DIY Painted Magnet Sticks for Creativity on the Fridge

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Creativity on the Fridge with DIY Painted Magnet Sticks - Easy for kids to make with wood craft sticksWe made some simple magnet sticks last week and they have been inspiring way more creating and creativity than I could possibly have imagined. Making them was a creative activity in itself, and yet the magnet sticks are one of those products that inspire open-ended play and creative expression.

This was a project Daphne and I worked on together when Maia was at school. She was looking for a magnet to hang her latest drawing on the fridge but couldn’t find one that wasn’t in use. I took down some older papers, handed her the free magnet, and made the offhand comment that maybe it was time to make some new magnets.

I should remember not to make comments like that unless I intend to follow through.

I couldn’t find any of the round wooden disks that we’d used to make magnets in the past (a project in The Artful Parent book), so was about to say we’d have to wait for another day when I remembered some magnets made with wood craft sticks that I had seen on Pinterest. I knew we had some of those!

And so, on the spur of the moment, Daphne and I made a slew of painted wooden magnet sticks for the fridge.

Here’s how:

MATERIALS

  • Wood craft sticks
  • Sharpie permanent markers
  • Liquid watercolors (other paints would work, too)
  • Magnet disks (either the stick on kind or the kind you’ll need to glue on)
  • Hot glue gun (not needed if you have the stick-on kind of magnets)

DIY Painted Magnet Sticks for Kids

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Draw or doodle on the wood craft sticks with the permanent markers. This step isn’t strictly necessary. I did a mix of marker lines and paint on the magnet sticks I decorated; Daphne made a couple that were marker only and many that were paint only.

2. Paint the wood craft sticks with the liquid watercolor paints. Let dry.

DIY Painted Magnet Sticks for Kids

Daphne has been into color mixing lately and spends about half of her painting time mixing colors these days. The result is often brown (big surprise) and she celebrates it.

“Look Mom! I made brown!”

DIY Painted Magnet Sticks for Kids

Here are Daphne’s color-mixing-experiment painted sticks and my doodled pattern sticks, all drying.

DIY Painted Magnet Sticks for Kids

3. Attach the magnets to the backs of the painted sticks, with one magnet at each end. If you have sticker magnets, as Daphne does here, you can simply peel off the protective paper and press the sticker magnet to the wood. This is a great fine motor activity and allows the child to stay involved during the entire process.

DIY Painted Magnet Sticks for Kids

If you have regular magnetic disks, as I do here, you can use a drop from the hot glue gun to attach them.

DIY Painted Magnet Sticks for Kids

4. Play with your new magnet sticks on the fridge! Or any magnetic surface.

DIY Painted Magnet Sticks for Kids

Experiment with the magnets and magnetic force…

DIY Painted Magnet Sticks for Kids

…write letters and words with the magnet sticks…

DIY Painted Magnet Sticks for Kids

…turn it into a letter store and sell your letters…

DIY Painted Magnet Sticks for Kids

…create patterns and designs with the painted and doodle sticks…

DIY Painted Magnet Sticks for Kids

 

…create a house for people…

 

DIY Painted Magnet Sticks for Kids

…drive cars out of a parking garage and along the road…

DIY Painted Magnet Sticks for Kids

…and give old ladies crazy hair and braces.

The creating and playing with the magnet sticks has continued. This morning there was a simple equation on the fridge. We haven’t used our new magnets to hang artwork yet, but I imagine when it happens there will be more than one “frame” made out of the magnet sticks.

Other Ways to Make Popsicle Stick Magnets (from around the web):

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Comments

  1. says

    I LOVE this! I plan to have my two older kids make this for their little brother’s birthday. No doubt all three kids will enjoy playing with them. Thanks for the great idea.

    • says

      Thanks, Francine! Give it a try! The fun thing about these magnet sticks is that they can be used for making letters and numbers (I woke up to an equation on the fridge the other day) as well as art, designs, and play (like the cars…). They are so open ended!

  2. Sarah says

    I am so excited to make these this afternoon. My son (3.5) saw a picture of your little girl playing with them on Facebook this morning and said we had to make them! I gathered the supplies this morning at the drugstore. We’ve struggled with art classes and other projects but he is never interested very long, a very spirited and energetic little kid to say the least. He looks through your pictures and website and wants to make it all and learn more–it completely inspires him. I’m so grateful, thank you!!

  3. Allison says

    I love this project and am planning to do it with daughter (4) and nephew (8) at our family beach week in a few weeks. I assume that these are the tongue depressor sized craft sticks (not the thin ones)? Do you think regular watercolors will work OK? And finally, what are the small round disc ones that your daughter used for eyes? Thank you as always for the creative and fun ideas. Your house always looks so fun and peaceful. Perfect place to create!

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