How to make a Magnetic Frame to display artwork

(I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.)

My daughter LOVES to draw and is very crafty. We have artwork all over our fridge and taped to the walls. I made her a magnetic frame for her to display all her artwork, photos, notes, and cards. It looks a lot classier on a magnetic frame instead of taped to the wall!

The frame is quite large. I wanted her to have enough space to display LOTS of artwork, not just a picture or two. Now she has plenty of room to expand her collection.


I couldn’t help but pull out some of my favorite old photos of her. Gah, she was just the most adorable little girl. Now she is 10! Time flies.

Here’s how to make your very own Magnetic Frame. I wanted something simple that I could make in a day. I started by purchasing a piece of magnetic sheet metal from True Value Hardware.

For the frame I used planks of MDF. These are 4″ wide that I had leftover from a previous project. Using the sheet metal as a guide, I cut the MDF with mitered edges, glued them together with wood glue, and then added some stapes on the seams on the back for added support. I let this dry overnight.

Once dry I lightly sanded the seams and all the edges.

I used some Painters Pyramids to support the frame while I sanded and painted it. These things are great and as you can see by how colorful they are, I use them frequently.

Once my frame was sanded, I added a coat of primer. MDF guzzles paint so it’s always a good idea to prime first. My favorite is Zinsser Bulls-Eye 1-2-3 Primer.

I let it sit for a few hours to completely dry before painting it. I used a leftover color – here is a similar one called Lemon Kiss at True Value. You can see in the picture below that I like to store extra touch-up paint in smaller glass jars. Much easier to use for small projects than a big metal paint can.

When the frame was dry I gave it a once-over with a can of satin clear top coat spray paint. Here is the exact type of top coat I like.

The sheet metal I purchased at True Value had a thin coating on it that I had to buff off with glass cleaner.

Once the frame was totally dry and the sheet metal was clean it was time to attach it to the frame. I did this using Liquid Nails.

I coated the inside perimeter of the frame with the Liquid Nails and then placed the sheet metal on top of the adhesive. I also set a few heavy paint cans on the corners of the frame to create a tight bond between the liquid nails and the frame.

From there it’s time to add the picture hangers. I love these picture hangers that you don’t need little tiny nails to attach. You simply hammer the picture hanger directly into the frame.

While I was making the frame Kinsey was busy making bottle cap magnets with a friend. She used leftover bottle caps, glued a magnet to the top of the bottle cap, flipped it over, decorated the inside of each cap, then gave it a good coating of mod podge dimensional magic. Aren’t they so adorable?!

From there it was just a matter of hanging it in her room and adding her creations!

I love all the little bottle cap magnets she made. It adds a nice finishing touch.

How do you display your kids artwork in your house? Artwork has a way of taking over the entire house. Have fun making your very own Magnetic Frame!

Check out all my other True Value projects here!


How to lay a paver walkway

(I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.)

I just completed a project in our backyard that I’ve wanted to do since we moved in over a year ago. To get from the deck to the water hose requires walking through dirt and mud. We’ve wanted some type of pathway or stepping stones to keep our shoes from getting all muddy every time we go turn the hose on or off.

Because of all the tree overhang and shade, grass doesn’t grow very well in this area. It’s just dirt and mud. (Check out the awesome tire swing tutorial.)

Around the corner where the hose is is even worse. The faucet drips a bit when it’s turned on, and with all the dirt below it, the area is always muddy.

I spent about 4 hours one morning to create an awesome step-stone walkway. Check it out!

Not only is it functional, but it looks good too. Obviously it needs even more work in the future in the form of hedging lining the house, mulch, and even some ground cover, but for now, let’s just focus on how awesome the pavers look.

For the soupy wet water hose area I added lots of extra pea gravel to prevent the constant mud we had before.

I did all the work for this by myself, and I’m just so dang excited with how it turned out.

To create the stepping stone sidewalk I first headed to True Value Hardware for my supplies: 18″ square pavers, 60# bags of all purpose sand, and Flexible Downspout Extension. I also used a few supplies I already had on-hand: gravel, shovels, and a wheelbarrow.

The very first thing that needed to be done was taking care of the gutter extension. Before, water would pool at the house causing a muddy mess and potentially harming the foundation of the home.

I removed some of the dirt so the extension could be partially buried, added a bit of gravel for drainage, then laid the extension being careful to keep it at enough of an angle that water shouldn’t pool inside the extension or back up in the gutter.

After the gutter extension was in place I loosely laid out the pavers where I wanted them.

