DIY Photo Magnets

piano recital favors
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Every spring, I hold a piano recital for the students I teach. It’s a pretty big deal: the one time of the year where family and friends are all invited to a church to hear these kids play songs they’ve worked on, on a grand piano.

I like to commemorate the occasion by giving the kids each some type of piano recital favor. In years past, I’ve given them framed photos of themselves holding up the music they’re playing, and I’ve also given roses. This year, I wanted something a little different.

DIY Photo Magnets

I liked the idea of photo magnets, but they were pretty pricey. When you need to make several, costs add up quickly. Last Christmas, my oldest daughter made some photo magnets for gifts, and they turned out great. I decided to copy her method.

DIY Photo Magnets

First, I took a photo of each of the students playing a piece. I edited these in PicMonkey, making collages where I put 4 photos in each collage. Then, I printed the collages as 4 x 6 prints. This way, each individual photo ended up 2″ x just a tad under 3″.

Next, I glued the photos onto Illustration Board. Illustration board is like an extra-sturdy cardstock. We purchased a large piece at Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon (it’s expensive, but since these are small you could make a lot with it), or you could order it at Amazon or someplace like that. I cut the board slightly larger than the photos, and glued each photo onto a piece of illustration board.

Note that it’s kind of hard to cut the illustration board. I just used regular scissors, but made small cuts. I used a small paper cutter for some of them too.

DIY photo magnets

Glue a piece of magnet onto the back of the photo. I just used free promotional magnets I had around the house, but I’m sure you can buy lightweight magnets lots of places.

Mod Podge Dimensional Magic

Now, at this point you could be done. Or, if you’d like to add another step, you can buy a bottle of Mod Podge Dimensional Magic (online, at Amazon, etc, or at Michael’s/Hobby Lobby with a 40% off coupon). This adds a shine/glossy coat.

Mod Podge DimensionalThe downsides are that it’s kind of expensive, and it’s a little tricky to get a really smooth finish (this stuff likes to get air bubbles). Additionally, I noticed that it caused a bit of running on some of the magnets. If you look at the photo below, at the girl with the red dress, see that the back of the girl’s dress has turned “pink” slightly.

Honestly, if I were doing it again, I probably wouldn’t even use this, unless the magnet is going to be used someplace where it might be splashed with water. In the photo at the top of the post, the one on the left has the Mod Podge, while the one on the right doesn’t. You can see that there’s not a lot of difference.

Mod Podge Dimensional

Have you ever made your own photo magnets? Any tips to share?

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5 thoughts on “DIY Photo Magnets

  1. Those are such novel recital gifts. You are super clever!

  2. I’m sitting here wondering if any other piano teachers would take the time to make this kind of gift for each of their piano students. Kudos to you, Susan. I’m sure the kids will love them.

  3. Lovely gift especially since it was made by their clever, industrious piano teacher. I am sure they will treasure it for years to come. No, I’ve never made a magnet but have gotten several as gifts.

  4. What a neat idea! I wonder if laminating them would have the same effect as making them spatter-proof and not cause any other issues. My son gave me a sticker-maker that also laminates – I’ve used it for gluing items into cards but haven’t tried the laminating feature yet. This doesn’t get hot like the regular laminator I have.

  5. This is the best idea yet! Also the teacher gifts to piano students have always been notable every year. I agree with Peg about your innovative skills. That is why you are such a good teacher!

Thanks for taking the time to comment. I enjoy hearing your thoughts.