You may have heard about magnetic paint.
And despite what you may have seen in certain movies and television shows, it does not have the same effect as your refrigerator door.
But when applied with the right amount of care, you can create an interesting effect that will hold up light objects and make for a great area of conversation.
But before you run to the store, there are some things you need to know about magnetic paints and primers. Let’s check them out…
Magnetic Paints and Primer – Positives and Negatives
Magnetic paint and primer are no different than standard paints or primers with one exception.
They contain the dust of iron which gives them their magnetic qualities.
That is why you can stick a magnet to the paint thanks to the presence of the iron.
The biggest advantage to using magnetic paint and primer is that you add a new design element to your home.
The paint can be used to hold certain magnets in place, allowing you to create a bulletin board of sorts that the kids can use for their playtime.
It can also be used to create unique design choices for your home that involve magnetic attraction.
Another advantage is that by using magnetic paint, you can hang or display papers and other light objects on the wall without having to use nails, screws, or adhesives.
Simply put the paper against the wall, put a magnet on the top and let go.
The paper will stay secure to the wall depending on the amount of paint that was used.
The downside is that the iron dust makes the magnetic paint bumpy. If you are looking for a smooth surface, you will not get it when using this type of paint.
You can alleviate that to a certain degree by using a magnetic primer and then a single coat of standard paint on top.
But that will reduce the magnetic attraction and there will still be bumps on the surface.
One more issue is the thickness of the paint itself. You may have some difficulty if you have never used it before.
So be prepared to go through some brushes as the thickness of the paint is such that it can be difficult to apply.
It’s not impossible, but it does take a little practice.
So, you might want to choose a piece of scrap lumber, plywood, or similar surface and paint so that you get used to the thickness.
How Well Do They Work?
How strong or how well the magnetic primer paints will work will usually depend on how they are applied.
For example, if you use two or three coats of magnetic primer and then cover it with a single coat of standard paint, it should hold certain magnets with relative ease.
However, the more standard paint you put on top of the magnetic primer, the less the magnetic attraction will be.
Plus, despite the presence of iron dust, it does not have the same magnetic pull as a refrigerator door which tends to be solid metal.
For this reason, you should consider using disc magnets instead of refrigerator magnets as they tend to have a stronger attraction.
How to Apply Magnetic Paint?
Using magnetic paint and primer to make a DIY magnetic wall is straightforward.
You can apply them almost exactly like regular latex or enamel paints with a paintbrush or a roller.
In order to paint your wall with magnetic paint, here are the steps you will need to follow:
- Lay down the drop cloth to cover the floors under the wall you are painting
- Use painter’s tape to cover the surfaces you do not intend to put the paint on
- Using a paintbrush or a roller apply several coats of magnetic primer and paint to the wall
- Let the wall dry naturally for 2-3 days and then add your desired magnets to your freshly painted magnetic wall
5 Tips for Using Magnetic Paints and Primers Successfully
If you decide that magnetic paint and primer are right for your home, there are a few tips that will help you get the most out of your efforts.
Following these tips properly, while making a magnetic wall with paint, will also help you to make magnetic paint stronger.
1- Choose the Wall Carefully:
Before you decide whether magnetic paint or primer is right for you, look at the interior of your home to figure out where it should go.
The kids’ rooms are obvious choices, but you can also use the paint on a section of the wall in the kitchen, office, or garage to hang magnets with papers and other light items.
2- Select the Proper Magnets:
Remember that the magnetic paint or primer is just one-half of the effect. You’ll need to use the right magnets as well.
Ideally, they need to be strong enough to hold light objects such as papers, but not too strong to make them difficult to remove.
Since refrigerator magnets tend to not have enough attraction, disc magnets are a better choice.
3- Mix the Paint Well and Cover Everything:
Otherwise, the iron dust particles will settle into the bottom of the paint can.
To get an even distribution, you will need to mix the paint thoroughly.
Because of the iron particles, magnetic paint and primer are difficult to clean up. The paint can be thick and quite sticky.
Plus, it can spatter easily as well.
Because it can be so problematic to clean from areas that you do not want the paint to stick, be sure to cover everything with a drop cloth or masking to ensure that it can be removed.
4- Add More Primer:
When in doubt, add as much primer as possible.
It may seem strange that up to six coats of magnetic primer are recommended, but in order to get enough attraction, the thickness of the iron dust particles must be maximized.
5- Find Standard Paint that Looks Good Over Gray:
Most magnetic primers and paints that have iron dust particles are dark gray to black in color.
So, you will need to find a standard paint that fits in nicely.
After all, you may have to settle for just one coat of standard paint, so if the gray seeps through it should look natural.
This may take a little work, but most dark colors go well with dark gray.
Warning and Tips
If you have small children around the home, then you might want to pass on magnetic paint entirely as the magnets can be choking hazards.
This means that if you decide to use the paint, pick an area of the home outside of their bedrooms.
Plus, only use magnets where they cannot reach them. Just keep in mind that the magnets may fall off from time to time.
For people who doubt whether magnetic paint is dangerous for pregnant women and people with pacemakers, it’s glad to know that these are completely safe.
Since these paints are not actually magnets, they cause no harm to people, pets, or your electronics like TV or computers.
Can You Make Your Own DIY Magnetic Paint at Home?
Yes, DIY magnetic paint can be made at home but you will need to get the right additives that can help turn the ordinary primer paint (oil-based, latex, or chalkboard paint) into magnetic.
You will just need to add these dry powder-based additives into the paint container and stir it well for about thirty to forty seconds.
When preparing the magnetic paint make sure you do all the mixing in a large size container as additives when added and stirred will usually increase the volume of paint.
A gallon of magnetic paint made this way can cover an area of about 150 to 200 square feet when you put two coats.
IMO, you should use the entire freshly mixed magnetic paint on the surface. Do not store them for future use as they will not be much effective afterward.
The good thing about these homemade magnetic paints is they can be removed easily from the walls by using the right paint remover liquids and gels.
Depending on the type of paint you have mixed (whether oil-based enamel or water-based latex paint) these paint removers may differ, so it’s recommended that you talk to a paint expert at a store before buying them.
Note: You should never use detergents to wipe a surface that’s covered with magnetic chalkboard paint. It can damage the paint and even your wall.
The Bottom Line
Although there are different ways to make a magnetic wall (like with sheet metals), using magnetic paint for walls is one of the easiest ones.
Magnetic paints and primers offer a new look and attraction for your home, so to speak.
When you apply enough paint or primer with magnetic properties, it can be used as a bulletin board or activity center for your older children.
Just make sure you coat them with an additional thin layer of varnish (shiny or matt), especially if the surface is to be touched frequently by children.
Jack Luis is a semi-retired painter who loved painting his clients’ ideas on their walls.
He had worked as a painter for more than a decade to serve the customers in areas such as Charleston, Mount Pleasant, Beaufort, Georgetown, SC (South Carolina). Today in his free time, he likes to read and write about the newer techniques that are being implemented in his profession. You may read more about him here or get in touch with him here.
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