Greetings, Tatertots & Jello readers! I’m a huge fan of Jen and her incredibly creative project ideas, so I’m thrilled to be a guest here today to share a project with you as part of her series on Dinner Dilemmas.
“What’s for Dinner?” If these three little words strike terror in your heart, why not find a fun way to answer that question for yourself and your family? Today I’m going to show you how to turn junk mail magnets into a cute set of meal planning magnets.
I designed this project to be simple and affordable. I’ve even provided a free printable PDF for you. As an added bonus, you’ll keep all of those junk mail magnets out of the landfill!
- Junk mail magnets (the best are those awful giant magnets from personal injury lawyers that are always glued to the back cover of the phone book, but any flat magnets will do: pizza delivery, dentists’ offices, credit card solicitations, etc.)
- Wide packing tape (I used the glossy kind)
- Decorative paper (I used 6 x 6 scrapbook paper)
- (optional–not pictured)
- Computer and printer
1. Start by flipping through your recipe file and listing your favorite “old standby” recipes. This tutorial will teach you how to make 35 magnets, but you can make as few as you’d like; you can always add more later.
2. Open Microsoft Word and create a table that is 5 squares wide by 7 squares high (my “squares” were each 1.25″ x 1.5″). Type the name of one meal in each of the squares. Keep it simple–just name the main dish. You might also want to make several magnets that say “Left-Overs”, “Dinner Out”, “Take Out” and/or “New Recipe”. I used a 22 point French Script MT font, and I centered the meal names in the squares.
4. Using scissors, cut a magnet to roughly 1.5″(w) by 1.75″(h). Cut a piece of scrapbook paper to the same dimensions. If you really want to annoy your friends & family with your fastidiousness, you can color code your magnets. I used yellow for meals that are protein-based, and blue for “carby” meals such as pasta dinners; that way, I can tell at a glance if my week is balanced (I’m a , so I need to be mindful about protein).
5. Using double-sided tape–or very good fine motor skills–to keep the layers in place, layer the magnet, scrapbook paper, and meal name.
6. “Laminate” the whole thing with packing tape. To do this, cut the tape a little bit longer than the magnet, cut off all four corners of the tape, and fold toward the back (see below). This step can be time-consuming, but it’s mindless enough that it’s a good while-you’re-watching-a-movie project.
7. If you’d like to use my days of the week and the “What’s For Dinner” header, you can download a free PDF from my website here. To “laminate” shapes with rounded edges using packing tape, use “V” shaped notches to navigate the curves.
8. Arrange the current week’s magnets on the front of your fridge–keep other meal magnets on the side of the fridge for planning future weeks’ meals. Some of my readers with stainless steel refrigerators have written to say that they used a cookie sheet to display their magnets. To further streamline your meal planning, you can make your own customized, pre-printed grocery list with the instructions that I provided here.