The “Making Cents” column in the July 1983 issue featured one tiny little craft idea that I thought was super cute! A walnut shell strawberry magnet. I knew right away that I wanted to make it, but did wonder where I’d find a walnut shell in the middle of summer. I always put out mixed nuts at the holidays, in a vintage nut bowl I have, and if it was anywhere from November to January I’d just walk over and get one. BUT this is July, the only thing I have is pistachios, and some abandoned hazelnuts that I throw outside for the chipmunks sometimes. Well, disorganized homemaking to the rescue! While cleaning up one day recently I found one that we must have kept to make boats. We always keep the perfect halved ones for boats. (You know, the classic boats, shove in some clay, a toothpick mast, and a triangle of paper for a sail. If you haven’t made them you should!)
So easy I did it from memory.
Paint a shell half red.
Then use white or yellow paint to make tiny dots for seeds. I used a fine paintbrush and did teardrop shapes. You could easily use a toothpick and do tiny dots.
Use green felt cut into a pointy blob for a top. Glue it on. I used some Sobo glue, because I keep that handy, but you could also use a tacky glue. Just don’t use a hot glue gun. For one thing you will burn yourself trying to push it down, for another it will make it lumpy, and for yet another despite what many people try to tell you a hot glue gun is really only good for very specific things. The regular glue dried so quick I went right on to the next step.
Use some green wire and glue it on for a stem. Moment of truth, I forgot this part, added it in later by simply squeezing it between the magnet and the shell. The floral green wire I had handy was quite thin, so I just twisted some, but a thicker wire would probably be cuter. It isn’t terrible looking without the wire either. If you’re doing this with a group of kids just skip it if you want, but if you’re doing them for a craft show I advise it. It does add a finished touch.
Handy tip- The original instructions didn’t tell you to do this, but I advise putting a quick clear coat on it. Use almost any variety of clear sealant. I didn’t on mine but I just noticed that the paint is rubbing off already. You could use clear coat, probably a coat of clear nail polish, so many choices, they should all be fine.
There is two ways to do the back. The original method is to glue on a piece of card stock or a scrap of manila folder, and then cut it to the match your shell and glue on a magnet. I skipped the folder back and simply glued it to a sheet of magnet. Okay, total honesty, I didn’t use a sheet, I grabbed a sheet style magnet off the fridge for a local urgent care, and used a corner of that, making sure the number part was left intact. I definitely suggest gluing it on first, and then cutting around it. Normal scissors will do the job and it will be MUCH easier to match to the shell edge and get a firm attachment then cutting it first and hoping it all lines up.
And there you have it! A cute magnet! You can easily make one with just the paint stuck in the cap of the paint bottle, so not messy at all. In 1983 it was suggested you sell them for $1.25, which I think is probably still pretty close to a reasonable price today! When winter rolls around again I’ll probably makes boats AND strawberries with my walnut halves.
For those curious- yes my family, or at least my son, noticed the chopped up magnet. Almost immediately he walked in and says “What happened to THIS?!?!?!” while holding it up.