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Project

Decorative Magnets

Introduction

With their whirling, glass-coated patterns, these marbled magnets make an attractive addition to a refrigerator or any magnetic surface. What's more, they're easy and inexpensive to make, requiring little more than flattened glass marbles, decorative papers, and of course, magnets. As Martha demonstrates, you can also use this technique to create pushpins to embellish a corkboard.

 

Materials

  • Decorative papers, such as wallpaper, wrapping paper, or magazine cutouts
  • Paper punch (Martha uses 2 sizes: 1 1/2 and 3/4 inches)
  • Flattened glass marbles
  • Sobo glue
  • Super glue
  • Magnets
  • Scissors (optional)
  • Pencil (optional)

Steps

  1. Step 1

    Using a paper punch, cut out decorative paper rounds. Since the marbles are irregularly shaped, you may have to trim the rounds to match. You can also trace the glass marble onto the paper using a pencil and cut out the shape.

  2. Step 2

    Using Sobo glue, affix the printed side of the paper to a glass marble. Let the glue dry, and press out any bubbles.

  3. Step 3

    Using super glue, affix a magnet to the back of the paper. Let dry a few hours before using. Packaged in small boxes or tins, the magnets make wonderful gifts.

Reviews (101)

  • 25 Sep, 2010

    I work for an apartment community and made these with our property name and phone number to use as marketing gifts. These are really cute! Can't wait to make some for myself and family!

  • 10 May, 2010

    Something is making a lot of blemishes on the photos after the glue dries. You can see it through the marble and it looks like the photo is disintegrating. What am I doing wrong? Too much glue? Not enough? Wrong style of paper?

  • 10 Mar, 2010

    you could put a pic of your self and the father when you were babys that is if there is mostly family there,

  • 10 Mar, 2010

    I want to do these as my baby shower gifts. Does any one have any ideas on what to put behind the marbles? Here is my email bubbles718@hotmail.com

  • 9 Mar, 2010

    My kids have done MANY projects with these. You can even finish the edge with copper tape. BUT the problem I am now having is finding the marbles WITHOUT the pearlized-something coating on them. I dont know how to get it off of the only ones I can find. I have bought bags and bags just to get a few clear ones. Any ideas? shooshoo@austin.rr.com

  • 9 Mar, 2010

    Is there a particular magnet that works better than others?

  • 9 Mar, 2010

    LOVE this idea, where can i buy the flattened glass marbles.
    Thanks sharon

  • 9 Mar, 2010

    For "Grandma Camp" one year we used the large flattened marbles and glued the grand-daughters faces on the back. A big hit!

  • 9 Mar, 2010

    Letter stickers work wonderful on recycled paper or even a paper bag.

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    I get all my stuff at www.thecraftydragonfly.etsy.com. Amazing selection!

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    These are great made with canceled postage stamps! Leave on the little bit of envelope that is behind the stamp. I never look at stamps quite the same way!

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    I made these glass marbles for decorations on the tables at my Son's wedding. I printed out "H" letters on heavy stock paper...used super glue and marbles from the Dollar Store and, for less than $10.00, had LOTS of great decorations. Many guests at the wedding whose last name started with "H" took them home as a keepsake; and I put magnets on the back of the rest for everyone I know who has an "H" as their frist or last name.

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    Most craft stores will have the marbles in the floral department

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    You can get the bags of marbles at the Dollar Tree near the vases.

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    hate to sound like a dunce, but where do you get the marbles? Or do you have to make them?

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    You can also use a picture instead of paper. Larger marbles can be used as a paperweight for your desk.

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    please remember that any small object can be a swallowing and chocking hazard for small children and pets

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    oh!this is my first comment in this site (although i'm member some years now) but this craft worths it!! it's great!really great!i'm starting tommorow!

