How to Make Non-Obnoxious Alphabet Magnets

home, ruin it yourself

Okay, okay.  Non-obnoxious isn’t a word.  But neither is unobnoxious.  Not really, anyway.

I’ve come to embrace this part of my life where I have a baby and a toddler.  I can’t carry a nice handbag because sippy cups leak and goldfish crackers leave goldfish cracker dust on everything that enters my bag.  I can no longer wear clothing that cannot withstand the heavy duty wash cycle.  Also, I’ve embraced that…

There will be toys.

A multitude of them.  Everywhere.  All over the house.

However, for the sake of my sanity, I try to make it look like we all share the space together – adults and tiny ankle biters – as opposed to Jack and me just unrolling sleeping bags in the middle of a Toys R Us.  This is especially challenging as we do not have a play room.  (More on this in the future.)

Enter alphabet magnets.

Hard plastic.  Bright, loud, primary colors.  Serif font with weird pointy edges.  (Is that a T?  No, honey, it looks like a T, but it’s an I because it has a hat AND feet.)  And it’s as if they all procreate because they’re all over the dishwasher and the fridge and the front door.

And the floor.  And if you’ve ever stepped on one…. well,  you know.  YOU KNOW.

Just kidding.  I don’t really use that language.  I mean, the words that are represented by the letters.  But the letters are… I don’t use them… wait – never mind.

But Rembot loves alphabet magnets.  And I’m sure one day, her sister will, too.  But those magnets mock me.  The bright yellow and neon green mock me in the midst of my latte/white/muted blue/tasteful red living room and kitchen.

A win-win situation:  non-obnoxious alphabet magnets.  Here’s how to make them.

I picked up some flat wooden disks, magnet strips (these work really well, too), and rub-on letters.  You’ll also need spray paint and some sandpaper.  And swipe one of your kids’ juice boxes from the fridge.  You’ll need one for strength.  I laid out cardboard on the table on my back deck.  You won’t see any pictures of my back deck, because it is gross. Seriously, it looks like violent crimes were committed back here.

1)  Spray paint both sides of wooden disks.  I used this espresso spray paint.  While waiting to dry, check your email.

2)  Lightly spray paint one side with white spray paint.  Let dry.  (I did espresso, then white, then blue because I wanted to give it some texture, but if I were to do it again, I’d leave out the white altogether.)

3)  Spray with blue spray paint.  (Obviously, color choice doesn’t really matter, but I used this “iris blue” because it works well with the other colors in my house.)  Let dry.  You’ll see some wood grain come through.  I only did two coats of blue, because I wanted to see some of that great wood texture.

4)  Rub letters onto each disk.  This was my first time using rub-on letters.  It was a little bit more time consuming – I imagine – then rubbing onto a smooth surface.  If I started to peel up and saw that some ink was still on the plastic, I just put it back down and rubbed a little more.  This part is great to do at your kitchen table while watching reruns of Season 1 of Prison Break.  Hi, Wentworth Miller, hi…

5)  Take sandpaper – or whatever this thing is called: a sponge wrapped in sandpapery goodness – and roughen up the edges.  The espresso paint will come through.  (At this point, Jack goes “What are you doing?”  “I’m distressing them.”  “You’re distressing a toy for Rembot.”  Pause.  Pause.  “Yeah.”)

6)  Cut little magnets out of magnet strip.  Peel and stick.  You could probably use a dot of Gorilla Glue to ensure they don’t come off, but I didn’t.  I will if they un-stick.

7)  No seventh step, but lookit – you made alphabet magnets.  :)

Like them?

{I saved the old alphabet magnets and stored them in a little box.  They’re great for table play.  Rembot sits in her seat at the kitchen table, and I put out a cookie sheet and some loaf pans.  She sticks magnets all over them.}

Super cheap craft.  I bought two bags of disks so I could double up on vowels and commonly used consonants.  And now I have the best of both worlds.  Rembot & Baby Shark can practice their letters and become geniuses and take over the world, and I don’t cringe every time I look at an appliance in my kitchen.  And because they’re nice and smooth, I won’t fake-swear when stepping on them.


Did you think this post was funny?  You’ll probably like this page!
Did you like this post cause it’s crafty?  Here are more fun tutorials!


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  • Reply Amanda @ Serenity Now August 17, 2010 at 9:09 am

    Such a cute post! As my fridge is currently covered with brightly covered letters that fit into a “singing” contraption, I like this idea a lot. I also like your sense of humor. I would write more, but I got distracted when you mentioned Wentworth Miller. ;) Visiting from The CSI Project! :)

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 11:53 am

      Hahaha. In my defense, my husband knows how I feel about good ol’ Wentworth. Just checked out your spray paint mash-up. Pretty sweet, yo.

  • Reply Yanet August 17, 2010 at 9:18 am

    I love these! They look so cute and vintage looking. Good job getting rid of the tacky plastic letters. :)

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:21 pm

      Thanks, Yanet! :)

  • Reply Heather @ Mrs. Southern Bride August 17, 2010 at 9:23 am

    Those are great, and what a fun project. :) Just stoppin by from SITS!

