How To Make A Magnetic Puzzle
Bring Puzzles Off The Floor And Onto The Wall
With four little children who love puzzles, floor space can be at a premium. Stepping over four feet long floor puzzles featuring colorful dinosaurs or safari animals, crawling around searching for missing pieces, or asking the kids to take apart and put away their latest accomplishments are all less than ideal realities.
When a friend mentioned magnetizing the puzzles for use on a magnetic wall, I jumped at the idea. Surprisingly easy, magnetizing puzzles is insanely practical- especially for busy households. All of the pieces stay neatly on the wall, the completed puzzles can be quite beautiful, and they can be slid around fairly easily. Even better, the kids remain occupied in a constructive way, with no mess!
Things You Will Need
The supply list is very short.
adhesive magnetic sheets
sharp craft knife or blade
pencil or marker
Which Puzzles To Make Magnetic?
There are many different types of puzzles, but in this hub we will limit ourselves to creating a magnetic floor puzzle and a magnetic wooden puzzle. Because kids love magnets, these two types of puzzles are excellent choices. They are thick, and offer larger pieces. Whatever you choose needs to be durable enough to withstand repeated play.
Other good candidates are wooden peg puzzles or shape sorters- especially number and alphabet ones. The down side of using peg puzzles of this nature is that the shape sorting functionality is lost on the wall. However, it is a terrific way to make your puzzles multi-task: Use them as puzzles for little ones, use the pieces as magnetic toys as the child develops, and use them for pretend play or to teach counting and spelling by adding chalkboard functionality to your magnetic wall for older children.
Fast and Easy!
Magnetic Floor Puzzles: Cut, Peel, Stick, Trim!
Floor puzzles are very simple to make magnetic. Simply cut your adhesive magnetic sheets into strips about the length of the puzzle pieces, peel, and stick. Use your craft knife to trim any excess magnetic sheeting that overhangs the puzzle piece. Fast and easy.
You can also cut squares or circles, if you would rather disperse the magnetic sheeting on each corner of the individual puzzle pieces. I chose to use a single strip to make it less interesting to my youngest, who is at the age to find peeling stickers and such quite necessary.
The Magnetic Floor Puzzle In Action
As you can see from the above image, magnetic puzzles are real space savers. Even though the kids occasionally drop a piece or two, the floor area is clean, and safe for walking. The children are happily playing, and when they are finished, they can enjoy a lasting sense of accomplishment, instead of having to destroy their creation. (At least until they take it apart to rebuild it!)
Magnetic Puzzles As Posters
Wooden Magnetic Puzzles
Making Wooden Puzzles Magnetic
Wooden puzzles are great toys in their own right, but magnetize them, and watch the attraction grow! Because wooden puzzle pieces are thick, they adhere best to magnetic walls if they have a complete magnetic backing.
Making wooden puzzles magnetic takes a bit more time. First, trace each puzzle piece, keeping them in order to make best use of the magnetic sheet. Cut out the shapes and peel and stick. Because tracings tend to be a hair larger than the actual pieces, you will need to trim each piece.
Holding the craft knife at an angle, slide the blade around the puzzle piece, removing the soft magnetic backing which overlaps the edge.
Trimming A Magnetic Puzzle Piece
Check each piece for any rough edges by fitting the puzzle pieces together twice. For example, placing the first piece on the wall, attach the second piece. Then, place just the second piece on the wall, and attach the first piece. This will reveal any areas which need to be trimmed further.
If the pieces are properly trimmed, you should see a thin line of wood showing from the back, as below.
Slightly Beveled Edges
Completed Wooden Magnetic Puzzle
A Few Words On Magnetic Walls
Magnetic walls are very easy to make- and they can be created in any color. The wall you see here has been treated with two top coats of chalkboard paint as well. A bit of a misnomer, "magnetic walls" are not actually magnetic. The magnetic paint in fact contains a high concentration of fine metal particles, to which magnets are attracted.
So essentially, you are creating a metal wall, not a magnetic wall. Because of this, you are able to paint over the magnetic primer with any color you choose. You could even match your existing wall color.
There are many uses for magnetic walls. They can be bulletin boards, galleries, kids' play areas, and more. You could create your own magnetic photo gallery, make your own magnets from trip mementos, or display your children's artwork. Cover adhesive magnetic sheets with felt shapes for story telling, and create habitats for fun kids' magnets.
Making magnetic puzzles is easy and fun, and the results provide hours of enjoyment without the inconvenience and mess often associated with lost puzzle pieces or puzzles being manipulated in the middle of the floor.