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    Michael's and Hobby Lobby have the marbles

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    This works especially well with photos. I gave several sets as Christmas gifts and they were very well received. The curvature of the glass magnifies the tiny photo so it can be seen. By the way, the clear glass marbles are available all over the place: Michaels, JoAnns, Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart, Target, anywhere they sell flower arrangement supplies, anywhere they sell fish bowl decorations.

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    This works especially well with photos. I gave several sets as Christmas gifts and they were very well received. The curvature of the glass magnifies the tiny photo so it can be seen. By the way, the clear glass marbles are available all over the place: Michaels, JoAnns, Hobby Lobby, Wal-Mart, Target, anywhere they sell flower arrangement supplies, anywhere they sell fish bowl decorations.

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    where do you get glass marbles?

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    where do you get glass marbles?

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    You could make your own pretty magnetic poetry using words from magazines. I love these kinds of magnets.

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    You could make your own pretty magnetic poetry using words from magazines. I love these kinds of magnets.

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    I made more than 150 decorative magnets for gift bags for hotel guests at my granddaughter's upcoming wedding in NYC. I used pictures of the bride and groom, I love NY logo and a big red apple. I packed them in clear cello bags with colored shredded papaer and tied them with ribbons.

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    They are also really cute if you add some lettering over the picture! Use fonts off of your computer, cutouts from magazines, cutouts from old cards, or use an old typewriter for a great look. Make a statement!

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    Be creative. It is so much fun to use your nugget to find the art for the necklaces described below. Take the glass nugget and slide it over images in magazines, maybe a small animal, or angel or flowers or maybe just a texture. The nugget amplifies the image like looking thru a magnifying glass. These can turn out really beautiful! The old bottle top is a conversation peice as well.

  • 8 Mar, 2010

    Make pendants this same way. Using old metal drink bottle tops. With the bottle top inside facing up, peirce a small [filtered word] thru the area where it starts to curve up to the sides, insert a small metal ring for the chain or cord to go thru. Decorate the back of the glass nugget, Glue the nugget to the center of the bottle top. fill the void around the nugget with glue and seed beads that coordinate with the art behind the nugget. String onto cord or chain.

  • 1 Jan, 2009

    How about using them for game pieces?

  • 11 Aug, 2008

    I am having great fun with this project! With the pieces that I can't use (marble surface doesn't allow design to show through) does anyone have suggestions on other uses (besides their original intention as vase fillers)?

    Thanks

    MB Mom

  • 3 Aug, 2008

    I tried using a bag of clear glass stones from the dollar store. They ended up being too cloudy to see the image through. Be sure you use a very clear glass.

  • 2 Aug, 2008

    I made push pins using the smaller flat glass marbles and the type of thumb tacks that are larger and flat, you know, the silver ones. I used silicone glue but I think Diamond Glaze would work well, too. They were quite a hit and my sister still uses hers on her bulletin board at school. I put about 8 of them into an Altoids tin that I painted.

  • 30 Jul, 2008

    I don't think the paper punch is for putting holes in the paper. Martha uses two sizes they are just for cutting out the shape. Why would you want holes in the paper. The picture is showing the design of the paper not holes in it.

  • 25 Jul, 2008

    I found the small, flattened glass marbles at Michaels in the mosaic isle.... same isle at Hobby Lobby, but the marbles there were larger

  • 18 Jul, 2008

    grmacathy-Thank you so much for informing me on TAP plastics. If it fits in my budget I will check on line. Thanks again.

  • 18 Jul, 2008

    My 4-year-old and I did this for Father's Day with photos of us on the back. We used Elmer's All Purpose Craft Glue and it worked great. Diamond Glaze is also a terrific, very clear glue that is great for a higher quality adhesive. (For adults only - it's sticks fast, kind of like super glue).

  • 18 Jul, 2008

    TRenee - TAP plastics is the name of a company who will custom make acrylic plastic pieces for you - I've used them to lay over wire shelves to keep things steady or from falling through. They can make the pieces any shape you want and any thickness. I think you can probably google them to find a location near you.

