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How to Make Wood Chip Alphabet Magnets

Wood Chip Alphabet Magnets
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How to Make Wood Chip Alphabet Magnets

A few weeks ago my husband cut down some trees from our yard. We are pretty resourceful people so we decided to make items out of the limbs! He took the larger trunks and made us a raised garden bed. So very excited to plant my garden here! Now, what to do with the left over wood?

I got to keep the smaller limbs for my crafts! The first thing I decided to make was alphabet letter magnets. Here is my process.


  • Tree limbs
  • Chop Saw (Or other saws that you are comfortable with)
  • **Polyurethane
  • Paint Makers or Sharpies
  • Adhesive Magnets

STEP ONE – Cut your Chips

Some of the left over limbs
Wood chips I cut

First, try to pick limbs that are roughly the same size in diameter. That way your chips will be about the same size. For this project I have pieces ranging from 1-1 1/2 inches in diameter. I then cut them to be 1/2 inches thick.

STEP TWO – Prepare your Chips

There are a couple ways you can prepare your chips depending on your limbs and time constraints.

First Option – Dry Your Chips.

You can do this by placing your chips on a drying rack in your home and leaving them for a few weeks or months to dry out. The time length will vary depending on how wet your wood is, the thickness of your chips, and the humidity of where you live. This is not an exact science. You should check your chips weekly and use a moisture meter. Then, when your moisture level stabilizes, you know your chips are as dry as they will get.

Overall, this is the best way to prepare your chips. In the drying process, some chips will inevitably crack or break apart. Waiting on the chips to dry out will let you know which ones you can use.

Second Option – Polyurethane

This is the faster option. As soon as you cut your chips, spray or paint a thick coat of polyurethane (can also use shellac, or paint).

Spray one side of your chips and let dry (I ran a fan over them to speed the process). Then turn them over and spray the other side. You can see in this picture the raw wood vs the shinier sprayed wood. I used an oil based polyurethane spray. Once it dried the wood was no longer shiny.

There are a few downsides to this method. First, since the wood is not fully dry, some of the chips were uneven in their coloration. As you can see in the picture above, some chips retained a yellowish hue. Not a bit deal, but depending on your craft this could effect what chips you use. Second, even with this coat of polyurethane, the chips could still crack as they dry out. This is a riskier option.

STEP THREE – Decorate your Chips

For this step I used ChalkOla Earth Color Series paint pen (green), Ultra Fine Point Sharpie (dark blue), and a Fine Point Sharpie (black).

Sharpies and Chalk markers work well on these wood chips
Letter without outline

I used the paint pen first. I really liked the thickness of the letters but realized they were tough to see on the wood background, so I decided to outline them with the ultra fine Sharpie and I really like the result!

Letter with outline

For my next set of wood chips I decided to go for a very minimalist design. I took the Fine Point Sharpie and drew on the letters in a “stick” style.

Fine tip sharpie lettering

However you decide to do the letters is up to you! There is a lot of room for creativity here!

STEP FOUR – Attach Magnets

I bought a simple adhesive package of magnets from Amazon to attach to the back of my wood chips. What’s nice is that the wood chips are very light, so virtually any kind of magnet will do! However, if you want the magnets to hold pictures, papers, ect, you may want to invest in heavier magnets. I decided I liked the look of a thinner magnet so the letters didn’t stick out as far from the fridge.

What other crafts can you use wood chips for? I’d love some more ideas!

Like crafts for children’s gifts? Check out another one of my crafts here.

8 thoughts on “How to Make Wood Chip Alphabet Magnets”

  1. This is such a cute idea to make use out of these wood chips! I made Christmas ornaments out of wood chips like these by painting a design on the front and attaching a string to the back! I’m definitely gonna make a few magnets next time I have extra! Thanks for sharing this idea! 🙂

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