Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Design Your Own

I was picking up some photo paper at Office Depot today when I spotted this printable magnet paper for inkjet printers. This is the kind of product that for years I wished someone would invent, as I love creative magnets and have a nice if limited collection of my own on our fridge. So I bought a pack of 5 sheets and brought it home to test it out.

I will say up front that cost-wise, the magnet sheets aren't cheap. Office Depot charged me $16.49 for a pack of five sheets, which works out to about $3.30 per sheet. Not a product I'd buy for a huge quantity of magnets; you're probably better off going through a printer for those. But for small batches I thought this product would be ideal. Fridge magnets are usually no larger than a business card, so you could expect to fit six to eight images per sheet, bringing the cost per magnet down to about fifty cents each.

Like most standard printer paper, the sheets are 8-1/2" X 11" in size, and about the same thickness as a heavy cardstock. One side is white semi-glossy (like photo paper) and the other is the black magnetized material. The entire sheet feels like plastic, not paper.

There were no particularly special instructions involved in printing; I just popped it in our old inkjet, although the manufacturer does clearly warn not to use it with any other type of printer but inkjet as it may damage the printer. In my photoshop program I put together a random set of my favorite photos in different sizes along with my cover art for Nightshine and sent them to the printer. The sheet came out with beautiful, crisp images that were much better than I expected (note: the instructions do say to wait until the sheet dries before you try to cut it.)

First I put the entire sheet on the fridge to see if it would stick, and no problem there. After a few minutes the sheet dried (I left it on the fridge to dry) I trimmed it using my paper guillotine. One nice side benefit; the magnetized sheet stuck to the metal edge of my trimmer and didn't move or shift while I was cutting it down. I also tested cutting the sheet with regular scissors as well as a rotary cutter; both worked fine and cut through the sheet easily. The individual magnets also stuck nicely to the fridge, and looked like something I might have bought at a store.

As to what you can do with magnets you can design and size yourself, the sky is the limit. Authors, here's a painless way to make promo cover magnets, release schedule magnets, and web site or blog URL magnets to hand out at cons and booksignings (and I find this product far superior to those sticky-backed business-size magnets intended for business cards that everyone has been using for years.)

This product is also ideal for things like fun family photos, inspirational quotes, a list of emergency phone numbers, addresses, contacts or basically anything you want to display on your fridge or other metal surface. Proud moms can take the best of their kid artwork, scan it and make a magnet version that will last a lot longer. The gift and craft possibilities are endless, too. Writers, if you're kicking around title ideas and not getting anyway, you could print out a list of keywords, cut them up and make fridge word clouds with them.

Poets, I don't have to tell you what this product means for us. Finally we can design our very own custom sets of magnetic poetry! I've already begun compiling mine.

Btw, you don't have to have a commercial-grade or expensive printer to use this product. The printer I used for mine is about six years old; a Lexmark all-in-one, and while it's been a nice, reliable printer for us it's really nothing special. The end results were much better than I expected. I'd just make sure you clean and align your printer if you haven't done that in a while, and print out a test page on plain paper first to make sure you've got everything the way you want it on the magnets to save wasting a sheet of the much more expensive magnet paper.


  1. Fran Kane1:29 PM

    These look fab! I especially love the rose. Its very tempting to give it a go but I need to find someone with a printer. Thanks for showing the way.

  2. I was thinking of my youngest. He LOVES fridge magnets, and we're working on developing sentences. Awesome!!!

  3. This is awesome. I'm definitely going to try this. Thanks for the heads up as always. :)