Poster hangers are cool, there’s no denying their simple Mid Century elegance. The main issue with DIY poster hangers is that they tend to rely on you sandwiching your print between the strips of wood and holding the whole by hammering in nails. But what if you don’t want to make holes in your print or artwork? Or if you want to be able to swap the print to update your decor? I’m sharing this DIY magnetic poster hanger because I had that same exact problem!
You might already know that I’m from the South Pacific and have a lot of traditional artwork in my house, like this tapa cloth in the poster hanger. Tapa cloth is to the Pacific what mud cloth is to Africa, geometrical designs hand-drawn on bark fiber. I have a giant one hanging over my sofa, you can see a bit of it in the first picture here.
Tapa are quite fragile and ideally they’re best protected by glass but that’s not my favorite way to display them. I think it detracts from the texture of the cloth so a poster hanger is a far better solution here!
Whether you want to display textured art or your favorite print, read on to learn how to make magnetic poster hanger in a few easy steps!
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For this DIY Magnetic Poster Hanger, you’ll need…
- Flat trim molding or thin strips of wood
- 8 strong magnets
- Forstner bits or spade bits (to drill large holes)
- Glue gun
- Cotton cord
- Gel stain
Step 1: Prepare the wood strips
To start, measure the width of your poster or artwork. Cut four lengths of wood trim molding the same length as your poster plus 1/4 to 1/2 inch (2.5cm).
I used a trim with slightly rounded edges, the kind you would use to add a trim around a door. But any piece of wood will do! If you wanted, you could always sand the edges with a sanding block.
Next, on all 4 wood pieces, draw a pencil line down the middle along the length of the strip. Then, measure 3 or 4″ (7 to 10cm) from each side and mark it out on the center line. This will give you a precise center point to drill holes for the magnets. It’s important that the magnets are well aligned so don’t skip this step!
Step 2: Drill the magnet holes
For this job, you will need to equip yourself with drill bits that will allow you to bore large holes. I’m using Forstner bits, which you can see in the picture above. You can also try spade bits. Like the name indicates they look like spades! Both of these will “shave” the wood to bore a nice large hole however I feel that Forstner bits do a slightly better job at creating neat holes. If you’re in a pinch, spade bits will do and they tend to be cheaper.
Select a drill bit that has a slightly larger diameter than your magnets.
Now, insert the sharp center point of the drill bit exactly on the mark you created in the previous step. Hold your drill straight above and start drilling slowly. Make sure to lift your drill bit regularly to see how far you’ve drilled. It’s a thin piece of wood and it would be easy to drill through!
What you want is a hole just deep enough to house your magnet. Keep a magnet near you as you’re drilling so that you can check if it fits in. Hoover the wood shavings or brush them away before you insert the magnet to make sure nothing is blocking the hole.
Step 3: Glue the magnets and cord
When you’ve drilled and cleaned up all 8 holes, heat up your glue gun. Drop a good amount of glue into a hole. Blow on it a little to cool it down, then press in your magnet before the glue solidifies. Repeat this for the 7 remaining magnets.
Next, cut a piece of cotton yarn to make up the hanging cord. I cut mine at 18″ (45 cm) but the length is really a matter of taste. Try it out, anything between 15 and 20″ (40 to 50cm) will work well.
Glue the ends of the cord onto a wood strip, around 1″ (2.5cm) away from the edges.
Step 4: Stain and protect your DIY poster hanger
Now that your DIY magnetic poster hanger has been assembled, it’s technically ready! You can choose to leave it as is if light wood fits your interior. If you prefer darker wood, brush a coat or two of chestnut gel stain on the front of the wood strips.
Once the front is dry, don’t forget to stain the back. It’s not absolutely necessary but your finished poster hanger will look much better if you do!
That’s all, when your wood strips are dry, your art is ready to be hung between the magnets, safe and sound, without nails poking it. Let’s take a moment to appreciate how cool Earth’s magnetic field is.