How You Can Make Your Own Photo Magnets

There were some great photo magnets on Pinterest, and I thought this would be a fun project. They are not hard to make and don’t take much of your time. You can give them to your family and friends as gifts. Whether it’s for someone’s Christmas or birthday gift, these photo magnets make wonderful gifts for your family or friends.

If you don’t print your phone’s photos out often, these magnets are perfect for you.

How to Make DIY Polaroid Photo Magnets

Things You’ll Need

  • Whiteboard (Art supply store like Hobby Lobby and Michaels sell full 32×40 sheets of mat board, which can get you A LOT of mini polaroid magnets! Any local craft and framing stores often sell scrap mat boards. There are also colored mat boards if you prefer those. Just have the colored side face the back.
  • Craft knife or box cutter/utility knife with a fresh blade
  • Any straight edge or ruler (I prefer a metal ruler with a cork bottom, it slips less)
  • A self-healing cutting mat (not required, but helpful)
  • Spray adhesive (my fav is 3 M’s Super 77)
  • Adhesive-backed magnet material (You can get the ones sized for business cards from office supply stores)
  • Scissor or Xacto knife
  • Photo paper
  • Software: Adobe Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, Illustrator or Gimp.
  • A printer

Follow These Steps

Step 1:

Go through your phone and see what photos you’d like to use (this may be the most challenging part for some of you) and paste them onto a template. You can find a variety of templates on Pinterest or make them yourself.

You can use Adobe Photoshop and have 36 polaroid magnets laid out on an 8.5″ x 11″ page. It doesn’t have to be Photoshop. It can be Photoshop Elements, Gimp, Illustrator, or any free photo editing program.

In Photoshop or Photoshop Elements:

  • Download THIS template.
  • Open the template file and the photos you want to use. You don’t have to make 36 different photos because you can make duplicates.
  • Drag and drop the images onto the template.
  • In the Layers section, move one image at a time into the clipping mask (in between the Mask and the numbered image).
  • Once your image is in the right spot, it will be masked behind the numbers on the page.
  • Next, delete the numbered images you placed there, and your image will appear masked.
  • Select your image in the Layers section and then select the Move tool. You can move and scale the image to fit inside the mask however you’d like.

In Gimp:

  • Download THIS template.
  • Open the template file and the photos you want to use.
  • Copy the photo
  • Click on the number on the template file, right-click and Paste (command-click for Mac users).
  • In the Layers section, right-click on the floating selection/scale image.
  • Move the photo over the number you were working on.

In Adobe Illustrator:

  • Download THIS template.
  • Open the Illustrator file and place your photos directly onto the file. Then you can arrange the photo over each of the black boxes.
  • Select all of the photos and go to Object/Arrange/Send to Back.
  • Using the Selection Tool, scale each image larger than the black boxes.
  • For each image, you need to create a clipping mask so you can mask off any part of the image that sticks out past the black box.
  • Select one image and the black box that is above it (you have to do this one at a time).
  • Go to Object/Clipping Mask/Make.
  • Repeat for the other images that need masking.
  • If the photo doesn’t need to be masked, you can delete the black box before printing.
  • Use the Direct Selection Tool and choose one photo to adjust the scale and alignment of each image to your liking.

Step 2:

Print out the photos onto photo paper. A popular photo paper you can use is HP Advanced Glossy Photo Paper, and you can buy a big box from Amazon. 

Step 3:

Now on to the adhesive spray. When using adhesive spray, it is best to go outside where you have more space to work with. Go outside and spray the back of your photo paper with spray adhesive, holding the can about six to eight inches away from the paper.

If you do it too close, you might end up with clumps. Wait about 30 seconds, and then place the photo paper onto the mat board, smoothing out any bumps with the palm of your hand.

Let the adhesive sit for a few minutes to cure before you begin trimming. You can spend this time washing the spray adhesive off your hands.

If you are pregnant, you need to do it outside or ask for help from someone because you don’t want to inhale the nasty stuff.

Step 4:

A few more steps until you are done! This step usually takes the longest amount of time since you are cutting out each photo using your straight edge, rule, or tool.

With your scissor or Xacto knife, you can cut the photos with the help of a self-healing mat. It helps to avoid slipping, and you don’t have to worry about cutting into a table or hardwood floor.

If you are doing this outside, you need to get a piece of cardboard to cut on, so you don’t dull your blade.

It is highly recommended to use a brand-new blade. If you don’t have much experience cutting on a mat board like this, take your time. Rarely does anyone make it through the mat board in just one stroke.

As your hands get tired, it takes more than one stroke. You might get tired and want to do it super fast. However, you might end up cutting through a photo. Believe me, it happens!

If you end up with some ragged edges or a little fraying, you can use a clean emery board to smooth the edges.

Step 5:

Take your business card-sized magnets and cut them down with your scissor. It’s better to make the magnet smaller than the photo.

You’ll get approximately six per magnet, depending on the size of your photos. Peel off the backing and stick one onto the back of each of your magnets.

Many craft stores sell adhesive magnet “tape” that comes in a regular tape dispenser. Don’t know if it’s less expensive than the business card magnets, but any one of these will work.

Step 6:

Stick it on your fridge and enjoy! Now you can make more and share them with friends and family.

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