A while back, I posted about starting a small redecorating project at home (here), a redo of our guest room. While I've made most of the major decisions, including selecting and purchasing the wall paint, various things (most importantly, laziness) have prevented me from going forward. It's not totally a bad thing....since I waited before jumping into the project, a little moving around in other rooms as well as some new ideas have led to some minor changes in my design plan, all for the better.
Like a lot of people, I don't have any space to waste in my home, so my guest room has to do double duty. Not only does it provide a place for guest, it also serves as a sewing room. Actually sewing room makes it seem like I sew a lot more than I do, but I have found it helpful in the past to have a place where I can leave the machine set up and store my sewing stuff nearby. Anyway, while planning my sewing area, I realized that the wall against which the sewing table rests would be the perfect place for an inspiration board.
I've always loved them, but never put together one for this house. It would also save me the cost and effort of selecting art for the guest room (this wall is the only solid wall where art could go), as well as helping to disguise the awkward placement of a hard-wired sconce). At first, I thought of just using those cork adhesive squares on the wall and surrounding the sconce with them, but I haven't had good luck with those in the past, and have found removing them later to be a pain. Isn't it ironic....they advhesive they come with is both so light that some cork falls right off, but then others stick so well that it's almost impossible to remove the adhesive without damaging the wall. Then, one day in the internet rabbit hole, I came across a solution...magnetic primer....I could just make the whole wall (about 6'x8') a giant magnet board.
I have now done that. Well not quite....I've primed the wall, but not top coated it. However, with the priming experience fresh, I wanted to share my feelings about it.
Magnetic Primer: Grade C
The primer I used was by Rust-oleum. I have since learned that they make/made (I'm not sure if it's still in production) a latex version. The version I used was not that...it had a xilene base.
1. Did it work? Yes, but barely. That is, after following the directions and applying 3 coats, it WILL hold a magnet, BUT: 1. the magnet must be strong, 2. the magnet itself must be light (none of those decorative souvenir ones would work, and 3. the item being pinned must be light--magazine pages will work; thick or large items are iffy.
2. Just be aware, this is NOTHING like chalkboard paint. I mean, this should be obvious, but these treatments are often linked together, so I think it's natural to think of them as partners. This is important, because I've used a lot of chalkboard paint, and it's super easy to work with, and I have always had easy, good results. This primer is nothing like that, in fact:
3. This is some nasty crap to work with. NASTY. I've used oil paint and some strong primers before, but this xilene stuff takes the cakes. It's very smelly and very hard to clean up. Be sure you wear complete protection: long sleeves, gloves, eye gear, a head scarf and completely screen adjacent areas with plenty of drop cloths. This is crucial because not only is this stuff toxic, but because of the iron fillings in the primer, it spatters tiny droplets like nothing else I've ever worked with. I didn't realize how bad it would be and wore short sleeves, within minutes, by arms were covered and I had to scrub them with paint remover...further, later that night, my scalp began burning and I realized that the primer must have spattered into my hair. Please, please learn from my mistake and completely cover yourself. And the smell is strong. STRONG. Be sure to ventilate area and do not plan to use room for several days.
4. Have the paint store shake the can, and use immediately. The way this stuff works is that it's normal primer with iron filings suspended in it. Therefore, to get an even enough layer of metal filings to be magnetic, the iron must be distributed throughout. On the box, they emphasize the importance of stirring the primer before and during use, but honestly, the iron mixture is so thick stirring it in to a uniform thickness is very difficult with just a stir stick. But if it's not mixed well enough: 1. magnets won't stick, and 2. you will end up with lumps of fillings on the wall.
5. Be aware that it will change the texture of your wall. First, you need to know that it needs a pretty smooth surface to work, so if you're putting it on a wall with anything more than a light orange peel texture, it won't work. What it will do to the wall is give it a sandy/ slightly gritty texture. The grit is very fine and should be evenly distributed, but it is noticible.
6. You will need multiple coats, at least three. And it does not go far. I used the entire quart putting three thin coats on an area that was 6'x8'.
7. This primer is very, very, very dark. This is important because top coats can affect the quality of the magnets hold, so you want as few as possible. Therefore, if you plan on using a light paint, this could present a problem.
I definitely like the idea of this product, and I can't really say that it didn't work or that I'm completely unhappy with it. However, it was much more of an ordeal to work with than I could have imagined, and I'm not sure that I would have used it if I had known. I definitely don't think that this would be the great solution for a kid's playroom to hang posters and drawings that it seems. It's so toxic, I'd hesitate to use it around small children. And given toddlers' propensity to swallow small objects, the fact that I would have to use small, strong magnets would also give me pause. If you're interested, my advice is to read on-line reviews and remarks and proceed with caution and low expectations. I'll let you know that after enough time passes for me to forget how awful this was to work with if I still think it wasn't worth it.
all inspiration boards via pinterest.