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Magnetic craft ideas with animal figurines

Create magnetic memo holders and wall hooks from animal figurines
Author: M. Flück, Winterthur, Switzerland
Online since: 15/11/2022, Number of visits: 20685
Animal figurines can be found among the toys of most children. But what to do when, one day, they live at the bottom of the toy chest instead of continuing to explore the "big wide world" of your child’s room? Breathe new life into the abandoned animal figurines. I made magnetic memo holders and wall hooks out of dinosaur figurines and gave them a new look with some spray paint.

This is also a great craft project suitable for children, and the finished creations are perfect as unique gifts!
Table of Contents

Materials needed

Note from the supermagnete team: Measure the diameter of the openings before you purchase the magnets to ensure you choose the correct size. You can find additional tips for selecting magnets below.

Cut the animal figurines in half and sand the edges

Now there is no escape for the poor creatures! I halved the dinosaurs with a bandsaw. Please note: It is advisable to wear protective gloves and safety goggles because the figurines are difficult to grip due to their shape, and sawing produces fine plastic dust. Depending on the hardness of the plastic, you could also use a handsaw. I strongly recommend having an adult complete this step.

Next, I smoothed the cut edges with sandpaper. Instead of sandpaper, you can also use a larger nail file.

Seal the cavity with Sugru

To be able to attach magnets to both sides of the dinosaur, I first had to create an even surface. I decided to use Sugru adhesive putty for that.

I sealed the openings with a thick layer of Sugru, carefully attaching it to the edges and smoothing the surface as much as possible, and then let the dinosaur halves dry for 24 hours. Filling the "animal belly" with putty is not recommended, as the figurine would be heavy and could tip over later.

Tip: If you intend to spray-paint the figurines later, the colour of the Sugru is of no importance. But if not, it is best to choose putty that is similar in colour to the figurine. To achieve as close of a colour match as possible, you can also knead several colours together.

Paint or spray-paint the animal figurines

This step is optional. I wanted to give my dinosaurs a new look and decided to spray-paint them with acrylic paint. I applied several thin coats, spraying from a different angle each time until the dinosaur was completely covered in paint. I allowed for sufficient drying time between each layer. To protect against toxic fumes, I sprayed outside and wore a mask. As a painting surface, I recommend using parchment paper because the figurines stick less to it than they do to newspaper.

Alternatively, you could also hand-paint your figurines. I found this option to be a little cumbersome because my dinosaurs had a rough surface, and the paint could be more evenly applied with the spray mist.

Choose the right magnets

Using the same process, you can either make magnetic memo holders or magnetic wall hooks. Decide on the intended use before you glue on the magnets because memo holders require significantly weaker magnets than wall hooks. I made memo holders out of some dinosaurs and wall hooks out of others.

Tip from the supermagnete team: Please see our FAQ about shear force if you want to make wall hooks. For memo holders, magnets that are strong enough to attract each other through the postcard will suffice.

Glue on the magnets

Even though I used self-adhesive magnets, I still added a small among of UHU MAX REPAIR before pressing them firmly onto the figurine. It allowed me to increase the adhesion on the not entirely smooth surface of the Sugru. Afterwards, I left the individual pieces to dry for 24 hours.

Magnetic memo holders

Self-adhesive disc magnets S-18-01-STIC, for example, are great for magnetic memo holders. They securely hold a postcard and are easy to separate as well. S-12-02-FOAM achieve a higher adhesive force. They have a smaller diameter but are slightly thicker. Which magnets you can use depends entirely on the diameter of the intended application site. I don’t recommend magnets that are too strong, as they could be torn off when the two halves of the figurine are separated. To more or less avoid this altogether, I suggest separating the magnets by sliding them sideways rather than pulling them apart.

Important: Glue the magnets to both parts in such a way that they attract and don’t repel each other. You can easily check the orientation of the magnets by laying them on top of each other before sticking them on. Then glue them to each animal half with the "correct" side facing outward.

Magnetic wall hooks

For magnetic wall hooks, you will need significantly stronger magnets than for the memo holder. I, for example, attached an S-15-05-N magnet and now use the hooks to hang lightweight objects such as a key, cable or empty bag on the wall. However, if possible, avoid moving or detaching the wall hooks, as the strength of the magnet means there is a risk of tearing the magnet off the figurine.

Tip: Instead of using them as hooks, these figurines also look great as decorative features. You don’t need magnets quite as strong for this type of application.

Have fun decorating or gifting your works of art!

You can find other projects for upcycling various items here:

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