twin boys!

Just wanted to write and say what an inspiration you are! I opened my shop on etsy about a year and a half ago and only wish that I could find more time to help it grow more! Good for you for making it happen! I can't wait to see your new site, studio...whatever! Like you, I love to make anything and everything so I am so excited to see you posting tutorials! Can't wait to try this one.

Thanks again for being such an inspiration!


PS - LOVE the playroom!

Tory said...

I SO LOVE the multitudes of inspiration that come from your blog!! Thank you!! :) This is just darling.

Jessica Haley said...

Haley, your website is really well done! Congrats on building a successful business! You have really great branding and a sweet line of products!

Tory, thanks so much for those lovely tags! I have them in random places in the studio, like on my inspiration board. I love them! I'm working on a convo to you right now.

Amy, let's just say an I-can-do-it attitude and too much HGTV is a volatile combination. Those shows always have the women cutting the wood and installing the light fixtures. I called my brother and asked him if I could kill myself wiring a chandelier, he said probably not, and I was off. The truth is that {while my house is currently a decorating disaster} I am much more comfortable with decor projects and am quite surprised that I landed in children's items.

One last thought, I think this would make a great Etsy shop. No one is really doing anything like this...

Jenni said...

It is official - you do do EVERYTHING!

Can't wait to see more pictures!

little lovelys said...

Hi Jessica,
I bet you have a beautiful studio! Mine can be total Chaos and I would love any tips you may have to create a pretty and organized space. I'd love to do more than just put all my supplies in clear containers. My sewing table is turning into the catch all for everything as well! If you have anything to share, do tell! :)


Jessica Haley said...


This is a good question. I have learned some tips. Since my business was an "accidental" one, I never really went into it prepared. I mean, I didn't go into it thinking I would need to store yards and yard of fabric, it just accumulated as my business grew. Suddenly, I had supplies spilling over bins and the bed in our spare room piled high with bolts of fabric. I would spend 15 minutes just looking for something back then, which was absolutely maddening to me. So, here are some things I have found helpful:

1) Store things in ONE place only. Decide a category that you will use to store your items and keep them in one place only. For example, don't have felt in two different places... like half in the closet and half in a bin. Keep it all in one place and put it there every time--this will also prevent you from running out without realizing it.

2) Put supplies away IMMEDIATELY when you come home. I would amass little bags from the fabric store, and forget where I stashed them or purchase something I already had bought but not put away.

3) Keep the items you use most as close to your machine as possible. For me, labels, thread, velcro, glue, and beads are some of the items I use daily, so I keep them close at hand.

4) Spend the money to get shelving/drawers that work. It's worth it.

5) This is probably the best one... at the end of the day, take 5 minutes to declutter. This has made the biggest impact. Creative people tend to be passionate people, too. When I get in a creative grove, I tend to get excited and make a big mess pulling things out as ideas come. I don't think I'll ever be a "clean as I go" type person, but when the item is finished or when I am done for the day, just taking a few minutes to put it all back and vacuum makes a huge difference. I also find my stress level goes way down when I am working in an organized space verses a cluttered and unorganized one.

Hope that helps!

Curious to hear other people's suggestions, too!

Amy said...

My suggestion is that you just come right on over and organize my life...oh wait, that's probably not a suggestion, huh? ha :)

Thanks for these tips...someday I will be orgainzied again! :( *BIG SIGH*

little lovelys said...


Thank you so much for the tips! I agree with the cleaning up afterward. Now I just need to do it! Can't wait to see your site. :)


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