  • 17 Jul, 2008

    I was checking back for a response on what TAP plastics are. Does anyone know?

  • 17 Jul, 2008

    If you have a doorway or any corner in your home that is unframed (just drywall, no molding, no door) then the corners were probably done with a metal strip under all the drywall mud and paint. My boys love sticking different magnets along the edge of the wall or up in the corners. We change them with the seasons/holidays.

  • 17 Jul, 2008

    A cute way to package these is using a recycled Altoid's tin or something like that. 6 magnets would fit nicely in there and you can decorate the tin to match the magnets. I would use scrapbook paper.

  • 17 Jul, 2008

    SQUEEKERS / I saw these at petsmart last week. Magmets / I made a couple of years ago and bought scrapbooking paper with letters on them so I could personalize them for my friends. I also bought paper that had a teaching them and made them for my teacher friends. They loved them ! I bought the marbles at Hobby Lobby along with the magnets.

  • 17 Jul, 2008

    I have been doing these for awhile. I buy the glass marbles used for flower arranging. I have also used stars which work very nicely, but are hard to find. I used them for the 4th of July. I have started using fabric for my designs.

  • 17 Jul, 2008

    As an easy and almost-free option to getting the magnets for this and any other project requiring magnets, I always cut-out the magnets which come with the shower liners (the ones that hold the liner to the tub). The liners always bring three nickel-sized magnets which fit the diameter of any flat marble.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Glass beads like this can be found in the Northeast at Christmas Tree Shops or everywhere at most stained glass supply places. I would think Michael's and JoAnn Fabrics would also carry them in the craft sections. PK

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Glass beads like this can be found in the Northeast at Christmas Tree Shops or everywhere at most stained glass supply places. I would think Michael's and JoAnn Fabrics would also carry them in the craft sections. PK

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Thank you, good advise, and yes now I realise I have seen them.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I just got the marbles at target.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Do you get the marbles in hardware stores? thanks

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    hi! where do you get the flattened glass marble? thanks

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I have enough magnets on my fridge ... but these look great mingled in with stones on my plants. Follow the instructions, but instead of adding magnets to the back, coat, paint or spray with clear acrylic to seal the back of the marbles. Then place them in your flower pots, or scatter some on the coffee table. The marbles magnify the designs of the paper, looks great, especially with foil paper wrap, or just pictures of your family. Happy crafting.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I have made these before and they turned out very nice. I bought scrapbooking paper at Michael's that had letters on it and used it to personalize the magnets for friends. These marbles can be found at Michael's or Hobby Lobby . They are used for flower arranging. I In answer to the question about squeakers f(the kind for dog toys) They can be found at PETSMART . I ran across them the other day there while I was looking at some supplies for my dog.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    scratch the magnet question, one is an add on this page!

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    this may be a dumb question..but i am reading that the magnet needs to be powerful. I am just wondering what kind to get. any suggestions? also, for pushpins, do you just use a regular push pin and super glue the flat part to the back of the marble?

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I need to find a resource either online or store that carries squeekers (as used in dog toys). Already checked ACMoore and Michaels. Help --thanks.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I think these are great.

    Thanks for the comments, because I've never heard of Sobo glue, either. Apparently it will be transparent when it dries, right? Cuz that's how you can see through the marble to the paper underneath, uh, I think. Is that right? (I have some psych and learning challenges, so I sometimes get a little mixed up with stuff like this.)

