Monday, July 21, 2014

Baby Boy Nursery: Magnetic Road DIY

As you all probably know by now, we are expecting a little boy coming pretty soon! So soon in fact that we have kicked our nursery preparation into high gear. I will post the link to the last nursery DIY post at the bottom of this one, and when the nursery is done I will do a blog post with a photo tour, AND I now have a YouTube channel where I will post a FULL nursery tour. So without any more hesitation, here is my magnetic road DIY for a nursery!


2) Paint roller the size of the road you want (or if you're doing a large square, any size will do)

3) 2 pieces of Chalk

4) Painters tape

5) Metal skewer

6) White paint

7) Small paint brush or square sponge

Step 1: Make you're stencil.
So stencil isn't the right word for this, but oh well. Basically what you are going to do is make a contraption with your paint roller, skewer, painters tape and chalk that will allow you to draw the outline of the road on the wall.  If you can do this free-hand, by all means do...I however have absolutely no drawings skills so I needed this contraption.

You want to make sure you have a sturdy metal skewer, that is still thin enough to be bent (see below).

You then want to bend the skewer to match the bend of the handle of the paint roller.  Once you have the correct bend you will tape your skewer to the handle with painter's tape, MAKE SURE IT'S SECURE. Then you will use the painter's tape to tape the chalk onto each side of the contraption.  You will tape the chalk to the OUTSIDE of the original handle, and the other chalk to the INSIDE of the bent skewer (see picture below).  This will let you roll the paint roller on the wall and have the chalk draw a road that had an even width all the way through.

NOTE: I found that the chalk did the best job when I held the skewer and the metal part of the handle together-think a choke up hold on a bat.  This made sure that the chalk pieces where secure and consistently touched the wall.

Step 2: Draw your road.
Now that your road roller has been made you can start drawing your road.  Make sure you tape off any door frames before you start drawing so you know exactly what your road is going to look like.  I also suggest keeping a paper towel close by so that way if you mess up you can just erase the chalk.

 This is what part of my road looked like after I drew it, so even!

Step 3: Start painting.
Once your road (or whatever shape) has been drawn, you can start painting! You need to make sure the paint is VERY well mixed.  Magnetic primer is magnetic because it contains lots of little metal flakes in it to make it magnetic.  So you want to make sure you have mixed the primer very well to make sure the metal flakes are evenly distributed throughout the primer.  First, I shook the can for a few minutes before opening it. Then, once I opened the can I stirred the primer with a paint mixer, making sure to really dig into the bottom of the can. Don't be surprised if clumps of metal are on the mixer, I just scraped the flakes off on the rim of the can and then mixed them back into the primer. I initially mixed with the paint mixer for about two minutes just to be sure everything was mixed in, once I didn't get anymore metal clumps on the wooden mixer, and the paint was a dark grey color I was done.  I would then mice the primer right before I poured it into the paint trey.  This helped keep the metal flakes in place and evenly distributed because they will sink back to the bottom.

When you start painting you want to do LIGHT layers. I did three LIGHT layers for the road and that was enough to do three walls worth of road and I still had primer left over! When I painted, I would first follow the path of the road, rolling horizontally, and then before I put more primer on my roller I would go over the area I just painted vertically.  This helped to evenly distribute the primer along my outline and made sure the layers were thin.

I allowed 30-45 minutes fry time between each layer, usually by the time I got to the end of my road the beginning was dry enough for another coat.  You don't want to go any longer than that because the primer will dry on your roller and it won't be any good. Oh! And don't expect to use this roller again, once the magnetic primer dries on it, it's pretty much done.

Step 4: Paint Details
After the third coat, I let the primer dry over night just to make sure that it was dry all the way through. I then began painting the white details that would make my road look like...a road. For the detailing I used Behr premium plus ultra pure white interior satin enamel and the ultra white color really popped with the black.  I used a small paint brush and traced the outline of the road (I just followed the chalk lines) and I also drew the dashed lines that go down the center of the road.  If I were to do it again, I would use the side of a square painting sponge so that way the dashes would have been more uniform, but it's not that noticeable.

Before I painted the dashed lines I tested the strength of the magnetic primer.  I put a kitchen magnet that had a plaster strawberry my daughter had made to make sure the primer would hold it up...and it did.

The reviews on the website said that they used 7-8 coats of primer and had difficulty getting magnetics to stick.  I only did three layers and didn't have any problems. I can think of two reasons why the reviewers had a difficult time:

1) Their coats were too thick. If your primer is too thick it will take longer to dry all the way through, and the primer won't be 100% effective until it's completely dry. Also if it's too thick the metal flakes may not be evenly distributed resulting in patches of less or non-magnetic space.

2) They did not mix the primer well enough, or keep it mixed.  If you don't mix the primer very well before you start painting the metal flakes will primarily be at the bottom so you may end up having matches of less or non-magnetic space.  This is also the reason why I suggest stirring the primer right before you pour it into the paint tray. This will keep the flakes suspended in the liquid primer.  

The can is very heavy, so I don't think it's due to a lake of metal in the primer. The can probably weighed about 10 pounds when I purchased it, which is pretty heavy if you think about it!

Final Product

Now all I have to do is put the magnets on the cars and put them on the road! Keep checking in for more nursery DIY's and for the final photo tour where you can see the room in it's entirety AND the full length of the road! Also don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you can be kept up to date with videos.  The videos will usually compliment blog posts and provide more in depth information, but there will also be some videos that are separate from any post!

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