I have a small collection of 1/64th scale diecast cars. Matchbox, Hot Wheels, Johnny Lightnings and such. They are a random combination of stuff left over from my childhood, and neat stuff I have found since. Storing & displaying them has always been a bit of a pain as I didn’t want them cluttering up bureau or desk space, and I didn’t want to shell out for a storage cabinet as they were fun toys to me, not collector or art objects to be locked away behind glass.
I also love old enameled signs, though they are an expensive enough collectors item now that I only have one real one, the rest are reproductions, which are much more reasonable.
It occurred to me one day that I could combine both me matchbox storage problem and my love of old signs into one solution.
I purchased a few hundred neodymium magnets on ebay to give my idea a try.
I’ve experimented with a few different sorts of glue, only to find that simple hot glue works best, especially in that if it fails I can easily pull off the old glue and add new without having to worry about residue like with silicon or epoxy.
The easiest way to do this is to stick the magnet on a piece of steel, add a drop of glue, and press the car down onto it. The steel keeps the magnet from shifting until the glue has dried.
The magnets were supposed to be strong enough to hold a car with one magnet, but they tended to both let the car slide down the sign, and the car would rotate around so the heaviest bit pointed down. So I used two magnets per car, one at each end to keep it pointing however I wanted.
The end result is easily reconfigure-able and makes for a fun 3-d wall decoration.
It wouldn’t work well for a child’s room, as the magnets mean the cars no longer roll. However if decoration & display is the primary goal, it works really well.
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