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 11:54 am

      Thanks, Heather! :)

  • Reply Mandy [Mandy's Yellow Corner] August 17, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Cute idea! Not only will you avoid foot casualties. . . it also looks so much better than those plastic letters! :]

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:22 pm

      Foot casualties are the worst. It’s true.

  • Reply Charity August 17, 2010 at 9:50 am

    These magnets are so cute!! I love finding ways to make my house more like a home, and less like a toy box. These magnets blend nicely, and do the job. Thanks for sharing.

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:22 pm

      Thank you, Charity. That’s exactly what I was going for… “more like a home, less like a toy box.” :D

  • Reply Steph Jacobson August 17, 2010 at 9:52 am

    Great idea! I currently have a set of Leap Frog letters on the side of my fridge, but I would prefer to have a set like yours. Thanks for sharing!

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:23 pm

      Haha, I was actually looking at those @ Target the other day…

  • Reply Christine August 17, 2010 at 10:00 am

    I love coming to your blog-you crack me up. Funny and talented-love the letter magnets a lot!The “other” letters have a lot in common with legos when you step on them…

    I am following you on Twitter…follow me back if you want…you want to ,right? ;) twitter.com/ChrisandCo5

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:24 pm

      Haha, I totally want to, Christine.

  • Reply Maggie August 17, 2010 at 10:01 am

    Those are fabulous – and I loved your tutorial, can’t wait to look through the rest of your blog. Found you through the CSI project.

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:34 pm

      Hey thanks, Maggie. Hope you find something else you like on here. :)

  • Reply Cheryl August 17, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Found you thru tip Junkie. You are a brilliant, super genius! My husband steps on the pointy letters pretty much everyday – they multiply like bunnies. I have a coupon burnin a hole in my purse, waiting for a project, this sounds like it! Thanks!

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:38 pm

      Whoaa brilliant and super genius in the same sentence. I like you. Make sure you show me if you make some. I’d love to see!

  • Reply Pam August 17, 2010 at 10:48 am

    Great idea! The whole toys all over the place and letters on the fridge thing does go away eventually. At some point they actually put their toys and stuff in their rooms. But you probably have a good ten years of kid-decor before then.

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:39 pm

      Oh kid-decor is totally the bane of my existence.

  • Reply Larissa August 17, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    LOVE these. Love the stick drawings. I am pretty sure a similar incident just recently led me to throwing all our alphabet magnets away.

    Love it.

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:40 pm

      Hahahahaha, they’re terrible, aren’t they? And yet we all keep buying them.

  • Reply Robyn August 17, 2010 at 12:53 pm

    I’d rather my kids NOT learn the alphabet than mess with those silly abc magnets–I learned that after my first 2 kids. So kudos on a non-obnoxious educational toy–I better make some so my younger kids can tell the difference between an I and a T before they enter kindergarten. Oh, and the post was funny, too.

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:41 pm

      Heyhey thanks Robin! I want to see if you make some. :D

      • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:43 pm

        And, I’m a moron and meant Robin with a y. Swear it.

  • Reply Cara August 17, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    What a well written post! You had me laughing, smiling, nodding my head in agreement AND featuring a super crafty project! Love the way your magnets turned out. While our fridge and dishwasher aren’t magnetic, I’ve been thinking about using some of that fancy-pants magnetic paint in my son’s room. A little project like this would be perfect for that!

    PS. We have a playroom, but our whole house still looks like ToysRUs. Sigh.

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:44 pm

      Cara, what nice things to say! And I’d really love to see them if you use the magnetic paint in your son’s room. :)

  • Reply Kim-todays creative blog August 17, 2010 at 4:57 pm

    those are way cuter than the others!

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:46 pm

      Hey, thank you!

  • Reply FLora August 17, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I love this idea……great job! I will do this one for my girl.I totally understand about the letters been on the floor.

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:49 pm

      Thanks, Flora!

  • Reply Sassy Sites! August 17, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Very cute idea!! I also do vinyl lettering and that would work for your letters! :)

    …I’m visiting from Sassy Sites! Come by and say HI! Your blog is adorable! I’m a new follower!


    • Reply Roo November 7, 2010 at 8:59 pm

      Hi there!! I love vinyl lettering.. coming to see you now!

  • Reply Kim August 17, 2010 at 6:51 pm

    Wonderful idea and excellent job!

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:49 pm

      Thank you, Kim!

  • Reply Martianne August 17, 2010 at 7:27 pm

    I’ve seen some like this made from smooth rocks which I have been thinking about attempting. Yours would be a lot easier to manage as the “canvas” is flat and all one size. Love it.

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:50 pm

      Thanks Martianne, let me know if you make them!

  • Reply vanessa @ silly eagle books August 17, 2010 at 8:02 pm

    Way cuter than the plastic ones!

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:50 pm


  • Reply Lisa August 17, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    What a great idea. Lol, this is so sad, but I don’t have children, but because I am a kid at her, I will do this activity just for fun. (I mean as a gift for my little cousin)

    and yes *hi wentworth miller, you don’t know me, but I heart you* lol

    • Reply Roo August 17, 2010 at 10:52 pm

      Hahaha it’s cool, Lisa. I won’t tell. Yeah, that Wentworth Miller. He’s okay, I guess. :P

  • Reply Heather F August 18, 2010 at 12:37 am

    I love your magnets (found you through Take a Look Tuesday).
    When trying to do a button on WordPress, I write my post, then in the top corner I switch from “Visual” to “HTML” then I scroll down and paste the button code where I want it on my post. I switch back to “Visual” mode to make sure it looks right, and that usually works for me!
    Let me know if you have questions about any of that.

