How To Make a Magnetic Galvanized Steel Dry Erase Board

(Image credit: Casey Barber)

I’m one of those hyper-organized people who loves to make lists—grocery lists, packing lists, to-do lists, books to read lists, home improvement lists, you name it, I’ve listed it. So when I redid my office a few months ago, acquiring a large dry erase board for my weekly deadlines was tops on my, um, list.

But I’m also a picky person, and I wanted my dry erase board to also be magnetic as well as nice to look at—so the regular store-bought options just wouldn’t do. I was all set to take on a time-consuming project involving layers of magnetic paint and dry erase paint when I learned a miraculous fact: galvanized steel is already magnetic and dry erasable!

Armed with this knowledge, the process of making a custom magnetic dry erase board was a snap. It was so easy, in fact, that along with making two 2- x 1-foot boards that stretch the length of my desk, I also made a small 1-foot square board that blends into my stainless steel fridge for grocery and cooking lists.

Here’s how to make a magnetic galvanized steel dry erase board for your home office, kitchen, or any spot in the house where you want to write up lists and keep notes. All the equipment needed is available at major home improvement stores, and galvanized steel boards come in various sizes so you can make boards as small or large as you’d like.

How To Make a Magnetic Galvanized Steel Dry Erase Board

What You Need


  • 1 square or rectangular piece of galvanized steel
  • Adhesive cork or a thin piece of wood the same size as your galvanized steel for backing
  • Magnets for attaching to the refrigerator OR picture hangers and nails for hanging on a wall
  • Tin snips or bullnose pliers and coarse-grit sandpaper (if you’re using picture hangers and nails)
  • Strong adhesive like Superglue or Liquid Nails


  1. Decide where and how your dry erase board will hang: This will determine what kind of backing you’ll affix to the steel. If you’ll be hanging it on a wall, you’ll want a wooden backing to which you can affix your preferred picture hanger. The board can hang from a triangle-style hanger, which will be visible on the wall, or a sawtooth hanger, which will be hidden.
  2. Attach your hanger of choice: Cut a piece of thin wood to the size of your steel board. Place your hanger(s) of choice along the top of the board and nail in place. The nails will extend through the board; snip off the ends with tin snips or pliers and sand until they’re flush and no longer sharp. Glue the wood to the back of the steel and allow to dry overnight.
  3. For refrigerator attachment, add a cork backing: If you’ll be putting the board on your refrigerator, you can affix an cork backing and glue magnets onto the cork. (Yes, the steel board itself is magnetic, but it’s very thin and very sharp on the edges, so you’ll want to add the cork backing to protect your fridge.) Cut a piece of cork the size of your steel board—adhesive or regular rolled cork are both fine—and either stick or glue the cork onto the back of the steel.
  4. Glue magnets on: Glue magnets to each corner of the cork and allow to dry.
  5. Hang it up! Hang your board on the wall or place it on the refrigerator and enjoy a life full of lovely, organized lists and notes!

Project Notes

  • Brightly colored dry erase markers will sometimes leave a hazy film of color after the writing has been erased. Luckily, galvanized steel is also fine for cleaning with a gently everyday spray cleaner like Method or Mrs. Meyer’s, or your own homemade cleaner.
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