Now would be an excellent time to run some string to mark exactly where you want your pathway to go. It will give you a perfect line to follow. To do this, grab a few stakes and stake them into the ground. Tie the string to the stakes. Super easy and will make your job a whole lot easier. I did not do this. I waited until my path was looking very off-center and then realized I should have used the string and stakes, at which point I added them.

Once I knew where I wanted the pavers, I moved them all out of the way. Using a shovel I began removing some dirt to create a very flat, level base surface.

The previous owners of the house left a fairly large pile of gravel in the backyard so instead of buying more gravel for the project I just shoveled wheelbarrows full and repurposed it. Once I had the ground level I put down a layer of gravel.

After the base layer of gravel is set it’s time for sand. I’ve found the easiest way to deal with sand is by adding it to the wheelbarrow first and then shoveling it where you want to put it. To open sand bags just stab them with your shovel and tear the bag away. Works great!

The sand was added on top of the gravel and then smoothed out.

At this point the pavers were not lining up the way I’d hoped so I busted out the stakes and string:

See how much easier it is to get a perfect line by using a piece of string as a guide?

Once your sand is on top of your gravel, it’s time to put the pavers into place. Using the string as a guide, lay the pavers on top of your sand. It was fairly simple.

In addition to doing the straight pathway I also wanted the path to wrap around the house and stop at the water hose. For the area under the faucet, water hose, and downspout I added a bunch of extra gravel to help with drainage. Usually the faucet drips a little when you are using the hose and we end up with mud everywhere, but now the water drips into rocks instead.

And here’s the finished result of the pavers by the watering hose. I reused the gutter splash blocks I blogged about here. They work really well!

All in all, it took me about 4 hours to lay the entire pathway (not including driving to True Value to pick up all the supplies). It wasn’t a difficult project, but required a fair amount of hard labor (I was sore for a few days afterward!).

I really love how clean the lines are and how evenly spaced everything is. I am drawn to very straight, clean lines and this turned out exactly how I wanted it.

One of the last steps I did was to circle back to the drain extension and add a bunch more gravel. I also added a brick to help with erosion.

Here’s a bird’s eye view of the new drain extension.

I placed the pavers away from the house as far as they are because we plan to add some box hedge along the house eventually. It will help with erosion around the house and will also look good.

That, my friends, was my adventure in path laying. I love how it turned out! It was hard work, but the end result is awesome. The backyard now looks slightly more polished (it still needs so much work) and our shoes don’t get a thick layer of mud on the bottom every time we turn the hose on or off.

A few Before and Afters (because everyone loves a good before & after!)




Click here to see all my previous True Value projects.


Build a tire swing!

(I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.)

I’ve teamed up with True Value today to show you how to make a fun and easy project that your kids (and you!) will enjoy all summer long… a tire swing!

We’ve had this old tire laying around the yard so instead of tossing it we decided it would be fun to turn it into a tire swing.

I’ve never made a tire swing before and the task seemed daunting. Believe it or not I whipped this tire swing up in less than an hour! I started with this very helpful tire swing guide:

Once I had a plan in place I headed to True Value to pick up all my supplies. Here are most of the supplies I purchased, but I did have to run back for a few more things (not pictured).

For the first step I flipped the tire over and made several small holes around the base so any water can drain out (after it rains). I don’t want a mosquito habitat hanging around (pun intended!).

After that I flipped it over and drilled three holes for the eye bolts. I used a standard drill bit and it easily cut through the rubber. Once the holes were drilled I prepped the bolts with the washer, lock washer, and nut.

Once the bolt was inserted into the tire hole I finished off the under side with another large flat washer, a locking washer, and a nut.

Here are the eye bolts after I installed them.

To hang the swing I wrapped a 4′ long chain around the tree branch, attached a locking swivel hook, attached three more chains to that, and then attached the chains to the tire swing. For each attachment I used a simple connector link.

You can buy all the pieces in many different sizes. I made sure each connector link, swivel hook, and chain were rated for multiple hundred pounds. If you make a swing make sure you buy pieces that can support your weight and won’t snap.

Our son jumped on and tried it out as soon as I was done hanging it. It worked perfectly. The swivel hook allows the tire swing to continue to spin around and around guaranteeing a nauseating experience only a child can appreciate. To say the kids are in love with this new swing is an understatement. It’s now the hit of the yard!

For even more fun summer activities and projects, visit True Value‘s project website or facebook page. They are always posting new projects.

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