    • Reply Roo August 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm

      Hey, thanks, Heather. I’m in wordpress.org… so I wonder if it’s different. Or maybe I need wordpress for dummies. Boo!

  • Reply Colette August 18, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Love the idea (especially that you made them to match your kitchen decor) and I love the way you write… so real and so funny! Love it, I’ll be stopping by again!


    PS… I check my email while paint dries too. :)

    • Reply Roo August 18, 2010 at 1:53 pm

      Thanks, Colette! That’s very nice to say. I’m actually brand new to blogging so a comment like this is lovely to read.

  • Reply Sarah August 18, 2010 at 9:10 am

    I absolutely LOVED this idea. Love it with a capital L.

    I had to laugh at your Wentworth Miller comment. He was such a hottie and I had such a crush when I watched Prison Break. Those eyes, those eyes…


    • Reply Roo August 18, 2010 at 1:55 pm

      Mostly in Season 1, girl. Season 1. :)

      • Reply Sarah August 18, 2010 at 6:37 pm

        I agree. Season 2 started getting way too ridiculous.

        Just so you know… after your comment I googled pics for about 15 minutes and even considered saving one to my desktop.

        I’m so lame!

  • Reply Steph August 18, 2010 at 11:20 am

    Great idea and they look so attractive. That’s it…I’m only allowing flat toys in the house now!
    Following you now…thanks!!!!!

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm

      Thanks, Steph!

  • Reply JDaniel4's Mom August 18, 2010 at 2:13 pm

    These looks so much better. Do they stay up when a toddler arm tries to clear them off in one sweep? I have a problem with this at my house.

    • Reply Roo August 18, 2010 at 2:44 pm

      It’s like Godzilla knocking over towers in Hong Kong.

      At least they look cute on the floor. :)

  • Reply Michelle L. August 18, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Extra points for making up a word! Seriously, these are wonderful and wonderfully simple. Magnet clutter drives me nuts, I love this solution!

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 8:24 am

      Thanks, Michelle. I’m glad you like them! It was a pretty easy project to do.

  • Reply Ami Allison August 18, 2010 at 7:13 pm

    I LOVE THIS!!! I step on Alpha-letters EVERYDAY! Alie has the leap frog ones, they hurt extra bad!!!

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 8:24 am

      Oh those Leap Frog ones are sooo pointy. :/

  • Reply Cassie At Primitive & Proper August 18, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    those are SO much better than the plastic ones! what a fantastic idea! visiting from csi.

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 1:47 pm

      Thanks, Cass! :)

  • Reply Dee August 19, 2010 at 7:42 am

    They look great – what a fun idea – but honestly, your drawing is hysterical – thanks

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm

      Haha, Dee, I’m glad you liked it!

  • Reply Jekka Laine August 19, 2010 at 10:16 am

    My sister thinks I’m awful because I wont let my little boy cover my frige with magnets, but I love these! I’m going to make some!

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm

      Hahaha! Please show me when you do!

  • Reply Amanda August 20, 2010 at 9:23 am

    I just wanted to stop by and let you know that I linked to this post today from the new Home & Garden channel at Craft Gossip. :) My hope is to share many of the fabulous projects I see everyday with the vast CG audience. I hope you will not only stop by and subscribe to CG, but will tell your friends about the new category! Hope you see some traffic from it!

    Your feature will appear in the main Craft Gossip RSS feed, on the main home page and can be found directly here

    If you would like a “featured by” button, you can grab one here!

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 1:45 pm

      Amanda, thank you so much! I checked it out, and it’s great!! :D

  • Reply Cassie August 20, 2010 at 11:09 am

    This is a fantastic idea!!!

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 8:35 am

      Thanks, Cassie! :)

  • Reply Rachel S. August 20, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Ok, so I LOVE magnets, and I especially love YOUR magnets…but you really had me intrigued with this hidden message thing. I found the word DRY and TOILET in the letter jumble in the final photo…potty training, perhaps? Or do I just have it on the brain, b/c we are potty training our toddler at the moment? Texan was the only other word I made out on there…are you from TX?

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 8:34 am

      Rachel, you are clever! I had no idea those words were jumbled. Here’s your hint: it’s in the hand-drawn picture. :)

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 8:34 am

      Oh, and no. :) I’m in Connecticut.

  • Reply Barbra August 20, 2010 at 2:07 pm

    Great post. It reminded me of the time when my son was about 7 (he’s 36 now and a father of 2)and we had an adult party.I didn’t notice when an “adult” wrote with the magnets “Great——-party”. My son noticed the next morning!

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 8:34 am

      Haha, that’s cute!

  • Reply Lori August 20, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    I don’t have kids but I love this idea. I may make some for myself to just write on my own fridge!

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 8:33 am

      Yeahhhh Lori, do it! Everyone loves a good alphamagnet. :P

  • Reply Emily August 20, 2010 at 5:25 pm

    These are a million times nicer than the colored alphabet. Great job!