    I don't have a Michael's close by. We only have Wisconsin Crafts Market here. I'm wondering where else I could find the proper magnets.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    KELL10 : SOBO GLUE is a perfect glue for paper. I use it for all my hand marbled
    paper crafts. It is non-toxic. Made by Delta Technical Coatings, Inc 2550 Pellissier
    Place, Whittier, California 90601 or call 1-800-423-4135 or (213) 686-0678 It comes in a 16 fluid ounce plastic bottle and available in most craft stores. It is a white glue that dries clear and is water based. Art supply stores and craft stores most always have it available. JP II

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I make these with magazine cut outs which can have printing on the other side that shows through. I paint over the back w/ black acrylic paint and it prevents the other side from showing thru. SOBO glue is all purpose white glue. Any craft glue that dreis clear will do. I've also used paint (even nail polish ) and glitter instead of paper and it looks really cool.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    What a great idea BUT what is Sobo Glue? I live in Canada and I have never heard of it?? Also wouldn't you be able to see the dark magnet through the holes in the paper ??

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Love all your tips

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I wonder if u can decoupage the paper one the back? Also, flat marbles and such can usually be found at Dollar Trees

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I am a new third grade teacher and am always looking for good Christmas and Mother's Day gifts. This looks like a winner, and sounds easy enough for the kids to do somewhat independently!

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I'm pretty sure the marbles and probably the magnets as well are available at Michael's. The flattened glass marbles come in a bag and are commonly used to hold the flower stems in a vase. You haven probably seen them but didn't recognize them for what they are. I think I got a biggish bag for around $7 this winter. Good luck. -- Denise

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I do not know what sobo gilue is and how to you flatten a glass marble. I would like to have and answer. e-mail bluecattismom@hotmail. I love most of Martha's crafts.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Sobo is a high quality craft glue that looks just like Elmer's School Glue, but dries faster and stronger.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Hi all!!! I live in Argentina and I do not know what Sobo Glue is...can someone give me a hint? is different from superglue? why?

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I'm glad to see this as I found a glass magnrt set at a grarge sale which you are supposed to paint. I like the paper look much better. I haven't painted any yet so I;m going to do this! Looks EASY.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    look in Mickles that is where M.S. collection is.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Flattened glass marbles are usually used in floral /candle decor. You can even get them at a dollar store but they are always available at a craft store that sells silk/artificial flowers. They come in different sizes and will require a pretty strong magnet to hold both the weight and whatever you are hanging with the magnet. Thin magnets will not be strong enough. Magnets are sold in office supply stores or in the 'fasteners" section of your craft store. I hope this helps.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Can you buy flattened marbles? Or do you have to somehow flatten your own?

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Where do you get "flattened glass marbles"?

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    We made these with small head shot photos of the cousins, and with the kids' favorite cartoon or TV characters, too. Easy, cute, and they do last for years!

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    This looks like such a cute idea. I would love to tweak this and creat a favor for a wedding. I worry that the marbles are too small and would like to create something about the size of a two inch square. I noticed in LMDC's post she talked about TAP plastics that makes nice lightweight plastic magnifying pieces. I was wondering what are TAP plastics?

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I have done these with my then 3 year old nephew, using white school glue. I figured they might not hold, but 2 years later, they are all still in one piece. You do need strong magnets, though. I used ceramic magnets, available at most craft stores. The great thing about using school glue is that when you get tired of the design, dunk the whole thing in warm soapy water, take apart, and start over with a different paper.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I made these with my 4th grade class for Mother's Day gifts. I used pictures of quilting material from a free catalog i get.. These make beautiful magnets.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Sorry--didn't read far enough before my first post!

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Where would one get the TAP magnifying pieces?

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    TAP plastics makes nice lightweight plastic magnifying pieces that look like these but don't have the weight to them - so easier to hold up notes. I've done this project with photos of loved ones and super glue which dries fast, and crystal clear. I printed out the photos on my printer. I was lucky to find super magnets at my local Ace hardware.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I made these magnets in a stamp class a coulple of years ago, they tuned out adorable, but these look a lot classier. I can't wait to make them.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I stamped out letters using small alphabet stamps and put them in plastic easter eggs for my grandchildren's easter baskets this year. It only took a couple minutes to discover the letters spelled their names and they loved it. Mary

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Yes, they do have them at Michael's. They are usually in the section of the store with all of the ribbon, wedding stuff, etc.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Hobby Lobby has the super strong magnets. They keep them locked up for some reason. If you are looking online search the term "Rare Earth Magnets" and you will get lots of options.

