It’s snowing outside right now. Not so spring-y, eh? Join me in summoning the sunshine and flowers with “It’s a Spring Thing” blog hop and link up!
This week is Joey and I had our turn to make a Spring Thing happen , and we built Atlas a magnetic house. Yep, you read that right!
So what’s a magnetic house? It’s a play house with a few layers of magnetic paint, then covered up with a vibrant color. It’s an idea I had when thinking about things we could make four our little boy. How cute would it be to create new wooden “toys” for Atlas to play with on the house? Right now we are hanging pom pom’s from the top (magnetic!) because he’s so little, and his entertainment is all visual. We are excited to make bugs, planets and space ships and rockets, forest friends, etc.
Joey had to do some trial and error to make the house work how we wanted it to, and be flexible for future alterations. For example, we knew we wanted the magnetism to be strong enough to hold pom pom’s right now, but later on, we wanted to cut out thin pieces of wood we jigsawed into said shapes above.
We also knew that after using the house as a place to have tummy time or look up at hanging shapes and textures, Atlas would want something more fort-like and we would give him more “privacy”.
In the meantime we are super excited and happy about what some wood, paint and time gave us. Here’s what to do if you want to give it a go.
Intro Joey’s handy how-to build an indoor playhouse and make it magnetic!
Alrighty. There are many pitfalls that accompany making a cube-ish shape with a triangle on top. I’ll try and save you some trouble.
First, I cut 2 different lengths of wood out of 2x1x6 boards. 8 approx. 30” and 4 approx 36”. The longer are for the width of the house and the shorter are for the height and depth. Obviously, you can make these any size you like. But do be sure to measure the door you need to get out of the room you use to build in. (More on that later)
Then, we begin to make our base. I decided on a whim to cut 45 degree angles on the edges of the base so it would seem like I knew what I was doing. This makes it a bit more difficult to line up and keep together while wielding the nail gun, so determine your threshold for danger beforehand and if you prefer you can just use the wood as is with no edits.
The next part seemed so easy in my mind. Just pop 4 pieces of wood on the corners to give the house it’s height, right? You can see what I ended up with below, but let me tell you what didn’t work so well and maybe save you the stress blister I almost gave myself working it out. First, I tried drilling a 45 degree angle hole through the upright beam and into the base in order to get a screw in there. But when I put the screw in there the head was still a good 1/8 of an inch out of the wood and if I kept going I would split the wood. So no go on that. Then I decided that the all powerful/time saving nail gun would be my savior. No. The same thing. The nail wouldn’t go deep enough and about 1/4 inch of nearly impossible to remove nail was taunting me from it’s new home. If I had made the base with the 1” side for the height instead of the 2” side, maybe I could have gone through the bottom, and that is what I suggest you do. But in my case I had to craft some Tetris pieces.
Incidentally, when I put the next level on the cube part of the house my brain regained it’s ability to see a simpler solution and I just nailed through the length of the board into the corner posts and moved on with my life. But I digress.
Now the fun part! Where problem solving went my way. Remember, I will not consult the interwebs during a project unless it is life or death. This technique, I’m sure is either outdated or readily available on any DIY website, and now it’s available here! But what fun would that have been. I felt like I had discovered how they built the pyramids. Anyway, the issue was: How am I going to get the triangle for the roof to line up with the tip in the center. Answer: Cut the 45 degree angle at the base of what will be the triangle ends and then lay that flat on top of the cube. Line up that angle flush with the piece of wood that makes the roof of the cube. Where the two pieces cross will be the center. Fun, huh… no? Just me?
So now you have a triangle on your cube. And you’ve got a point at the top. That’s gonna look ridiculous if you just slap a square piece of wood there to brace the center. So you’re going to want to fire up the table saw. Set the blade to our now favorite angle of 45 degrees and chop off the top on both sides to get you’re pointed brace. Note: It doesn’t matter if your first cut doesn’t exactly cut to the middle of the wood. Your second cut will even all that out for you. The extra piece of wood in the picture is there because the guide for my table saw wouldn’t go close enough to make the cut I needed. So you put an extra piece in to make up the difference.
Nail gun, nail gun, nail gun, and we’re done.
Except I built the house too big to get out the shop door. So I ripped the roof off and nailed it back together when it was in it’s final resting place.
I am no fan of painting. And this is no exception. And when Lana said, “Let’s make the house magnetic!” I knew it would not be as simple as the label insinuated. We chose, well, the only option at our local hardware store. Rustoleum Magnetic Primer. Now, the label clearly indicates that it will take 2 or 3 coats of primer to create any significant magnetic pull, but even at 4 coats it would barely hold a refrigerator magnet with any reliability. Mind you that the label also says it’s 3X more powerful than the previous formula! And all this is before we put the top coats of color paint on which will inevitably weaken said magnetism. Oh yeah, and the primer is BLACK! So any color you want to lay over it will be a 3 or 4 coat job as well. All in all, I say let nature make things into magnets and stick to a normal primer. Isn’t painting FUN!!!!!