DIY Metal Tray Magnet Board with Button Magnets

Reader Contribution by Courtney Denning
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Easy to make and more decorative than a plain cork board, these metal tray magnet boards are the perfect place to display photos and notes. Button magnets make a cute and thrifty addition to this simple DIY project. I first got the idea for this project when shopping in a “shabby chic” home decor store in Columbus, Ohio. If I remember correctly, the metal tray was $15 to $20 and the decorative button magnets were $5 to $10 for a small bag. I knew I could make this myself for cheaper!

I ended up making two trays and twenty button magnets. I already had one tray in my possession, a Christmas tray with an image from The Saturday Evening Post with Santa Claus on it. My Grandma had given it to me years ago when she was clearing out some of her Christmas decorations. I liked the image of Santa reading children’s letters to him, though I had no idea at the time how I would use this decorative item. The other tray, a rectangular forest green “breakfast-in-bed” style metal tray decorated with fall leaves, was purchased at a local thrift shop for about $3.

The buttons I already had. I’ve collected buttons of all shapes and sizes for years. I cannot resist large or oddly shaped buttons — even if I don’t have a clear project in mind, a cool button always gets added to my stash! The other items I needed for this project were purchased at a craft store, two 10-packs of magnets for $4 and two metal picture hangers for $2.50. Hot glue and my hot glue gun were already on hand from other craft projects.

I estimated that the entire cost of my project, two magnet boards and twenty buttons cost me about $10, about half to a third of what it would have cost in the store.

How to Make a DIY Magnet Board

To make your own metal tray magnet board and button magnets you will need:

• 1 metal tray (if purchasing, make sure to take a small magnet with you to the shop to make sure the tray is magnetic!)
• 1 metal picture hanger
• Buttons (any size)
• Magnets (size should match that of your buttons)
• Hot glue gun
• Hot glue sticks

1. Gather your materials — lets DIY!

2. To make your metal tray into a wall hanging, measure and mark the center of the tray (on the back). This is where you will use hot glue to adhere the metal picture hanger to the back of the tray.

3. Making the button magnets is just as easy. Just use hot glue to glue a magnet to the back of each button. So simple!

I display the green tray I bought at the thrift store year-round as is. The red leaves make me think of fall, but the green color prevents it from looking like seasonal fall decor. Plus the photos and postcards I display with the button magnets cover up a lot of the leaves anyway.

The Christmas tray, however, definitely has a seasonal look to it. In order to use the tray year-round, I cover Santa. I cut a circle the same size as the flat portion of the tray out of some lightweight decorative paper (it was actually paper from a shopping bag – another great no-cost craft item!). I use my magnetic buttons to hold the decorative paper in place eleven months of the year. After Thanksgiving I remove the paper and use the tray to display holiday cards.

With Christmas fast approaching, this DIY metal tray magnet board could make the perfect homemade gift for someone special.

Have a healthy and happy holiday!

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