Magnetic Desk Organizer/pinboard Set

5 Materials
$40
2 Days
Easy

Coral all your desk clutter with an old satellite dish, couple of magnets and some cake boards.

I found this beauty lying next to the rubbish bins at an apartment complex. I couldn’t believe my luck, satellite dishes are highly sought after by scrap metal recyclers of whom there are many roaming the streets. This time I got there first.

Above is my youngest’s desk on a good day. The flamingo pinboard was an earlier botched craft attempt and everything including nail polish remover is on display. Time to banish the clutter and the disfigured flamingoes (their legs are unnaturally short, I don’t think they would wade well).

Clean and paint a satellite dish

I unscrewed all the unnecessary bits from the dish, washed it and gave it a coat or two of pink chalk paint followed by a sealer. The sealer is important since an organiser is by default going to be touched a lot and chalk paint loves grease. It might also scratch when for instance, you take the scissors off.

Find some kick-ass magnets

Let me say from the get-go that these are not fridge magnets! No, they are small atom bombs of pulling power, the type that you don’t put in your handbag with your phone or remote car keys because the car won’t start and your credit cards might be wiped.


I bought 3 different types from a specialist magnet supplier. The grip magnets pictured above have arms into which screws can fit, they have a 5kg pull-off force and a shear force 90% of the pull force. I also bought some with hooks (8kg pull force) and normal coin sized disks (3.4kg).


When buying magnets, ensure that they are not only strong in pull-off force, but also in shear force, otherwise your containers are going to slide down when you add the stationery. You could even go a bit stronger than 3.4kg on the disks but the stronger the magnet the more pricey.

Craft some magnetized containers

I used some plastic body lotion pots as containers. I cut the thread parts off with a hack saw and then sanded and painted them with chalk paint. You could just spray paint them after priming with plastic primer. Then only did I use my Dremel VersaTip with a soldering attachment to melt a hole into the plastic - much easier than drilling but there are some fumes. Strictly speaking you should make the holes before painting but I changed the design midway through.

I put the magnet on the outside of the pot with the grip through the hole and secured it with a washer and screw. Because the screw was a tad too long you will see that my two containers fall forward when hung. I thought this is actually a good thing but if this bothers you use a shorter screw.

I also added some pebbles as decoration. Use superglue to do this, hot glue may not be strong enough.

Make the pinboards and pins

I did a separate tutorial on the cake board pinboards.


They are super easy to make and are a great addition to the whole wall design. The only thing I didn’t describe is how I made the drawing pins. I took standard bright pins and painted the heads with nail varnish. When dried I stuck a pebble on each with E600.

Hang the boards

I hung the pinboards with velcro that I glued directly to the wall - much more secure than hooks. The satellite dish already has 4 holes in it. I used the centre two to place rawl bolts. I covered all the holes with magnets.

Hang the stationery

This was the most fun part because you can really get creative. I hung the sellotape from a hook by a ribbon. The scissors and stapler went against a disk magnet (double check that your magnets are strong enough before you buy them).

The perspex holder had a hole drilled in it and a grip magnet inserted. The ruler also hangs from a hook. Just remember not to bring any electronic equipment too close though.

The stones make the holders a bit heavier than normal but I really like them. I am also mad about the unusual combination of soft pink and neon.

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