Magnetic beer tap labels in Baltic Birch

I have a fridge in the garage with a few homebrew beer kegs inside, and I normally use chalk markers on a black board to write down what’s on tap.

Well, the days of writing words down with my hands like an animal are over! I’m going to start using magnetic beer words to spell out the menu.

The font is AR Julian. The icons are things that I found online and modified. (I can’t draw, but I hack at things other people have drawn!)

The material is 1/8" baltic birch, and I did vector engraves at speed 875, power 75, LPI 270. You can get a darker engrave in BB at power 100, but it makes the engraving a lot deeper so I decided to settle for less contrast.

(These would look better in PG MMP, but I wanted to see what I could do with cheap home-finished BB. This just has wipe-on poly on it.)

To make the art in Illustrator:

  • Write out the text
  • Adjust kerning/size to taste (these words are 49 pt, about 0.7" tall with the cutline)
  • Do Type>Create Outlines, then Object>Expand Appearance (Careful! Some fonts need Expand Appearance to give you the output you expect! I recently learned that the hard way.)
  • Use the Shape Builder trick to make the cutline
  • To smooth the cutline a bit, I did Stylize>Round Corners .08". If you do this, don’t forget to Expand Appearance again.

The final art looks like this:

For magnets I am experimenting with various self-adhesive strips from Amazon. These strips are easy to cut so you can make odd-shaped pieces. 30 mil magnet tape does an OK job of holding these to my fridge, but the pull is so weak you won’t be able to hold up papers with them. The very smallest items honestly barely hold on. I have some 60 mil tape which I expect holds much better, but haven’t tried it yet.

Lastly I also have some tiny and cheap rare earth magnets which should hold well, but I am trying to figure out an easy way to attach them to the wood. I CAN just glue them on with wood glue, but then there is a risk of the magnet scratching the fridge. A recessed pocket would be best, but I don’t want to invest the laser time in that so I am trying to think of a faster way to do it by hand.


SMaSHing idea! :smile:


Nice work!

Excellent labels, and thanks for sharing your process!

That is what I have done. Then I cut out a matching piece of :proofgrade: veneer to slap on the back. Magnets and adhesives just don’t like each other so I go for pocketing.

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I found Gorilla wood glue works even on those slippery magnets.

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