If you’re looking for a one-of-a kind gift that a child can make, these toddler-made, hand-painted fridge magnets are beautiful.
I love coming up with cool gift ideas for kids to make for their parents. And the hooligans LOVE making presents for their moms and dads.
Kid-made gifts are just the best, especially when you can really use the item that your child has made for you.
Little ones take such pride in the work they put into their crafts, so when you can proudly use and display it in your home, it’s pretty special.
Making homemade fridge magnets is fun! You may recall our fish fridge magnets. More recently, as a Christmas for their parents, my toddlers and preschoolers made these hand-painted fridge magnets. They had a lot of fun with the process, and results were gorgeous.
One of the things I love most about kids’ art with young kids is how naturally beautiful it is. They make it look so effortless, don’t they? They splash and splotch and scribble, and it looks like a masterpiece.
Picasso once said “It took me four years to paint like Raphael, but a lifetime to paint like a child”. Truer words were never said.
Try as I might, my paintings never look as carefree and authentic as the toddlers’.
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For our magnets, we used small, rectangular, flat canvas panels that I purchased at an art store. They were about 50 cents apiece. I had a look on amazon to see if I could some for you, but the smallest they had were these 4×4 inch square panels
Our canvases were about 2×3. If you’d like to make some like ours, check out your local art supply shop or craft chain like Michaels or Hobby Lobby.
To give you visual, you can see how big our magnets were compared to the size of a nickel.
Painting our magnets:
To start, the hooligans chose the paint colours that they wanted to use. One of the hooligans’ favourite things about painting is standing in front of the cabinet of paint colours and choosing their favourites.
For this project, like most of the projects we do here, we used acrylic craft paints. I love the vibrant colours, quality and versatility of acrylics.
The hooligans get plenty of opportunities here to explore colours and colour mixing, but today, I wanted to control the “mixing” part a little.
Because they would be giving these magnets as a gifts, I really didn’t want them to blend all their colours into that infamous shade of “preschool brown” that we all know so well. Here’s how I prevented that from happening:
I had them paint in “layers”.
Preventing “preschool brown”:
First they chose a base colour, and they covered their magnet with it. When they were happy with the way it looked, they age it a blast with our trusty hairdryer. In less than a minute, the paint was dry.
“A hairdryer in the craft room?”
Yes! Pick up a cheap one if you have to, and keep it handy in your craft room or classroom. We keep ours on a hook near the craft table, and we use it all the time for drying our projects. It’s great for speeding up drying time so we don’t have to wait too long in between steals when we’re crafting.
With the first layer of paint dry, they added their second colour. They painted as much or as little as they wanted to, and then they dried that colour.
They continued painting and drying their layers until they decided that their work was done.
When the final layer of paint was dry, I applied a quick coat of matte craft varnish
to protect the magnets and give them a nice sheen.
A coat of varnish always transforms a piece by adding a certain depth and richness to the paint colours.
Then with a hot glue gun, I glued a business card type of fridge magnet to the back of each canvas.
To wrap their magnets, each hooligan made a piece of funky, custom wrapping paper. Doesn’t it look cool?
You can find out how we made it here.
And now, check out these terrific heart-shaped photo magnets to make and give!
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. In 1997, Jackie stepped out of the corporate world to start a family and to open her own home daycare. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.