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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Magnetic Paint - An Innovative Space Saver!

Running out of room in the bathroom? Here's an idea from Better Homes and Gardens:

"Paint the door with magnetic paint to create an attractive surface on which to hang towel hooks and metal disks. Install removable bins and towel bars to store extra towels, shampoo, and soap."

behind the door

Or need a unique presentation wall for your office? Apartment Therapy recommends a magnetic wall and column magnets:


How about a gallery wall for your kids' art projects?

So, how do you create a magnetic wall or door?
There are a couple of ways: you can buy magnetic powder to mix with primer/sealer. Or you can buy magnetic primer.

Magnetic additives and primers are magnetic because they contain tiny pieces of iron. This presents two issues: your surface will not be perfectly smooth and the gray color of the metal may be hard to cover. Here are three options with quotes from their websites:

1. Magically Magnetic On sale at $15 a quart
(regularly $22)

"This can contains enough dry, concentrated, magnetic additive (a one cup volume weighing two pounds) to mix with a quart of any high quality primer/sealer, stain blocker paint. Use either oil based or latex paint to mix with our additive and cover with any brand latex finish paint. Because the additive will increase the volume of the paint it is mixed with, you will want to use a mixing container that is larger than the volume of paint you are using.
Magnetic Paint, Full Quart Size
Our additive will not change the color of the white primer/sealer so it will cover very easily with any color finish paint. Top-coat with your color choice of a coat or two of any latex paint."

2. Rust-Oleum Latex Primer
32 fluid ounces $20.98 at Lowe's, covers 33 square feet

"Top coat with any latex paint or even Chalkboard paint.

Shake can in an electric shaker in the paint department, if that is not possible, stir paint for at least 10 minutes until the paint is a consistent dark gray color.

Apply 2-3 thin coats of primer and 2 coats of top coat for maximum attraction. Flat or strong magnets with minimal weight adhere best to treated surface."

3. MagnaMagic $19.99 per pint; $29.99 per quart; $89.99 per gallon

Activewall Magnetic Paint Gallon
"Not only do we have a universal additive to turn your paint into magnetic paint, we have our new line of Active Wall magnetic primers.

Our Active Wall primers are formulated to perform like regular, every day paint making your magnetic paint project simple and rewarding.

Our patented process uses very fine particles of iron to produce the smoothest finish possible. Extra care has been taken to color lighten the paint with state-of-the-art lightening agents. This means that your colors will easily cover our natural gray finish.

When you are finished with your project, your walls will become magnetically interactive.

For as little as $1 per square foot, you can have unlimited decorative options in the future."

Robert Raub, in the construction business for 25 years, makes some observations about using the dark gray latex primer:
  1. "The metal shavings in the paint will change the texture of the surface in which you are painting. So, if you have a smooth surface and want it to stay that way it won't. Sanding it will take away a lot of the metal shavings and the magnets won't work as well so you'll have to live with the variation of texture the metal shavings will create.
  2. Magnetic paint is fairly expensive! You will have to cover the surface you want to be magnetic at least 3 times! I painted only one wall that is close to 9' x 12' 5 times and it cost me about $125.
  3. The metal shavings colors the paint or primer a metalish gray. So, whatever you paint over it will be affected by the gray color. If you plan on painting a light color on that surface you should paint a few coats of the magnetic paint first, paint at least one coat of the good quality primer next, and then paint your color you really would like to see. The wall will still be magnetic but you'll get the color you like.
  4. Even with 5 coats of the magnetic paint, some of my magnets don't stick. If they are heavy or weak then they slide down to the base boards. Mighty magnets work super as well do the lighter in weight magnets."

So there you have it. When I added the cost of paint ($18.09 per quart/400 square ft. coverage) to option #1, it's a little less than $1 a square foot
. #2 is a little more if Robert Raub is correct. And #3 states its price is around $1 a square foot.

#2 seems to be a lot more work and less effective magnetically. So my vote would be #1 or #3. I didn't see additive on the website for #3, even though they claimed to have it.

Do you have experience with magnetic paint or primers? Let us hear from you! Subscribers click the title to go to the original blog to comment.

Related topics:
An Unusual, Time-Saving Painting-Prep Tool
Getting Organized for School - Organizing Your Child's Artwork and School Papers
Finding More Bathroom Storage without Expanding Your Bathroom