When my son started trying to make deals with me on when to do homework and when to go outside and play -or use electronics- I knew I needed to create a daily schedule board for him. I don’t want to be so rigid, but I also want to teach him that we can’t do it all. Sometimes, we need to compromise or change things around. This DIY magnetic board schedule turned out to be a fun project to do.
At first, I thought about just writing the schedule on a dry-erase board, but I wanted it to be more ‘interactive’. I had this idea of little magnetic words, to make planning fun and easy for a 7-year-old boy. The magnet sheets are inexpensive and easy to print at home and placing and swapping activities is a breeze.
Here’s how you can DIY your own magnetic board schedule too.
Materials for the Magnetic Board
I searched for a framed pre-made magnetic board, but they were either too small for my project, or too pricey. So I decided to make my own. Here is a list of materials you will need.
- 1 Framed fabric pinboard – I purchased mine at my local Home Goods.
- Outside dimensions: 25 in x 20 in
- Inside Dimensions: 22.5 in x 17.5 in
Note: it is important you find a pinboard with these same dimensions or slightly bigger (but not smaller) in order for you to be able to fit an entire Monday through Sunday calendar with 13 time-slots
- 1 – 24 in x 3 ft galvanized steel sheet
- Tin snips (not pictured)
- Spray adhesive – preferably high-strength.
- Painter’s tape (not pictured)
- Crafting scissors
DIY Magnetic Board Schedule
- Measure the inside of your pinboard – My pinboard’s inside dimensions are 22.5 in x 17.5 in
- With the tin snips, cut the metal sheet 1/4 in shorter on each side. My metal sheet final dimensions are 22 in x 17 in
- Tape the frame plus 1/4 in towards the inside, to protect the area from spray adhesive.
You can also place the sheet down on the board, and tape around the perimeter (without taping the sheet down).
4. After taping, remove the metal sheet to reveal the area that will be sprayed.
5. In a well-ventilated area, spray the adhesive on both surfaces (pinboard and metal sheet) following the instructions on the spray adhesive can.
6. With your knuckles, touch each surface. If the adhesive is tacky to the touch and it does not transfer to your skin, you are ready to stick the parts together. Make enough pressure on the galvanized sheet metal to ensure adherence and remove the tape.
Wait for 15-20 minutes before handling the board. After that, you can wipe the metal with a mild surface cleaner to remove fingerprints.
Design a Daily Schedule on the Magnetic Board
The daily schedule I created was Monday through Sunday from 8:00 a.m to 9:00 p.m. This meant I needed a table composed of 8 columns and 15 rows. To create the table, I used thin washi tape.
- Yardstick, measuring tape, or long ruler
- Fine point marker
- Decorative washi tape 5 or 6 mm wide – These are great for planners and all kinds of other crafts like this DIY magnetic board schedule.
- Magnetic sheets
- Inkjet color printer
- Craft scissors –> these are my 10 must-have craft tools and supplies.
- Paper trimmer (optional)
- Magnetic Tin (optional)
- Printable schedule headers (time and days). Free download below!
You will need to have access to a word processor (Word, Pages or PowerPoint), where you can type your specific activities. Just create a text box, type in the activity, and add a color to the background. Measure the size of each cell on the board, and adjust the size of your rectangle accordingly.
Trace the Schedule on the Magnetic Board
- With a yardstick or measuring tape, measure the length of the galvanized sheet and divide it by 8 (7 days of the week, plus an extra column for the time slots). Make a small mark on each division on both ends, top, and bottom of the sheet.
2. Along the same lines, measure the height of the galvanized sheet and divide it into 15 (14 time slots from 8:00 a.m to 9:00 p.m. and one extra row for the header). Make a small mark on each division on both ends, left, and right of the sheet.
3. With the decorative tape, proceed to make straight lines from one point to another.
Use your imagination, and as many types of tape as you’d like. I happened to run out of tape in the middle of the project and headed to my local dollar store for more.
Work on vertical lines first, or intercalate to make a lattice effect.
Your final board will look something like this.
4. On a magnet sheet, print the schedule’s headers.
5. Cut the headers with a paper trimmer or scissors.
My paper trimmer cut nicely through the magnet sheets, and I did the job in no time. I used the scissor for cuts on the short side between words.
Here is a look at the finished magnetic board and schedule.
Adding Activities to the Schedule
Adding activities to your DIY magnetic board schedule is a bit more personal. Here is a bank of words I created and printed on the magnet sheets. These are examples of activities you can print, the sky is the limit.
Use these as a guide. I have made different files for different groups and they will soon be available for sale in my shop. You can find them all here. These are:
- Daily Activities
- School-related activities
- Fine Arts
- Sports and Extra Curricular Activities
- Fun and Recreation
- Family Time
- Play outside
- Play with toys
- Video games
- Friends names
- Pizza Nite
- Movie Nite
- Watch TV
- Help Mom
- Help Dad
- Tidy Up
- Clean Up
Finally, I used the magnetic tin to store all the extra magnetic strips that aren’t being used at the moment.
Here is a look at the FULL schedule. In case you are wondering, I don’t homeschool. My son attends a school with a dual language program. Each day, he starts class in a different classroom (either Spanish or English). This is a good reminder for both of us. The same applies for the Fine Arts rotations.
The moment I showed my son the board, he loved it. It’s almost like a board game for him. My main goal with this project is to teach him time management, responsibility, and most of all, I want him to learn to compromise.
When he looks at a schedule, and future activities, he’s learning to adjust to the current circumstances, looking forward to rewards such as play time, and playdates. He is now understanding that sometimes we must sacrifice some things in order to be able to do something else.