House Magnet Fundraiser

My students in grades K-7 recently raised over $2,000 using their artistic skills to benefit our local food bank!  We adapted this “Houses for Haiti” project (originally inspired by “Haiti Houses“) to create charming magnets which we sold for $5 each at our church one Sunday, and we donated all the proceeds to Second Harvest Food Bank.  We had so many people asking how they could make their own magnets, so I decided to post this lesson again!  You can click here to go to my earlier written lesson plan, or follow my photo tutorial below to see step by step how we did it.  
Step 1:  Gather your supplies!

You will need strips of thin cardboard, (I cut ours to 1″ wide x 10″ long), assorted scrapbooking papers (I cut these to 3″x3″ and gave each student a few pieces in a ziplock bag), glue stick, magnetic tape (1/2″x3/4″ per magnet), scissors, masking tape, paint brush and non-toxic Triple Thick gloss glaze.
(I put as much of this as would fit into individual ziplock bags to make the passing out of supplies quick and easy!)

Step 2:  Cut a square (or a rectangle) from your cardboard. 

Step 3:  Cut a triangle off the end of your cardboard. 

Step 4:  Put LOTS of glue on both pieces.  Be sure to go right to the edges! 

Step 5:  Glue each piece to the back of the paper you want to use.

Step 6:  Cut out around your cardboard shapes. 

Step 7:  Rub a heavy line of glue across the top 1/4″ of your square piece. 

Step 8:  Place the triangle (roof) over the line of glue on top of the square (house) and press well. 

Step 9:  Cut out a rectangle of paper (no cardboard on this piece!) and glue in place.  Add windows the same way, if you want them.

Step 10:  Peel off the paper backing from a 3/4″ piece of magnetic tape. 

Step 11:  Stick magnetic tape to the back of your house and press well. 

Step 12:  Make a tape roll with masking tape and stick it onto a piece of card stock that explains what your fundraiser is for.

(If you’re not making these for a fundraiser, it’s still helpful to stick the magnet-backed houses onto a card or paper before applying the glaze.  This allows a way for you to handle or move your house as needed while the glaze is drying.)

Step 13:  Stick your house onto the tape roll. 

Step 14:  Sign your name!

(This ended up being surprisingly important to our customers!  Many people ended up buying these to give as gifts and wanted the recipients to see the child’s name in his or her own handwriting.  The magnets that kids forgot to sign consistently got put back on the table in favor of those with signatures!)

(Most students wanted to make several houses!  They especially enjoyed keeping track of how many meals their houses would provide.  Our food bank is able to provide 4 meals or 3 pounds of food for each dollar donated, so that means each house sold provided 20 meals for someone in need!)

Step 15:  Apply “Triple Thick” Gloss Glaze.  Squeeze out the biggest puddle you can without it running off the sides!

(You will probably want an adult to do this step.  It’s not difficult, but there’s a bit of a learning curve to getting just the right amount of glaze on each house so that it looks thick and glassy, but doesn’t run over the edge!)

Step 16:  Gently push the Triple Thick just to the edges with a stiff brush.  Let dry (laying flat) for at least a couple of hours.  Wait overnight before stacking or they could stick together!

The Triple Thick is the “secret ingredient” to this project!  It gives a beautiful, glass-like finish, and it’s even non-toxic… everyone will be asking you how you did it!

The next time we sell these, I plan to also have a glue gun and some pin backs handy, and give our customers the option of converting their magnet to a pin (for a small fee!).
Another thing we learned is to give parents a week before the sale to come in and purchase their child’s magnet(s) ahead of time.  That would be much easier than digging through hundreds of magnets to find that special one!
All in all, a great fundraiser for a great cause!  
We sold enough magnets to provide 
over 3 tons of food, or 8,000 meals!

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6 Responses to House Magnet Fundraiser

  1. Kathy November 8, 2011 at 3:45 am #

    This is fabulous. I am so glad you shared this idea. I plan on using it for our Imagination Day in January. Congrats on all the money you raised for the food bank.

  2. Deb December 27, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

    This is a great idea! You're very creative and generous with your ideas. Thank you!

    Oh My Little Classity Class

  3. Jacqui April 6, 2013 at 9:33 am #

    I love this idea! Awesome!

  4. Thomas Marino September 4, 2013 at 8:21 am #

    I love this project. How do you approach a food bank and how do you set up this fundraiser?

    • Cheryl Trowbridge September 4, 2013 at 9:54 pm #

      We partner with our local food bank to raise money for them every year. Everyone (parents and community members) loves supporting them so that helps to drive sales, and these house magnets were adorable so that helped, too! At the end of this fundraiser last year, a local realtor bought everything we had left to give as gifts to his clients… cute idea! Then we just wrote one check to the food bank. It was a fun project and really meaningful for the kids!


  1. Save Your Catalogs! | TeachKidsArt - June 29, 2013

    […]  I save them for their pages full of color, tex­ture, and pat­tern… per­fect for my Fundraiser House Mag­nets, and any project where you need a cheap (free!) sub­sti­tute for expen­sive scrap­book­ing […]