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 8:33 am

      Thanks, Emily! :)

  • Reply Vicky August 20, 2010 at 7:55 pm

    What a clever idea. Now I know what to do with all those magnet strips that I bought for another failed project. Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 8:33 am

      You’re welcome, Vicky! I’d love to see them when you finish! :)

  • Reply seriuslyahomemaker August 21, 2010 at 7:42 pm

    um, shut up!!!!


    these are frickin’ awesome!!!

    who ARE you! and 76 comments on this post? what the? where did you COME FROM? and you must have linked to this all ova some diy linky, right?

    i love these. and i love that you are blog machine! i am totally struggling, but not giving up.

    actually, just now, i got online for the express purpose of buying a new domain name. not lovin’ the box that my name puts me into, like we “talked” about last time.

    anyhoo….. are you going to bloggy bootcamp philly???????

    if so, i can’t wait to meet you! i hope thats the one. wanna room with me and my friend caroline from thebinghamdiaries.com????

    man… i need to get a hotel room stat.


    love it!


    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 11:30 pm

      Hahahaha ohhhh girlfriend, I sent you an email.

  • Reply Kelli August 21, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    These are seriously adorable!

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 11:29 pm

      Thanks, Kelli! :)

  • Reply Heather August 21, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    Hi! I found your site off of Today’s Creative Blog! I love your craft! Very non-obnoxious! I just signed up to be your 38th follower! Woo hoo! I hope you stop by my new blog. I just started it 2 months ago and would love new friends! Please come see me at http://www.modernfamilymagazine.com

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 11:42 pm

      Hey, thanks, Heather. I’m brand new, too.

  • Reply Leticia August 21, 2010 at 11:26 pm

    Wow! What a neat idea!
    You are very creative!
    Thank you for sharing~

    • Reply Roo August 21, 2010 at 11:29 pm

      Hey, thank you, Leticia!

  • Reply Cheri Peoples August 22, 2010 at 9:44 am

    I love these and I am getting ready to make a big Chalkboard for my kiddos (so they can write on it instead of my menu board and I want to make a magnet board on the reverse side. These will be so cute. My little guy is starting Kindergaten this year.

    Cheri from Its So Very Cheri

    • Reply Roo August 23, 2010 at 10:33 pm

      Hey Cheri, I’m so glad you like them. :D

  • Reply Cristan August 22, 2010 at 10:08 am

    The teacher in me loves these! :) Thanks for sharing!!

    • Reply Roo August 23, 2010 at 10:27 pm

      Yay! Thanks, Cristan!

  • Reply Michelle L. G. August 23, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    love this idea, cracked up through the whole post and i don’t even have kids :o)

    linked to you from younghouselove.com through a comment from Jenny @ Words On Wendhurst

    keep up the blogging geniusness!

    • Reply Roo August 23, 2010 at 10:27 pm

      Michelle! I’m glad you found me. I’ve been snickering at all of your comments. I hope you stick around, you nonblogger! :)

  • Reply Dawn August 23, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! And I WILL be copying you and making these for the 2Gs. My feet thank you already.

    • Reply Roo August 23, 2010 at 10:26 pm

      You’re welcome, Dawn! I want to see pictures when they’re done!

  • Reply Leslie August 24, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    K girl first of all how do you get so many comments! You are well loved by your readers that’s for sure. I love your alphabet letters. They turned out adorable.

    • Reply Roo August 24, 2010 at 7:08 pm

      Surely you jest!! As you can see, I reply to every comment, so the numbers aren’t as impressive. :)

  • Reply Carolyn at My Backyard Eden August 24, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    So much better than those plastic ones!

    • Reply Roo August 24, 2010 at 9:51 pm

      Thanks, Carolyn! Glad you think so. :)

  • Reply A Little Bit of Everything! August 26, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    These are great!

    • Reply Roo November 7, 2010 at 9:01 pm

      Thank you!

  • Reply ErinK August 30, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    LMAO!!! You are freakn’ FUNNY! I was laughing so hard that my 3 year old came to investigate what was so funny… when he saw the drawing he asked why the lady was mad…I said it was because the letters where on the floor and HURT when you step on them…he then ran into the kitchen and wanted to know where is letters went? They have been MIA for about a month…weird I know! I may have to make a set of these…bigger though cause my 11 month old would totally eat those little ones! lol

    Any idea how to make lego’s cute and not painful??? That post would land you on the cover of People magazine!!!

    • Reply Roo November 7, 2010 at 9:01 pm

      Ahahahaha. Gosh, I have no idea how to treat the Lego epidemic. If I did, though… it’d be a beautiful thing.

  • Reply How to Make a Dollhouse Out of Drawers | nice girl notes August 31, 2010 at 7:40 am

    […] 1) Get some nightstand drawers.  Get a tetanus shot, then bring the drawers to the deck all other decks forsook.  Scuff ‘em up.  I lightly sanded the drawer fronts.  (See the polka-dotted cardboard?  It’s recycled from the magnet project.) […]

  • Reply Aimee August 31, 2010 at 6:13 pm

    I love these. I’m linking up to them on my Children’s Literacy blog. They are too beautiful not to share. Thank you so much!

