18 Brilliant Magnet Hacks

Updated: Mar. 23, 2023

From finding studs to easily storing frequently used items, see what creative ways you can use magnets around the house.

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a magnet at the end of a paint stir stick with a washer attached to the magnet
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Magnetic Stick Trick

In a hard-to-reach area, it can be frustrating to place a nut properly when you need to thread on a bolt from the other side. Here’s a slick trick. Glue a small rare earth magnet to the end of a paint stir stick, attach the washer and nut to the magnet, and use the stick to hold them while you thread on the bolt. — Gus Anderson.

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close up of a man holding a yellow tape measure next to a close up of his jean pocket with a clip
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Quick-Draw Measuring Tape

The clip on my measuring tape used to fray the pockets of my jeans. To prevent more damage, I unscrewed the clip and screwed a pot magnet in its place. I hook the clip onto my pocket. Now it’s easy to grab the tape and put it back when I’m done. — Bob Downey.

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a large drill bit drilling a hole in metal with a magnet next to it to catch the shavings
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Magnets for Clean Drilling

When you’re drilling holes in ferrous metals, stick a rare earth magnet or two next to the hole you’re drilling. The magnets catch the shavings, keeping the waste off the bit, the floor, your clothes and your project. When you’re done, use a rag to wipe the shavings off the magnet and into the trash. — Manny Davidson.

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a hand putting a small pair of scissors on a magnet that is attached to the inside of a bathroom cabinet
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Medicine Cabinet Magnets

Nail clippers and tweezers tend to get buried in the medicine cabinet. So I hot-glued a few magnets to the back of the cabinet door to hang these small items in plain sight. I use cheap disc magnets from the hobby store; the more expensive rare-earth magnets are too strong. — David Farrand.

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close up of hands using magnets to tie apron behind their back
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Magnetic Apron Tie

My shop apron strings were constantly coming untied, so I started using a magnet to hold them together.

I took two short pieces of 5/8-in. dowel, drilled a small hole in each, and threaded my apron strings through them. Then I took a rare earth magnet mounted in a steel cup, glued it to the end of one dowel, then glued a steel washer to the other one. Now I just click my apron strings together when it’s time to work! — Bruno Kotowski.

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blue standing toolbox with an open drawer, safety googles and power tools on top and magnetic labels on each drawer
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Magnetic Toolbox Labels

Tired of trying to figure out which toolbox drawer contained the tool I needed, I bought magnetic business cards at an office supply store. I peeled the film off the front, stuck a piece of card stock on top of it (old business cards work great) and labeled each drawer. — Laura Vogel.

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hand holding a screwdriver with a small round magnet at the tip
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How to Magnetize a Screwdriver

Magnetize the end of a screwdriver to drive screws with just one hand. This hint is especially useful in tight spaces where there isn’t room to hold a screw with one hand while you turn the screwdriver with the other.

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a pile of screws on the top of a ladder, hands holding a drill next to it
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Magnet Extra Hand

Attaching a magnet to the top of ladders to hold nuts, bolts, nails, screws and other metal fasteners can help you out while you work. It’s like having an extra hand!

It’s best to use a round base magnet or one with a hole in the center for easy attachment to your ladder. Then just drill a hole and use a bolt and nut to hold the magnet securely in place. These magnets are also strong enough to hold small metal tools like a handheld screwdriver. — Mark Ammons.

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Magnetic Broom Fhm Jv
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Magnetic Broom

When you spill screws, nails, brads or other small metal parts on a dusty shop floor, pick them up in seconds, minus the dust.

Screw a 3-in. dia. pot magnet on the end of a wood dowel to create your ‘picker-upper.’ Then place an inside-out sandwich bag over the magnet and start sweeping the area. The hardware will leap up to the powerful magnet as you ‘sweep’ the floor. To unload and bag the metal pieces in one quick step, just pull the bag off the magnet.

