How to make upcycled magnetic ceiling storage

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Wallet, pocket knife … where’d those keys go? All those things you carry in your pockets can be easily stored when you come home using this creative craft that turns the magnets from an old hard drive into a handy, useful excerpt from Dude Crafts by Mike Warren.


Magnetic Ceiling Storage

How to make upcycled magnetic ceiling storage
Upcycled magnetic ceiling storage in action | Photography © 2018 Mike Warren

After a hard day of work, you could keep your everyday carry (EDC) in a bowl by the door, but it’s sometimes hard to see (and remember) whether you actually placed your keys in the bowl. A magnetic storage solution not only keeps your EDC tidy and out of the way but also allows you to see at a glance whether you’ve stowed your things away. This magnetic storage doesn’t have to be on the ceiling — it works just as well on a door or under a desk.

Materials and Tools

  • Strong magnets
  • Screwdriver (if needed)
  • Nuts and washers
  • Needle and thread
  • Paracord
  • Heat-shrink tubing (optional)
Photography © 2018 Mike Warren

1. You can buy strong magnets, but you can also easily find them inside almost all discarded electronics that have motors. Old computer hard drives have very powerful magnets inside that can be removed and repurposed in a few different ways. I used them in this project as magnetic attachment plates. Use a small screwdriver to remove the hard-drive casing screws. Carefully remove the hard-drive platters until you find the curved magnet near the bottom. These magnets aren’t usually held in place with much more than some retaining clips and can easily be pulled out.

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2. Once removed, the magnets from the hard drive are conveniently already mounted to steel mounting brackets with pre-drilled holes. This makes remounting the powerful magnets anywhere else a breeze.

Photography © 2018 Mike Warren

3. To allow your EDC items to attach easily to this strong magnet, you’ll need to ensure there’s ferrous metal somewhere on whatever it is you want to stick to the magnet. Keys, for example, will likely attach at their keyring. For my wallet, which doesn’t have ferrous metal on it, I used a nut attached by a length of paracord. Some care needs to be taken here, as strong magnets can corrupt the black magnetic strips on the backs of credit cards. I looped a small section of paracord through a steel nut and sewed it closed. 

Photography © 2018 Mike Warren

4. Use a tube of heat-shrink tubing to cover the stitches and provide a tidy look.

5. Sew the paracord and nut to the fold of the wallet.

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Photography © 2018 Mike Warren

6. You’re not limited to just wallet and keys with this project! I sewed a stainless-steel-coated washer inside my hat, which will allow me to hand-wash my hat without the washer rusting. The washer provides more than enough ferrous surface to allow the hat to hang from the magnet. This simple solution is a fun way to store your EDC or anything else you readily need to take with you. It works equally well in the shop for holding tools and at home for your keys, wallet, pocket knife, and more.

This tutorial, “Magnetic Ceiling Storage,” is excerpted from Dude Crafts by Mike Warren. Used with permission of the publisher, Voyageur Press (Quarto).

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