Friday, July 13, 2012

Monogrammed Magnets!

One of the very first projects I took on for my wedding was to make monogrammed magnets as small favors for the reception. I've known for a while that I want to have several favor options, and this seemed like a quick easy project to get my feet wet toward all the wedding craft projects swimming around in my head. Plus, it was kind of a no-brainer given the large amount of bottle caps that had begun to amass in the utility drawer where my fiance and I keep our bottle opener. It seemed like a good way to assuage some of his annoyance at my refusal to throw them in the trash. The first step was to find all the good ones. I was looking for caps that weren't bent from opening, were clean, and didn't have stickers on them. I also tried to choose caps from beers my fiance and I actually like. At this point we're working toward a final guest count of about 130, and amazingly (or not) I had no problem finding enough caps to do the job.
 The next step was to print the monograms. I chose a simpler version of what we're going with for the invitation, but in the same style. It came from my favorite wedding craft book, Handmade Weddings by the girls over at Hello!Lucky stationary, from an image I scanned and isolated off of their Modern Classic Wedding invitation template.  I simply printed out thumbnails (you can get about 35 per sheet) and then cut them out by hand. I've heard that you can very easily head over to the craft store and purchase a 1" paper punch to do the job much quickly, but it seems like that's the easy way out. 
 Once all the circles were cut out, I had to water-proof them so that when I sealed them in the caps the ink wouldn't run. There's a couple of ways to do this. At first I tried Mod Podge. This worked, but it was very difficult and time consuming considering I'd already cut all the monograms into 1" circles. If you're going to go this direction, which I'd only suggest if you have a gross amount of excess Mod Podge on hand, I've found that aluminum foil is the best surface to work on, since Mod Podge is glue and pretty much sticks to everything, as it obviously should. However, even better than the Mod Podge option, I've found, is to simply use packing tape. It's cheaper, faster, cleaner, and yields a much clearer seal on the monogram.
Anyway, I then got all of my materials together for the next few steps so that I could set up an assembly line. I needed all of the monograms sealed on both sides, the caps, glue, and a role of adhesive magnet tape. 
Then, it was time to start gluing the monograms inside the caps. At first I used super glue, but I've since learned that hot glue actually works better. It's important to use a lot of glue to cover the inside of the cap, so that there are few air pockets when you finally fill in the sealant.

Once the monograms are glued in, it's a good idea to go ahead and put the magnets on the back so that you don't have to mess with it once the sealant goes in. If you're worried about the magnets holding up a lot of weight then you probably want to spring for the more expensive 1" disc magnets, but if you're like me and trying to be as frugal as possible, then the best way to go is just a roll of the strongest 1/2" self-adhesive magnetic tape you can find. Then, it's easy to cut it into as many small squares as you need for each cap and stick them right on.

Once the caps are assembled with the monograms sealed and glued inside and the magnet secured to the back, the only thing left is to fill the magnets in with a clear resin. I've heard that casting resin will work and it's probably the cheapest route, but I found this cool product called Mod Podge Dimensional Magic, and I think that it was the best thing to get the look that I was going for. It creates a really nice seal that makes the magnets look finished. The best way to avoid bubbles is to fill the caps slowly, tapping the monogram with the nozzle to jiggle any of the air out.
It takes a really long time to out for bubbles!!!
Once they dry overnight you're good to go!
For very little material cost (really only the Mod Podge sealant if you have a printer and packing tape already, and drink a lot of beer) you've got a nice momento for your guests to remember your special day. At the reception I'll probably display these by wrapping a cookie sheet in some nice satin fabric and then just sticking them on. If you have any questions about this process please don't hesitate to ask!!! Good luck!