    • Reply Roo November 7, 2010 at 9:02 pm

      Thanks, Amy! I’d love to see it if you have a link. :)

  • Reply Letter Magnets | Our Humble A{Bowe}d September 1, 2010 at 12:28 pm

    […] love the magnet board, but not the ugly plastic letters.  Fortunately, I found this great tutorial detailing how to create pretty magnet letters.  What a fantastic (and cheap!) idea!  Using the […]

  • Reply How to Make a Graffiti Sign | nice girl notes September 6, 2010 at 1:38 am

    […] paints to give them some depth.  And I kind of wanted to use the same technique as I did with my alphabet magnets, but with a lot more colors, and brighter, and extra […]

  • Reply Kory September 7, 2010 at 8:14 am

    Ok, you are HILARIOUS! I’ve had a few ‘not swearing’ fits after stepping on those durn things myself… and I found ‘OICURAQT’ in the drawing (oh i see you are a cutie?) is that the hidden message?

    • Reply Roo September 29, 2010 at 10:34 pm

      Yes!!! You get a million bonus points!! It is OICURAQT. Hooray!

  • Reply Best Blogging Tips | nice girl notes September 13, 2010 at 5:17 pm

    […] a stick figure one and not an obscure one like on my About page. – My stories are funny and my magnets are cute. – I should start a Facebook fan page and add a widget to my […]

  • Reply Karen G September 13, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    I agree with you…those magnets HURT when I step on them!!! (That’s probably why my wee girl only has about a third of an alphabet left! hmmmm…) Love your stylish, nonpainful, functional solution! :>

    • Reply Roo September 29, 2010 at 10:33 pm

      Hahaha! Thanks, Karen! :)

  • Reply Janet September 29, 2010 at 4:56 pm

    I DO like these, but wouldn’t these be a choking hazard? Did you check to see if the paint was non-toxic as well? I admit, it is a footsaver though.

    • Reply Roo September 29, 2010 at 8:35 pm

      No more of a choking hazard than her other alphabet magnets, I think. They’re pretty much the same size. The paint I used is not non-toxic paint. I wasn’t really thinking about that, since she’s not one to put non-food items in her mouth. There is, however, plenty of non-toxic paint out there, so if I was ever to make more, I’d definitely go that route. These disks do come in larger sizes, too, if you were concerned about a choking hazard. :)

  • Reply thesublimelife September 30, 2010 at 5:15 am

    This is serious awesomeness!

    • Reply Roo November 7, 2010 at 9:03 pm

      Thank you! :D

  • Reply Nano September 30, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    So I’m 20 and I don’t have children or plan to any time soon, but I still read this whole post because your writing is so subtly hilarious and completely captivating.

    Also, I love me some blue discs. Mmmm, wanna eat one, they look like delicious candy.

    • Reply Roo November 7, 2010 at 9:04 pm

      Ahahaha, come on by, I’ll let you bite into one.

  • Reply Charming's Mama October 15, 2010 at 10:05 pm

    SUP! I followed you over here from Dumb Mom’s place, nice to “meet you”, and I think your alphabet magnets are genius.

    • Reply Roo November 7, 2010 at 9:04 pm

      Sup, yo! I’m down with Dumb Mom. Nice to meet you, too. :)

  • Reply Vickie October 25, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Yes, no more bright colored magnets to invade your world or hurt your feet. Legos yet? Your foot hasn’t hurt until you step on one of those!!!

    • Reply Roo November 7, 2010 at 9:04 pm

      Dude. I know. Those are killer. :(

  • Reply Jen November 4, 2010 at 7:17 pm

    Just wait until you step on a pointy plastic ring…OUCH!!!! I do love this though! I have LOTS of little munchkins around generally (daycare) and think I will make a few sets!! Thanks!!

    • Reply Roo November 7, 2010 at 9:05 pm

      Jen, I’d love to see them when you make them!

  • Reply Clio November 6, 2010 at 8:35 am

    The original design of alphabet magnets DO have a purpose. Children’s brains are more stimulated by primary colors than “tasteful” ones, and they learn faster by feeling the shape of the letter as well as looking at it. That’s the scientific research anyway. I don’t have any kids so I haven’t done any follow up research of my own. But I do remember these letters from younger siblings, and they do hurt, so I guess it is your call.

    • Reply Roo November 7, 2010 at 9:07 pm

      Their only purpose is to wreak havoc on the soles of well-meaning adults.

      Just kidding. We keep the serif font alphabet letters around – just not on the fridge. We use them for magnet play at the kitchen table with some cookie sheets and a few other toys.

      Not sure about the scientific research, but my two year old has been able to recognize/say all her letters and numbers for awhile now, so my non-hurty ones aren’t impeding her at all.

      And of course it’s my call! I’m the mommy. :)

      • Reply Dineen September 7, 2011 at 11:03 am

        Kidlets can get the sensorial shape of the letters other ways. (Sand tables, for instance or the wooden blocks that have the letters carved.) My little one has never played with the edges of the creepy hollow plastic ones to learn the shape of those weirdly scaled letters with the out-sized seriphs that confuse the letter identification.

        I love your design improvement on magnet letters, including the addition of more vowels and extras of commonly used consonants. I bought double of the plastic monstrosity letter sets and it’s still hard to make more than a few 3- and 4-letter words.