    WARNING: Keep these magnets away from young children. If they swallow several of them they can join together in the intestines and cause blockage. Here's an article from the CDC about it. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5548a3.htm

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Hobby Lobby has the super strong magnets. They keep them locked up for some reason. If you are looking online search the term "Rare Earth Magnets" and you will get lots of options.

    WARNING: Keep these magnets away from young children. If they swallow several of them they can join together in the intestines and cause blockage. Here's an article from the CDC about it. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5548a3.htm

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I'm pretty sure the marbles and probably the magnets as well are available at Michael's. The flattened glass marbles come in a bag and are commonly used to hold the flower stems in a vase. You haven probably seen them but didn't recognize them for what they are. I think I got a biggish bag for around $7 this winter. Good luck. -- Denise

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    where can I find flattened glass marbles?

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I tried this with my sons photo. I used an actual photo, but it wasn't breathable enough and it took a long time to dry. Next time I will print the photo out on thinner paper.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Where can I find the glass marbles and super strong magnets?
    Mamaowl

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I've found that the dollar store marbles have more flaws in the glass. It might be worth spending the extra money to get them at a craft store.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Definitely check your local dollar stores for the flattened glass marbles. I've gotten them there! You can get them at Michael's, but obviously you'll spend more. I love the idea of using scrapbook papers to match my kitchen colors.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    flattened marbles?? places like michael's crafts have these?

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    bayarts: we think alike! You posted the same idea I had...using the tins that mints or breath freshners come in to store these, and use a coordinating paper to cover the top of the tin. I have been looking for a way to use those cute little tins. megawoman: I think the part about using a paper punch IS meant for how you cut out the paper circle for the back...you just have to have a punch that makes a larger circle than a regular office-type [filtered word] punch.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I have done this craft and have used silicone glue (or even silicone caulk) as the adhesive.
    Here is a tip - when using a light colored paper, in order to keep the image true, and not darkened by the black magnet beneath it, glue a white piece of paper to the back side of the image before attaching the magnet. I punch out the white parts of subscription cards that come in my magazines.
    You can also glue the marbles to flat-headed thumbtacks instead of magnets.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Great comments ladies!!!! I have made these with questions on the back...ie..as a getting to know you game....ie "where were you born?"...gave them in satin bags for Christmas gifts one year. I found the marbles at the 99 cent store.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    The paper punch is to createt he pattern--holes on construction paper, not for trimming the paper. Use scissors for that. You don't have to use "holey" paper but could use any design you liked.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    The flattened marbles are the same as the ones you use in vases to hold the stems.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Where do you find Sobo Glue, and the flattened marbles? And why do you need a paper punch. Can't you just trim your pic with shears? It states also that Martha demostrates. Is there a video available?

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    Where can you find these marbles?

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I use Modge Podge glue for adhering the paper and magnet...it works great! It also allows for easy clean-up with a dampened washcloth. I made these as baby shower favors. So easy and quick!

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    QUESTION: are these the glass marbles used in fish bowls? What a great idea to have coordinating magnets on the 'frig' instead of pizza places and pest controls! I love the photo idea too! May have to consider that for my mom and mother-in-law, to clean up their refrigerators too!

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I made these using photos. I cut out just the faces and trimmed them to size then glued to the under side of the clear glass marbles. I put some on magnets and some on push pins, then gave a collection of about 8 or 10 to my sisters (their grandkids were the subjects). The glass magnifies the photo image. They were such a hit.

  • 16 Jul, 2008

    I have made these several times and they are really cute. Use a heavy duty magnet or they will slide down the fridge. I have found papers that have high heels or purses on them and centered the picture in the middle of the glass. Cute for a girl friend.

    Joan