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DIY Project: Instagram Magnets

by Maxwell Tielman

Last December, my boyfriend and I drove with our dogs to Buffalo to celebrate Christmas with my family. We only planned to stay through the 26th, but Buffalo being Buffalo, there was a massive snowstorm, and we found ourselves stranded in the Queen City for a few extra days. My boyfriend and I were both happy about this surprising turn of events but for entirely different reasons. I was happy because the snowbanks piled up outside my house gave me the perfect excuse to lay back with some hot tea and a warm blanket and just unwind, something the whirlwind holidays hadn’t allowed. My boyfriend, on the other hand, had been trying to get his obsessively organized hands on my mother’s dusty, overcrowded kitchen, and these extra days presented a wonderful opportunity. A person who practically reaches nirvana when allowed to organize anything, my boyfriend immediately took it upon himself to de-clutter, clean and reorganize my mother’s entire kitchen. Although my mother couldn’t quite see what my boyfriend’s exacting, microscopic eyes could, she was completely game to let him have his way with her space. Except when it came to her refrigerator.

Covered in magnets, report cards and photographs ranging from the present day to probably the seventeenth century, my mother’s refrigerator is a veritable time capsule, an archaeological dig akin to the great pyramids or the caves at Lascaux. The amount of stuff enveloping my mother’s refrigerator — almost enough to entirely obscure it from view — was the target of much of my boyfriend’s kitchen hostility. Still, it was the one thing that my mother absolutely refused to let him alter. To her, her refrigerator functioned not just as a vessel to keep foods fresh but also as a memory keeper — something she could look at while getting a glass of water and reminisce about life.

In a way, with our iPhones and Facebook accounts, we’ve lost some of this. The act of going to the drugstore to pick up photos and then running home to tack up the best ones is fading into obscurity, right along with printed books and CD players. I’m not usually one to get sentimental over obsolete technology, but there is something to be said about an image that isn’t on a screen — one that you can hold in your hands and look at to raise your spirits on a bad day. Today, the family refrigerator has been replaced by Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Still, that doesn’t mean that these images can’t be re-appropriated into the physical realm. To honor the lost art of the refrigerator photo, I decided to craft some magnets from printed Instagram photos. The results are not only beautiful, but they’re also remarkably cheap and easy to achieve. — Max

Directions continue after the jump . . .


  • Instagram account
  • computer with Photoshop or a similar image-processing software installed (Gimp is a nice free alternative.)
  • scissors
  • magnet tape



1. Import the Instagram photos you want to use to your computer. You can do this by connecting your smartphone to your computer or simply e-mailing the photos to yourself.

2. In Photoshop or a similar program, create a document that is 6 x 4 inches at 300 dpi.

3. Open your Instagram photos in Photoshop one at a time and resize them so that they’re 2 x 2 inches at 300 dpi. In Photoshop, this can be done by selecting Image >> Image Size and adjusting the numbers within the “Document Size” dialogue box.

4. Copy your Instagram photos and paste them into your 6 x 4 document so there are six images total — three across and two down. Save your document as a .jpg file.

5. Upload your file to an online printing service. We used Walgreens’ online one-hour photo service, which allows you to pick up your prints in-store on the same day. Many other pharmacies and stores like Target also offer services like these. Have your file(s) printed as 6 x 4 prints. For three prints (a total of 18 Instagram images), we paid only 69¢!

6. Once your prints are picked up, simply cut out your Instagram images using a pair of scissors or an X-Acto knife. If you’d like, you can attach the images to squares of cardboard to make them sturdier.

7. Attach two strips of magnetic tape (available at craft stores) to the back of your prints.

8. Attach to your refrigerator or any magnetic surface. BOOM! Done! Your retro-styled Instagram photos are even more retro!

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