  • Reply jamie November 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm

    Just stumbled upon this and about an hour ago, I threw away all of my letter magnets in frustration– I am sick of stepping on them! This is a fabulous alternative, thanks for the tute.

  • Reply Elise November 30, 2010 at 6:42 pm

    This is Definitely the most awesome idea I’ve ever seen!! And the end result is sooo cute!! :D

  • Reply AJ's MOMMY December 7, 2010 at 10:24 am

    you think thats selfish i keep all my sons toys in boxes where he can’t even see them! I call them toy boxes – now that is selfish!!

    you people can’t be serious? selfish? if the kids use and like them just as much then what is the difference? I think you just want somthing to complain about. anybody who puts so much thought and creativity into raising their kids is far from selfish.

  • Reply Laurie December 7, 2010 at 10:53 am

    not sure how I missed this post but you are awesome! not selfish in the least – the alphabet letters disappeared from my fridge for a couple years for the same reason – the kids were too young to be learning anything but throwing them on the floor!! they just got magnet NUMBERS from their kids program at church and so far they stay on the refrigerator and are actually used mathematically! haha so they can stay…for now. I also seriously wonder about those people concerned about your children’s ability to learn with the new ones you made….how on earth did children learn ANYTHING before someone invented the magnet letters?!?! duh! ;)

  • Reply Mark Iragana December 10, 2010 at 2:41 am

    Good blog. Nice job, I like what you’ve done with the content, it is very interesting.

  • Reply Abby December 10, 2010 at 1:59 pm

    These? Super awesome. About how long did they take?

    • Reply Roo November 4, 2011 at 11:12 am

      Not very long! There’s some wait time while the paint is drying, but rubbing on letters took the longest. It was mindless, so I watched Prison Break while doing it. :)

  • Reply Karen January 7, 2011 at 1:32 pm

    LOL! As I was reading, I started searching my brain (a dangerous activity…could get lost for hours in there!) for a post I had read awhile back that would have the perfect solution for you. As a Mama who just separated/sorted thousands of Lego bricks partially because stepping on them was so darn painful, I *get* it! Anyhow, I’m searching and searching (told ya I could get lost!) so that I can share that perfect solution to this dilema and then I keep reading…..and the perfect solution is Your post!!! I read it when it originally came out (& commented). LOL!

    As for the selfish comments….seriously?! Do they have children? Even if they don’t, did they not read the part where she still gets to play with them on a table and not on a vertical surface where they slide off, get knocked down, and impale an innocent passerby? I don’t get it. Selfish?! This Mama doesn’t think so! :>

  • Reply Shellie January 31, 2011 at 12:32 am

    I just adore these. You should consider selling these on Etsy for us craft-impared moms. I love your remark about sleeping in a Toys R Us. We have a playroom but it doesn’t help!

  • Reply Jen February 1, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    This is one of the best craft ideas I’ve ever seen! I found it a couple months ago but didn’t have any reason to make them, even though I really wanted to, but now the baby I nanny for is going to be 1 soon and I thought this would be a perfect gift idea (he comes from a long line of ivy leaguers so he has to get smart fast!) It was so easy and alot of fun, and it kept me from going completely crazy through all this snow (CT shoutout!) I didn’t distress mine but I’m still very happy with the outcome.

    I love the blog, keep up the good work.

  • Reply Ashley February 4, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I LOVED this so much that I had to make some myself! Check out my very first tutorial inspired by you!

  • Reply Ashley February 4, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    opps! here is the link to my blog.


  • Reply Judy March 28, 2011 at 10:33 am

    What a fab idea! I was needing more letters for the kiddies .. this will be a great craft project! Thanks.

  • Reply Sheila Hamilton March 29, 2011 at 8:53 am

    I absolutely get it. I also hated trying to fish them out from under the fridge. My kids are older now and like to leave “fridge messages”. The letters you get for this are so tiny and/or decorated and elaborate that they are also tough to read. I will be trying this for sure.

  • Reply 3rdpigkid March 29, 2011 at 10:32 am

    LOVE these!! I don’t have kids but I totally can see making those same kinds of magnets with popsicle sticks or something along those lines to be similar to those poetic magnets. We used to have some but they were so tiny, they got lost really easy…LOVE this idea! Thanks!

  • Reply Rita March 30, 2011 at 1:38 am

    I love this! I so want to make some and I don’t even have kids… too bad I already know the alphabet….

  • Reply Jenn Erickson/Rook No. 17 April 15, 2011 at 8:45 pm

    So beautifully done, and much better than the old fashioned plastic ones! Thanks for the great tute and inspiration!

    So glad Bev sent me your way!
    Jenn/Rook No. 17

  • Reply Alex May 10, 2011 at 10:20 am

    Great project, but you should still keep the letters different colors. It’s how some kids pick up Synesthesea!

    • Reply Roo November 4, 2011 at 11:12 am

      Hi Alex! In my post, I wrote that I do keep the ‘old’ magnets. We use them with cookie sheets and bread loaf plans for table play. :)

  • Reply PureSong May 15, 2011 at 10:07 pm

    Great idea! they look so much nicer than the plastic ones. And there’s not really any choice in the styles you can buy.

