How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

Do you remember those old eBay commercials that said “It’s better when you win it!”?  Well, I think {most} everything’s better when you MAKE it, especially gifts!  And bonus points if you can save a boatload of money by doing it yourself!

That’s just what I did recently when I made my mom a set of photo magnets using pictures of my son and all his adorableness.  If I bought these magnets I would have spent nearly FOUR DOLLARS A PIECE.  Yowzaaaa!  However, since I’m a DIYer, I ended up only spending 14 CENTS on each magnet….talk about a money-saver!  Plus it was a great way to use all those Instagram photos I’ve been acquiring.

Here I’ll show you how to make photo magnets: An easy & inexpensive DIY project!

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

[Full Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links.  I truly appreciate any and all support!]

 

Supplies Used to Make Photo Magnets

 

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

Get Photos

I made this set of magnets for my mom as a Christmas gift, so the photos I used are of my 18-month-old son throughout his short life.  A lot of them were also used in the ‘Year of Firsts’ photo keepsake I made when he turned one….his cuteness is almost too much to handle!

They range from his first shot as a newborn through all the milestones, holidays, and occasions, including his first birthday and first trip to Maine, as well as him rocking his DIY Game of Thrones shirt I made him!

Most of the photos are from my Instagram account, so they were already cropped into perfect squares (wahoo!).  A few that I used, however, were not shared on Instagram so I needed to crop them before printing.

Where The Smiles Have Been on Instagram

 

Crop Photos into Squares (if Non-Instagram Photos)

There are various ways to crop photos, including Photoshop, online tools like Pic Monkey or Canva, or a plethora of apps on phones, iPads, or Macs (and other Windows-based programs too).  Since I’ll be cutting my photos and magnets out with my Silhouette Cameo, I went ahead and cropped them in Silhouette Studio just to save a step.

Like I mentioned, I’m using my Silhouette Cameo to cut the photos and magnet sheets to size, but you certainly don’t need a Silhouette to do this project (although I highly recommend it!).  You could just as easily use a ruler along with a pair of scissors or Xacto knife, or even a paper trimmer (albeit a pretty heavy duty one I would think).

 

How to Crop in Silhouette Studio

[NOTE: If you won’t be using a Silhouette Cameo, or if you’re already a pro at cropping, just skip on down further into the tutorial!]

So cropping in Silhouette Studio isn’t the most straight-forward of functions like it is in other programs.  Normally, you just use your crop tool and drag your shape over your image until you get your desired size and shape then *boom*!  Your image is cropped.  Not so easy here….cropping isn’t a tool but rather a function in Silhouette Studio.

Open Your Image: What you’ll need to do is first open up your image(s) like normal.

Draw a Square & Position/Resize: Once your photos are opened, use your Rectangle tool and draw a square (TIP: hold down the Shift key while dragging to get a perfect square).  Once you have a square, move it over top your photo until you have it placed where you want your photo to be trimmed down.  You can resize the square if necessary too.

Select Image AND Square then Crop: Once you have the square in position, select BOTH your square and photo and then go to Object –> Modify –> Crop.  You should then see everything outside of the square’s area disappear, leaving you with a beautifully cropped photo!

Check out this animation for a visual:

How to Crop in Silhouette Studio

 

Print Photos

To speed things up, I went ahead and opened up all my photos in one file since they were going to be printed together anyway.  I at first had over 60 photos selected (yes….60!) but then I realized that would be waaaaay too many photos for one fridge, so I edited my collection down to 20 since I would be able to get 20 2″ x 2″ magnets from one adhesive magnet sheet.  It was hard to narrow down the cuteness to only 20, but somehow I managed to do it.

Now that all of my photos were cropped, it was time to size and position them to get ready for printing.  To make sure they were all exactly 2″ x 2″, I just selected all of them at once, went to my Scale window, then changed the width and height dimensions to 2″.  Then they all were adjusted like magic!

I’ll be utilizing my Silhouette Cameo‘s print & cut function, so I could only fit 12 photos on an 8.5″ x 11″ sheet of photo paper thanks to the boundaries of the registration marks.  The remaining eight photos would be printed on a separate sheet….no biggie.  I just moved them off to the side for the time being.

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

If you’re not using a Silhouette, you might be able to print more photos, maybe even all of them, out on one sheet of photo paper since you won’t be needing room for registration marks..  You could also have the photos printed at a store in various sizes, but I’m sure that would be much more expensive.  Plus, I like the complete DIY factor of printing them myself at home!

I used my inkjet printer and the same soft gloss photo paper that worked wonderfully for my red-nosed reindeer photo ornament Christmas cards.

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

 

Cut Photo Squares Out

To cut out my photos, I went to my Cut Style menu and selected only the twelve photos that were on the page to ‘Cut’.  The other remaining eight photos that were set off to the side were changed to ‘No Cut’….I’d be taking care of them later.

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

Thanks to my recent experience with cutting out photo paper for our Christmas cards, I already knew the cut settings I would need….wahoo!  Do a test cut first, though, just to double-check that these settings will work with your photo paper.

Silhouette Glossy Photo Paper Cut Settings: I used the default Printer Paper settings, but increased the blade to 3.

  • Speed: 10
  • Thickness: 15
  • Blade: 3
  • Cutting Mat: Checked

Photo Paper Cut Settings for Silhouette

I then loaded my printed page onto my cutting mat and had my Silhouette automatically detect the registration marks.  Once that was complete, I instructed it to cut….and the settings worked perfectly!

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

Now that my first set of photos were cut, I repeated the steps for the final eight pics (not shown here).  Once all 20 were printed and cut out, it was on to the magnets!

