DIY Embossed Word of the Year Magnets

DIY Embossed Word of the Year Magnets

Diane Gilleland

DIY Embossed Word of the Year Magnets

Many of us choose a particular word to express our main intention for the new year. If that’s you, why not keep your special word near you all year by making this shiny metal magnet? It’s an easy project that would be great to do with a group of friends.

Chipboard (use a food box from your recycle bin)
Ruler (a quilting ruler works well)
Mechanical pencil
PDF template provided (Or see the notes below to make your own word)
Masking tape or painter’s tape
Foil duct tape
Embossing tool
Alcohol-based marker (Sharpies are great)
Rubbing alcohol and cotton swabs
Adhesive-backed magnet sheets (Aleenes are great)
Clear acrylic sealer

DIY Embossed Word of the Year Magnets
Start by cutting a strip of chipboard that measures 1 ½” tall and about 1” longer than the word you’ve chosen. You can cut a word from the PDF provided, or print your own word from your computer. Just make sure the letters are about an inch tall, and the font you use has fairly thick letters (they’re easier to emboss in metal).

DIY Embossed Word of the Year Magnets

Cut a length of foil duct tape that’s about ½” longer than your chipboard. Peel off the backing and then center the chipboard over the tape. Stick them together.

(Incidentally, if you’re using part of a printed food box, stick the printed side to the tape.

DIY Embossed Word of the Year Magnets
Carefully fold the corners of the tape over to the back of the chipboard. Then, fold the edges of the tape over to the back as well. I like to bend the tape against my work surface to get a nice, straight edge. Always handle the edges of metal tape carefully – they can be sharp.

When all four edges of the tape are folded over, burnish them down with the back of your thumbnail or a spoon.

DIY Embossed Word of the Year Magnets
Tape your printed word over the front side now (the side that’s covered in metal tape). Take a moment to make sure the word is straight and centered. Then, use a mechanical pencil to trace all the letters. Take your time with this step – the more accurately you can trace the letters, the better your finished magnet will look.

DIY Embossed Word of the Year Magnets
See how your traced lines create a light impression of your word in the metal? Now let’s add some background texture around it. With an embossing tool, start doodling around the letters. I use a scribble motion, as you see in the photo. If you go back and forth over it, it creates a pebbly texture. Carefully work your way in between each letter as shown.

The traced outline you made in the previous step will help keep you from scribbling over your letters. And don’t worry if your letters get a bit wonky – the whole effect is nicer if they’re a little organic-looking.

DIY Embossed Word of the Year Magnets
Once you’ve scribbled a background, take a moment and re-draw the outline of each letter with your embossing tool. Here, I’ve done this to the first three letters – see how much more they stand out now?

DIY Embossed Word of the Year Magnets
Finally, emboss lines radiating out from the scribbled area to the edges.

DIY Embossed Word of the Year Magnets
To add a little color, use an alcohol-based marker to color in the pebbly part of the background. If you make a stray mark, don’t worry – it’ll clean right up with rubbing alcohol.

DIY Embossed Word of the Year Magnets

I like to feather the edges of the color a bit. Moisten a cotton swab with rubbing alcohol, squeezing out any excess. Gently brush it outward from the center, which will soften the ink at the edges and bleed it into the radiating lines a little.

DIY Embossed Word of the Year Magnets

Cut a piece of magnet sheet that’s ¼” smaller on all sides than your magnet. Peel off the backing and stick it to the back of your magnet. Spray a couple thin coats of clear acrylic sealer over the front.

Stick your magnet to something metal, and then go conquer 2013!


Diane Gilleland - CraftyPod

Diane Gilleland

Diane Gilleland is a crafty omnivore who blogs, podcasts, makes videos, publishes things, and teaches classes at

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Rachel Hobson is a freelance craft writer and editor who is obsessed with hand embroidery and all things geektastic and funny. She has a passion for creating community through crafting. She's also a huge space geek, and enjoys living five minutes from Houston's Johnson Space Center where she can get her fill of rockets any time she pleases.


  • Reply January 15, 2013

    Meryl Ann Butler

    wow fun! I’m gonna go do this with the 11yo grandkid, she’ll love it…good idea for mother’s and Father’s day gift from kids, too!

    • Reply January 15, 2013

      Rachel Hobson

      That’s a great idea, Meryl! Hope y’all have fun! :)

  • Reply January 15, 2013

    Aviva / Foster's Beauties

    Brilliant project. As always, Diane, you make it look soooooo easy. :) I haven’t come across foil duct tape; any suggestions for where to find it? Off to google it now, but would love to find it somewhere locally. :)

  • Reply January 16, 2013

    Sister Diane

    Thank you, Aviva! You can usually find metal duct tape at a hardware store – especially a big box like Home Depot. Look in the heating/air conditioning section, and then see if there’s an aisle of general tapes.

    Meryl Ann, I would love to see what you and your granddaughter come up with together!

  • […] @sisterdiane of CraftyPod has a guest post on Whimseybox that’s a cute DIY tutorial for an embossed word-of-the-year magnet. […]

  • Reply July 22, 2013

    Jennifer S

    I tried this today. It turned out pretty cute here’s the link. Even better my sister wants to use a few to decorate her classroom this year! Thanks for the idea

  • […] also found this cool embossing idea here.  The tutorial advised using foil tape.  I used aluminum foil because I had it on hand at home.  […]

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