I have a confession to make.
Are you ready?
Lean in, really close.
Whispers: I like SWAG – you know, bookmarks, jar openers, pencils, pens, tea envelopes w/tea inside – stuff that authors give to readers at signings? I LOVE it. Like really, really a lot. Way more than I probably should.
Readers, understandably, also love it. I mean, who doesn’t love super cute, free stuff that reminds you of your favorite author?
The downside of SWAG is that it can get super expensive. Which is why I make most of mine myself. Today, I am making magnets.
Here’s what you need:
Round or square cabochons
Graphics the same size and shape as your cabochons
Paint brushes: one foam, one small regular brush
Hot glue (not shown)
Craft knife (not shown)
Magnets (You have a number of choices here. I ended up with self-adhesive, but you can buy the individual round magnets shown and use hot glue to attach them. If you use the self-adhesive kind, make sure the adhesive is strong enough to keep the magnet attached to the cabochon.)
Avery template that fits the size and shape of the cabochon you’re using (I used product #4220. You may need something different depending on the size of your cabochons.) You can use Word or some other program, but in my experience, Avery is easiest. Plus it’s free.
First, make your graphics. I used Corel’s Paint Shop Pro to make mine. It’s an easy, not-too-expensive program that works well with most image types and produces jpg files (among others) for use in creating a host of different marketing tools from covers to postcards. The nice thing here is that you can use your graphics for a number of purposes once they are created. Buttons, coasters, postcards, etc. One of the reasons I like PSP so much is that it allows for easy resizing. However, you can use whatever program works for you. Be sure that your text (if you are including any) is in a legible font and is large enough to read.
Note: It doesn’t have to be big enough to read at a distance. People are going to want to get close to these babies. Also, if you use a domed cabochon, it will enlarge your text somewhat. So…bonus.
If you don’t know how to make your own graphics, and since I don’t have a tutorial on that at the moment, check out Youtube. It has a ton of tutorials for various programs.
Ok, once you have your graphics, you are ready to start.
1) Go to Avery and select a template that suits the size and shape of your magnet. My cabochons are 1″ in diameter, so I chose a template #4220 for 1″ round labels.
Avery has a ton of prefabbed designs. So an alternative, if you don’t have your own graphic, is to edit one of their starter models.
Follow Avery’s instructions to create a page of adorable graphics. Now, print them out on a sheet of regular copy paper. (For this project you don’t want to use stickers.)
2) Use the foam brush to paint the graphics with modge podge. Then place a cabochon carefully on one of the graphics on the printed sheet. I recommend doing a few at a time so that the modge podge doesn’t dry out. Smoosh the cabochon around to eliminate air bubbles and ensure full adherence. Repeat until all the graphics have a cabochon attached. Let it dry for at least an hour.
3) Use a craft knife to trim away the excess paper from each cabochon. It works best to cut at a slight angle so that the paper edge is completely under the edge of the cabochon.
4) Paint the back of each magnet with black paint. Allow this to dry for at least an hour. Try to only paint the back of the cabochon. If you do get paint on the side, you can remove it with a damp cloth before it dries, or scrape it away after it dries. The paint really doesn’t adhere well to the glass, so you’re pretty safe either way.
5) Use either the self-adhesive or hot glue to adhere your magnets to the back of the cabochon. If you are using magnetic strips, you’ll need to cut the magnetic backing to fit your cabochon. I outlined mine with a pencil and then cut it slightly smaller than the cabochon.
And you are done.
This was a fun project that, while time-consuming, produced some nice results. I can’t wait to give these away at my next signing. What kind of SWAG is your favorite?