Klein Command Center, Part 2: DIY Magnet Board & Art

It is certainly feeling like October around here! Just driving down the back roads here in northern New Jersey makes me crave apple and pumpkin flavored everything (more specifically, apple cider donuts – please and thank you).  Dan and I got to spend the weekend celebrating fall’s majesty at the Big Brew Beer Festival in Morristown with my friend Cyd from New Jersey Isn’t Boring, which included LOTS of pumpkin beer and hard cider (yum, thanks Cyd!).  We also made time to go on our annual apple picking trip to Riamede Farm in Chester, where I consumed the aforementioned apple cider donuts.  All in all, it was a great weekend.

October 11-1

Of course, no weekend would be complete without at least some semblance of a DIY project, so let’s just get right down to it.  I shared with you last week my burning desire to create a Kitchen Command Center, and I’ve also posted my never ending kitchen to-do list quite a few times.

After creating our weekly menu board, I flip flopped back and forth about whether I wanted to create a paper rack/file holder or a magnet board.  Based on the fact that Dan and I will soon be replacing our refrigerator with a stainless steel version (not all are magnetic), I decided that creating a new magnetized space might be nice for posting up thank you cards, event invitations, and other fun items to display.  I thought it would look more fun and colorful than simply building and hanging a wooden mail organizer.

After looking back at our original command center layout, I decided that I wanted to hang the magnet board on the right in a vertical position so that it would align nicely with the menu and soon-to-be-created piece of art.  I got a simple white 11×14 frame from Target for $12.99.  Keeping this frame simple was important to offset our menu in a more interesting, patterned frame.

I recently re-read one of my favorite past blog posts from Young House Love about their office organizing experience, and I remembered that they simply went to Home Depot to get a galvanized steel sheet to serve as a magnet board.  Well, I have to admit: it was just as easy as they explained in their post.  After searching through a few aisles, we found a section of steel sheets on an end cap.  I brought a magnet with me to test the strength of the sheet, and it worked perfectly.  For just $10, we brought the sheet home and I got to work.

First, I measured the frame insert and traced its outline on the metal sheet itself.  This was the easy part.

Next, I put on long sleeves and thick gardening gloves (per Dan’s safety recommendation) to trim the metal sheet with trim scissors.  This was pretty rough.  The scissors only cut through a small piece of metal at a time, and the sharp edges of the freshly cut sheet curled up and made this a slightly difficult process.  I asked Dan to help me get started and I finished the cut on my own.  He used a wood file to soften the edges before I slid the magnet board into the frame.

Aside from the trimming, it was pretty easy to pull together a magnet board.  To decorate, I put up a piece of my niece’s artwork and a wedding thank you card.  While I liked the way it looked as a display, I thought it was missing something that made it feel like more of an actual “command center.”

I did an internet search for some dry erase magnets so I could keep a to-do list on the magnet board, or at very least keep track of those “to keep”  or “to sign” pieces of mail in the kitchen area.  The best part is that I can easily erase and swap out magnets whenever I want!  I bought a pack of 25 magnets on Amazon that were 2″ long by 7/8″ tall.  Perfect for just listing a few upcoming tasks in this area, and it looks a little bit nicer than having post-its strewn all around the kitchen.  Does anyone else have an all-consuming post-it addiction?  Just me?  Moving on…

Next, I had to add the finishing touches on our simple, but practical Klein Kitchen Command Center: a piece of art!  For starters, I grabbed a beige 4×6 Target frame from my never ending frame collection.  I busted out the white gloss spray paint and updated it to match the rest of the decor in the command center.

When getting crafty and making art, I always look for a simple piece of inspiration to get me started.  Usually it’s a fun pattern or design element that I really like.  This time, I found this post on Pinterest from Lauren Conrad: a wallpaper with lots of arrows and fun metallic colors.  I originally wanted to display some keys (like a “key to my heart” kind of concept) in this frame, but I changed my mind when I remembered that I had this adorable cat stamp, which was a souvenir that my brother brought back for me after completing his cross-country trip!

As soon as I saw it, I knew I had to add some cat art to my kitchen (really, we all could use a little more cat art in our lives).  Before adding the cats to the mix, I traced out the entire background pattern inspired by Pinterest on a piece of white cardstock paper that fit the size of the 4×6 frame.  I saw that each arrow had six lines, and I measured out different sections of the cardstock to keep things nice and even.  I drew the arrows freehand, so they weren’t exactly perfect, but I liked the hand-drawn look much better.  I used a silver Gelly Roll gel pen (yes, I still have these, and still love them) to color everything in.

Next, I made two cat stamps on a separate piece of paper.  Wherever the ink didn’t quite fill in, I colored in separately with a black Sharpie marker, and it looked just perfect.  I was careful not to color in the cute cat eyes, nose, and whiskers.  Aren’t they just adorable?  I drew a heart freehand as well, and then I cut everything out very carefully.  I used a simple glue stick to put everything together.

I put the finishing touches on the Kitchen Command Center and we hung the magnet board and cat frame.  After some deliberation, Dan and I decided not to hang up the menu.  We’ll be changing it on a weekly basis, so constantly taking it off the wall (and putting it back on) would get old quickly.  Instead, I just leaned it up against the wall in the space where I was going to hang it anyway.  I think it still looks pretty darn cute.

Hooray! Just checking another kitchen to-d0 off the list.


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