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a small plastic container filled with screws and a magnet in the lid
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Store Bits Where They Belong

In my shop, I use different sizes and types of screws, and each requires a different bit. So to avoid wasting time searching for the correct bit before each project, I came up with this solution:

Using a bead of hot glue, I simply attach a magnet to the underside of the lid on each fastener container. That magnet holds the bit that belongs with the screws inside. That way I always have the right bit at the right time, without the frustrating search. — Jerry Weldon.

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a magnetic strip of sheet metal with a variety of saws and tools hanging from it
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Sheet Metal Magnet Board

Sheet metal or strips of galvanized flashing make great magnet boards in the workshop. Be sure to level the material on the wall and use self-tapping sheet metal screws to fasten it to studs.

Then put several magnets on the message board for hanging project plans, supply lists and even small metal tools such as a paint can opener or scissors. Above the workbench is a perfect place for mounting a magnet board. — Bill Jones.

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man with a magnetic rake picking up screws from a gravel driveway

Magnet Dragnet

After you’ve had remodeling or roofing work done on your home, it’s not unusual to get a flat tire from old nails or other hardware left behind.

As soon as the roofing contractors pulled out of my driveway, I rigged up this drag using rope and a 24-in. magnetic bar tool holder. I dragged it up and down the driveway. It picks up much more metal debris than the wheeled type, which doesn’t actually touch the ground. It sure beats the cost and hassle of a flat tire. — Steve Rodgers.

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hand holding a piece of dental floss with a magnet on a wall
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Find Studs Quickly

Finding a stud behind plaster and lath is hit-or-miss with a typical stud finder. Here’s a better method. Tape a rare earth magnet to a piece of dental floss. Slowly drag the magnet across the wall surface. The magnet will “hang up” a bit over the nails used to fasten the wood lath to the studs.

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hands holding a magnet container with trailer wires inside
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Trailer Wire Holder

I finally got sick and tired of the trailer wiring harness hanging down behind my pickup truck. It looked ugly and was always exposed to the elements. The solution: a magnetic key storage box.

Cut a slot on one end of the box just large enough for the wires to pass through. Place the connector in the box and place the box on the hitch bar or any other steel horizontal surface under the vehicle. — Ken Maretka.

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safety glasses hanging from large power tool
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Safety Gear You’ll Never Forget

My husband is always hounding me about wearing eye protection whenever I use power tools. (Admittedly, I could be more diligent about it.)

So he recently glued some small magnets to several pairs of safety glasses and stuck them on all the power tools in our garage that have metal housings. Now it’s fast and easy for me to grab the glasses when I need them, and I’m reminded that my husband loves me. — Lisa Yanda.

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power tool with a magnet holding an Allen wrench
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Never Lose Your Specific-Need Tools

When I change blades on my band saw, I usually need to adjust the thrust bearings and guides with an Allen wrench. I was tired of hunting around for the wrench, so I decided to stick it to the steel housing with a rare earth magnet (neodymium) about the size of a jacket button. Now it’s always handy!

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man holding a drill with magnets on the back to hold screws as he is working
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Magnetized Drill Hack

I like to keep screws close at hand when I’m working on a project. How close? I stick them right to my drill.

Some drills offer a magnetized portion for this purpose, but if yours doesn’t, here’s an easy fix. Hot glue a rare earth magnet to the back of your drill and slap a few screws on it. For small tasks, I don’t even need a tool belt. – Lucas Kuck.

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small plastic storage containers with a magnet on the bottom for storage on a pegboard with other tools
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Magnetic Mini Storage

Want to build this handy storage roost for all the little screws, earplugs, nuts and washers in your shop? Pick up a pack of 4-oz. cups, a magnetic strip, several 7/16-in. washers and a tube of E6000 glue (available at craft and hobby stores). Apply glue to the cup’s concave bottom, press in a washer flush with the bottom rim and let the glue set for 24 hours.

That’s it. Mount the magnet, load the cups, snap on the lids and all your itty-bitties are easy to spot, nab and put away. Magnetic strips are available at woodworking stores and online. The magnetic strip provides more than enough magnet power to hold a cup crammed with screws.