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DIY: Easy-to-make Instagram magnets

Photojojo shows you how to get your phone photos off the screen and into your home with these easy, DIY Instagram magnets.

Lisbeth Ortega Special to CNET
Lisbeth Ortega is head editor at photography newsletter and shop Photojojo. She hatches, collects, and shares all the best original DIY photo projects and gee-I-didn't-know-that photo tips to help keep your creativity on its toes.
Lisbeth Ortega
4 min read
Lisbeth Ortega/Photojojo

Editors' note: This guest post is the second in a five-week series of Photojojo's best photography tips. Check back next Tuesday for the latest guide to making the most of your shutter.

You're addicted to shooting photos with your favorite mobile companion, but there's just one problem: your photos seem to be stuck in your phone.

There are plenty of quality Instagram printing services, like PostalPix (check out our collab with them on this Instagram album), Printstagram and Stickygram, to name a few.

These services are great for printing Instagrams in a pinch, but it's actually surprisingly easy to make your own at home. And this ain't your mama's project, either -- this DIY will give you glazed, resilient magnets ready for a decades of use. Make an afternoon of it or, like a true photo geek, even a Friday night.

With this guide, you'll be on your way to making a colorful photo gallery that can live on your fridge or that blank canvas some call a filing cabinet.

Lisbeth Ortega/Photojojo

Here's what you'll need:

  • your Instagrams (more on that later)
  • a photo editor, like Photoshop or GIMP
  • a printer
  • photo paper
  • a mat board or illustration board (available at craft stores)
  • Mod-Podge Dimensional Magic Glaze
  • magnetic tape
  • an X-acto knife or scissors
  • a ruler
  • a pencil
  • a pin
  • plastic cups (one for each magnet, optional)

DIY Instagram magnets

See all photos

Step 1: Download your Instagrams
If you have your settings set to save your Instagrams to your phone every time you upload one, then you can browse your camera roll for your saved 'grams.

Otherwise, if you're using an iPhone, you can download your photos from Instagram itself by tapping on your photo and holding until "Save Image" pops up.

If you're going for a batch of photos, you can download your entire collection using a service like Instarchive.

Step 2: Print your photos
Size your photos to 2x2 inches at 300dpi in a photo editor like Photoshop or the free and open-source GIMP.

Then, tile those 2x2-inch photos into an 8x10-inch canvas, so they all print out on a single sheet, which can even be done in a word processor like Word or Google Docs, if you choose. This should make for 20 photos to a sheet.

Finally, place your photo paper in your printer, and print.

Tip: Save the file of photos, so you can print another one in case you need to later.

Step 3: Cut them out
For the straightest edges, an X-acto knife works best. Set a ruler along your cut line, and run your X-acto along it to cut out your photos. (You can also use scissors, if you like.)

Lisbeth Ortega/Photojojo

Tip: For a shortcut version of this project, skip to Step 7. Simply turn your photo paper version into a magnet.

Step 4: Cut your mat board, then glue
To fortify the back of your Instagrams, you'll be cutting out squares from the mat or illustration board you picked up at the art shop.

Use a pencil to draw a grid of 2x2-inch squares. Now cut out the squares the same way you did your Instagrams.

Glue your Instagrams to each mat square with regular glue or a dab of Mod-Podge glaze, then let it dry.

Step 5: Glaze with Magic
What's this Magic Glaze, you say?

The Mod Podge Dimensional Magic Glaze creates a thick, shiny coat atop your photo, so it looks like a real-deal magnet like you've seen in the store.

It works by simply squeezing the glaze directly onto your photo, coating it as you squeeze. No need to brush or touch it. Just let it smoothly goop on top.

Lisbeth Ortega/Photojojo

Tip: Try squeezing it around the edges of your photo and working your way to the center.

Step 6: Dry
Before it dries, grab your pin and pop any air bubbles. Wipe your pin between pops, so it doesn't build up.

Now let it dry. This'll take about 24 hours.

Lisbeth Ortega/Photojojo

Tip: If you're worried about dust falling and drying on your magnet, place a plastic cup over it to keep it safe.

Step 7: Add magnetic strips and admire your work
Cut small strips of magnetic tape and adhere them to the back of your magnets.

Lisbeth Ortega/Photojojo

Now you're ready to turn your fridge into an Instagram art gallery. This might just merit some wine and cheese.

For more phone-ography tips, check out Photojojo University. Whether it's DIY tutorials or can't-find-it-anywhere-else photo goodies at the Photojojo Store, Photojojo's on a mission to inspire and share the good word about the greatest photo stuff in the world.