  • Reply Rachel Ramey May 24, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    Well, ours aren’t quite as gaudy as the ones in your picture, because we have wooden alphabet magnets from Melissa&Doug. But they’re still not as classy as yours. And we still have trouble if they want to spell a word that has two of the same letter. (Why? Did alphabet magnet manufacturers not think children would actually try to SPELL things with their letters?!)

    • Reply Roo November 4, 2011 at 11:13 am

      Good point, Rachel! We were always stuck spelling out dog and boat. Haha.

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  • Reply Aimee July 20, 2011 at 9:48 am

    OMG you are funny! I really enjoyed reading your blog. I couldn’t honestly choose which I enjoyed more: your creative magnetic letters or your humor.

    I am currently living abroad and am having trouble finding magnetic letters. This looks like a great solution.

  • Reply Kim August 10, 2011 at 5:14 am

    LOVE this idea! Too bad my kids are 15 & 24, I probably wouldn’t want to see the words they’d spell on my fridge if I made them…lol…but love your sense of humor too..laughter makes the world go ’round

  • Reply Kristy August 10, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Great idea! 20 month old Granddaughter in the house that just loves to swipe her hands across the fridge and watch those painful plastic letters fly across the kitchen. I am going to my craft room and dig through my endless piles of “things that are too cheap to pass up & I know I will find a use for them someday” items. I must have these wooden discs somewhere in there. I know for a fact I have the magnets. I am going to tweak it a bit and cut my letters out vinyl.

  • Reply renee August 13, 2011 at 4:25 pm

    You my dear, are a genius! I wish my kids weren’t 10 & 11….but I may just do them for my nieces and nephews!!

    • Reply Roo October 13, 2011 at 7:56 pm

      Thanks, Renee! I bet they’ll love ’em! :D

  • Reply Rebecca August 17, 2011 at 9:24 pm

    I stumbled upon this and absolutely LOVE it! I think the ones you made are very classy looking (for alphabet magnets) but I like the personalized touch and ability to make as many extras as necessary; options you don’t have when buying the plastic ones. I don’t have children yet, but I’m currently an aunt and will be teaching elementary school next year. I will definitely be making these in the future. I might make some changes (use primary colors, glitter – my niece would love that!, neon colors, etc.) I wonder if they have rub-on words? I would love to make word tiles for older children to create sentences and writing prompts. Oh, the possibilities!!

    • Reply Roo October 13, 2011 at 7:56 pm

      I’ve seen rub-on words, Rebecca! Go for it, and please send me a picture! :D

  • Reply dalayna September 2, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    these are so cute!! I always thought the plastic dollar store letter magnets were fun but these are so much cuter!

    • Reply Roo October 13, 2011 at 7:55 pm

      thanks, dalayna! We still keep the plastic ones around, too! :)

  • Reply Alesha September 11, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    My kids are too old for this anymore, but I absolutely LOVE this idea! and I loved reading it too! Thanks :)

    • Reply Roo October 13, 2011 at 7:54 pm

      Aw, thanks, Alesha! :D

  • Reply Tanya September 12, 2011 at 9:23 pm

    I bookmarked this quite a while ago as something I wanted to do. I am going through my bookmarks and pinning the things I will actually do or that I still like and this is on my list. I can’t believe I did not leave a comment before. I love your little drawing. Thanks for the tutorial.

    • Reply Roo October 13, 2011 at 7:54 pm

      Thanks so much, Tanya! I would love to see your magnets when you’re done! :)

  • Reply Elisha October 25, 2011 at 10:45 pm

    I love this they are so cute I think I’m gonna make a set for home and grandmas I would have never thought to do this and they look far less tacky then the normal ones thx for sharing..

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  • Reply kay November 2, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    What a great idea! I came up to this website because I’m currently looking for alphabet magnets for my 23-month-old son. He now knows how to sing the alphabet song so I’d love to get him something inexpensive.

  • Reply Marci November 12, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    I don’t have kids yet, but am always looking for better alternatives to obnoxious kid toys. I figure I have the time and energy now while I don’t have kids, better do all those fun projects now while I can! Pretty sure my kids are going to need a couple sets of these because I’m going to want to play with them too!

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  • Reply Kristen @ Titus 2 Work in Progress December 31, 2011 at 8:11 pm

    So cute! Was referred to you by another blog. Love these letters! Pinning this and following you on fb & twitter! I thought of my husband when I read this. He HATES stepping on toys and he never understands why I take so much time/detail on kid crafts lol. You are too funny. Really enjoyed the read and the craftiness!

  • Reply Ebony February 17, 2012 at 2:59 am

    i am not a mother but i do live with two grown men, so it comes close :P we could use these to leave quirky messages to each other… its a great idea and reading the tutorial made me laugh!

  • Reply Sonja February 19, 2012 at 8:41 pm

    Nice for you, however you took away the tactile (touch) aspect of learning the letters. Learning is best accomplished in multiple methods. Young children learn a lot through touch. But hey, mom hates little plastic letters. Maybe a sibling threw one at you or maybe your someone yelled at you for having them in the floor. Don’t penalize your kids.

    These will be nice for a game of refrigerator scrabble though.

    • Reply Roo February 19, 2012 at 9:07 pm

      Let me point to you where I specifically state that I still use the other magnets.

      “I saved the old alphabet magnets and stored them in a little box. They’re great for table play. Rembot sits in her seat at the kitchen table, and I put out a cookie sheet and some loaf pans. She sticks magnets all over them.”