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

 

Cut Magnet Squares Out

I bought a pack of Silhouette Adhesive Magnet Paper that comes with four 8.5″ x 11″ sheets.  One side of each sheet has adhesive, so after it’s cut to size, you just peel off the backing and it turns anything into a magnet.  So simple!

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

To make the squares for the magnets in Silhouette Studio, I once again used my Rectangle tool and drew a square (again, by holding down the Shift key while dragging), and then adjusted the dimensions to a perfect 2″ x 2″ size using my Scale window.  Then I duplicated it until I had 20 squares and aligned them on my page.

Since I wouldn’t need to worry about any registrations marks while cutting the magnet sheet, I was able to fit all 20 2″ x 2″ squares on one sheet in Silhouette Studio….wahoo!

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

I then loaded up my sheet onto my cutting mat and used the default Adhesive Magnet Paper cut settings to cut the squares out.

Adhesive Magnet Paper Cut Settings:

  • Speed: 1
  • Thickness: 33
  • Blade: 6
  • Double Cut: Checked
  • Cutting Mat: Checked

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

Just like when cutting a cereal box, the double cut and low speed take several minutes to complete.  No biggie, though.  The magnets were cut perfectly!  When I pulled off the excess, the backing came with it (mostly)….

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

….however, I made a second set of these photo magnets for my grandmother the next day, and this time my Silhouette did not cut all the way through the backing.  I’m not sure which is correct, but both ways worked just fine for me!  Just a friendly FYI, so you may want to do a test cut first if you have a preference.

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

 

Apply Photos to Magnets

Now that my photos and magnets were cut, it was assembly time…which took no time at all.

All I did was grab a magnet square, peel off its backing, grab a photo and line up the edges, then press.  *BOOM!*  Instant DIY photo magnet!

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

 

Slap Magnets on Your Fridge and Enjoy!

And that’s it!  Now the photos are ready to be displayed on a fridge, dishwasher, or even a dry-erase board or filing cabinet at the office.

I can’t even tell you how easy this project is….this makes such a great gift idea too!  My mom and grandmother absolutely loved opening these up on Christmas morning, and now they are proudly displayed in both their kitchens.

I’m really impressed by the quality of these magnet sheets too.  The adhesive creates a very strong bond with the photo (there’ll be no peeling up here!), and they can hold quite a bit of paper….definitely not like those cheap advertisement magnets that sometimes come in the mail!

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

No, the front of our fridge is not normally this bare. ;)

 

 

Cost Breakdown

Making these photo magnets yourself instead of purchasing them is a huge money saver!!  Just do a quick Google search for photo magnets….you’ll probably see that some stores are selling 2″ x 2″ magnets just like these for FOUR DOLLARS EACH or MORE!!  That’s insane!

Here’s how my costs break down.  Of course there’s tax involved and also my REDcard/Cartwheel discounts at Target for the photo paper (I love you, Bullseye!), so give or take some change here.  Sorry, but I’m not going to get that precise, so please, math whizzes, don’t send me any hate mail! {wink}

  • Magnet Sheet: Pack of four sheets cost $7.12, so one sheet came out to $1.78.
  • Printed Photos: Pack of 30 sheets of photo paper cost $6.49, so two sheets came out to .43¢.  Add on a little for the ink, so let’s round it up to an even $1.00 (but it may not even be that much!).
  • TOTAL: $2.78 for 20 photo magnets, which equals 14 CENTS PER MAGNET!  Yeah, I know it’s a ballpark figure, but it’s still soooo much cheaper than buying them!

How to Make Photo Magnets: An Easy & Inexpensive DIY!

 

Other Ideas

This is of course only one idea for creating your own magnets.  I chose to cut out perfect squares since I was using a lot of Instagram photos, but you can get as fancy as you want!  Other ideas include:

  • Squares or rectangles with rounded corners
  • Circles or ovals
  • Photo strips
  • Photos with Polaroid or other types of frames
  • Letters, numbers, words, or other custom shapes
  • Save the Date cards
  • Birth announcements
  • Quotes instead of photos

I love these magnets so much, I’m going to make a set for our fridge too!

 

Thanks so much for stopping by!  If you enjoyed what you saw here today, please share the love and pin it!  And I’d love for us to stay connected!

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Where The Smiles Have Been

 

About Christine

I'm Christine, a SAHM to a spunky toddler and his mini-me infant brother, and married to the best guy you'll ever meet. I (try to) spend their nap times getting my craft on and I blog about my creations and adventures in parenting at Where The Smiles Have Been. My loves are all things DIY, especially Silhouette projects, wreaths, & personalized decor. And ice cream....definitely love me some ice cream.

Comments

  1. Are the photos on the magnets eventually clear-covered somehow so they are not soiled?

  2. Chirag Jain says:

    Hi Christine,
    I am from India and want the magnetic you described please let me know how can I get that in India.

  3. KatharineS says:

    What if you peeled the magnets and stuck them to the printed photos before you cut any of them? Couldn’t you then cut them in one go in the Silhouette rather than doing two lots and lining each individually cut square magnet and picture?

    • You might be able to (I have no experience with this machine so can’t say for sure) but you’d end up wasting a good bit of the magnet sheets. She had to do the pics on two separate pieces of paper, but was able to do all the magnet squares in one go.

  4. Such a great idea and I love your step by step instructions can’t wait to make these

  5. thanks

  6. Nice tutorial, but not every one owns a photo printer and silouhtte cameo. So I wonder it might be useful if you make lots and lots of magnets.

    • Yes Karthika, I understand not everyone has a Silhouette. That’s why I stated above you could also easily cut the photos and magnet sheets with scissors or an Xacto knife. And if you don’t have a printer you can also get the pictures cheaply printed at an office supply store like Staples. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Where do you get your magnet sheets? Four sheets at $7.12 is a really good price.

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