Designing alphabet magnets

designing alphabet magnets

I have a certain nostalgia for those old letter magnets from the 70s. They say that people who grew up with them experience synesthesia and will often associate the color red with the letter A for example. They actually don't make those magnets anymore so I thought I would make my own version of them. 

Painting the wood

I wanted to stick with the original colors of the letters since they are so ingrained in my brain. I used my Speedball screen printing inks and got pretty close for the red, blue, and yellow but I had to mix the inks to get the orange, green, and purple colors I wanted. For tips on painting wood, check out my blog post on painting wood with water-based stain which is very similar to painting wood with water-based inks. 

painting wood with water-based inks

Cutting the letters

For the letters, I purchased a couple of fonts to get a similar look to the original letters. I also rounded the corners of all the letters and did some other minor tweaking to them in Illustrator. I then trucked down to my laser cutter and cut all of the letters out of the various colors of wood.

cutting alphabet magnets

Cutting the letter backs

Next, I needed to cut out the backs of the letters with a hole for the magnet. I used some thin bamboo for the backs because of the sturdiness of the wood and it looks great without any additional finishing. I painted one side of the bamboo with a dark stain so it would blend better when glued together. I also accounted for the kerf when cutting so the magnets would fit snugly into their holes.

cutting alphabet magnets backs

Gluing it all together

The final step is to glue everything together. I've tried a bunch of different glues and found that super glue works great. It dries really fast and is great for small wood pieces. I use rare earth magnets because I like how strong they are. They really hold up a lot on the fridge!

gluing alphabet magnets

alphabet magnets backside

 The Finished product

Once everything was glued together, I just needed to photograph the final result. I like taking photos with proper lighting so all the details of the product show up. I will blog about my lighting setup soon. If you're interested in these magnets, they're available for sale in the Redshine store.  

Redshine alphabet magnets