      So we use a variety of alphabet sets – the plastic serif font ones at the table, the ones I’ve made on the fridge, alphabet blocks, the foam ones in the bathtub.

      I’d hardly call developing another vehicle for learning “penalizing my kids.”

      • Reply Jessica May 16, 2012 at 9:21 pm

        Hahahahaha!! I love how you posted this 2yrs ago…and still with the ugly comments….OK PEOPLE DONT HATE CAUSE YOU DIDNT COME UP WITH THE IDEA FIRST. Just kidding. Umm, well no I am not. Its a cute idea, I am gonna make some myself. About being a choking hazard, here is a great solution. Place your kid in a plastic bubble and let them run wild….oooooorrrr monitor their playtime, better yet…play with them. Oh man, I am full of super great ideas tonight. Love you NGN!!



    • Reply Ivey March 2, 2012 at 6:34 pm

      Sonja, are you serious? Lighten up! I never even had a set of alphabet magnet letters for my oldest- and yet he’s managed to learn his letters just fine! Call the child abuse hotline!

      I love this idea and have avoided those hideous plastic ones because they offend my eyes as well. My youngest is just at the age where he’ll love this DIY version!

      • Reply GiggilinShelle June 8, 2012 at 11:06 am

        Let me weigh in….as far as though “standard” every kid on the block has them magnet letters in offending colors…

        My son doesn’t/won’t have them. Ever…or at least not until he is far older and there are no little people or pets that can pick it up, and chew on it. Reason – those little magnets..they fall out, and well a child with a magnet in its belly? More important to avoid then the tactile learning “Captian you penalize your children” is concerned with.

        Love these! And love that the magnets can be stuck on far more securely! Thank you for the fantastic idea :o)

  • Reply Jess February 21, 2012 at 12:09 pm

    I really love this idea. and the fact that since the letters are all the same size, color, and shape, my kids won’t get dependent on looking at the color before identifying the letter. plus, you can pick and choose which multiples you make of certain letters, instead of having to buy a lot of bags of the plastic ones and have a multitude of ‘z’s hanging around…getting stuck to the inside of my fridge door…or under my oven drawer..lol…will definitely be making these :)

  • Reply Katie March 8, 2012 at 2:21 pm

    I think these are Awesome (note the capital). Thx for sharing!

  • Reply Marmie March 8, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    I didn’t read through the comments very far (this might have come up)… but what about a choking hazard? They don’t look very small, but I could see my three boys sticking them in their mouths (before they knew better-they are older now-a 5 year old and almost 4 year old twins). I remember watching a little girl who was about 2 1/2-3 at the time choke on a piece of candy…So I always try to think about those things.

    Great idea! I might have to do this for at school (I teach Title 1-Extra reading support) for my little ones. Great tutorial.

  • Reply Mimi March 8, 2012 at 10:12 pm

    This is a GREAT idea! I will be using this with my daycare children. There are many opportunities for the kids to have tactile experiences. And, I’ve seen these wooden discs at my local craft store. They come in several sizes. You can buy the size you need depending on the age level in which they are for.

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

  • Reply Tasha May 29, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    I loooove these! They’re cute, and I’m all about DIY projects for kids. :)
    These aren’t any more of a choking hazard than the colorful plastic ones. And kids will always try and stick things in their mouths. That’s when you sit and play with them, or watch them.
    I will definitely be making my own set of these for my twins! :)

  • Reply kate June 10, 2012 at 8:25 am

    What a great idea!!! Love these! thanks for sharing. :)) You are too clever and cute (love your wit)!

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  • Reply beck July 10, 2012 at 5:20 pm

    These are awesome. End of story.

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  • Reply Christy January 8, 2013 at 5:35 am

    This was brilliant, cant believe how happy i was reading about how to make alphabet magnets!

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  • Reply Lina April 12, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Hi, I found this through Pinterest and think they look great! My only word of caution would be to make sure the magnets can’t come off and that kids can’t swallow them. I was all set to make my daughter some magnets but then came across an article about kids who were swallowing magnets from their toys and almost dying. Apparently magnets really do damage inside your body. Just a heads up! I love the look of them though!

    • Reply Roo April 12, 2013 at 2:23 pm

      Hi Lina! Thanks for the comment. If you’re concerned that they may come off, you can always do a dab of Gorilla Glue. Even still, little kiddos shouldn’t play with magnets unsupervised. :)

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  • Reply Christina August 7, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    Hi, what a fantastic idea! I have been searching for lower case magnetic letters and have been enduring the stern glare of my former-headmistress-aunt every time my daughter plays with the bright plastic capital letters currently residing on our fridge, floor, dishwasher. “Teach her lower case first!” is my aunt’s mantra. So I decided I would have to just make my own and turned naturally to Google. Your awesome page came up first and I love this idea! I can’t wait to try it – and they’re wood too which makes my inner hippy self sing! :) PS: your writing is wonderfully humourous! :)

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  • Reply Heather Laura Clarke September 30, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    I just got sucked into a Roo wormhole (Roohole?) and now I’m reading all of these adorable crafty posts from 2010! It’s like time-travelling, or … something. Anyway, these are awesome.

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