Art / Design / Illustration, Product News

Colourful Hand Painted Cactus Magnets

Hello! I’m in the process of making some exciting new products for my Folksy store before I have to concentrate on an upcoming exhibition that I have in a few months. More of that at a later date though!

I came across some gorgeous handmade blank wooden magnets online a few weeks ago. Normally everything of this nature is either made of plywood or MDF but these were proper hard wood. Sycamore, to be precise, AND from a renewable source! Simply put, I had to buy some and see what I could make.

Colourful Hand Painted Cactus Magnets

Colourful Hand Painted Cactus Magnets (acrylic on sycamore wood)
Available now on Folksy

Fridge magnets obviously, but I meant what could I paint on them. It had to be something which wouldn’t be time consuming so I could offer them to you guys at a great price. Something fun. Something sellable.

An assortment of Colourful Cacti!

As you can see, I settled on my favourite prickly plant. The cactus! I love the different shapes you can get. Some have flowers, others don’t. Some are small, others are tall. There are ones with arms, some are flat and others can be extremely hairy.

Colourful Hand Painted Cactus Magnets

Handmade Packaging Example – Subject to Change
Available now on Folksy

I don’t know about you, but when I think of cacti, I think of Mexico and all of their bright colourful designs. Bloomin’ perfect for some cute cactus magnets, so armed with my reference material and some previous cacti sketches off I went to paint.

Sakura Micron Pens Smudge

Example of smudging caused by varnishing micron pens on acrylic paint

Now, normally I’m the kind of person who tests everything. Especially when it’s a medium I’ve never used or a new technique I’m trying. Me and acrylic paint are the best of buds, and Micron pens are one of my favourite fine liners. So…

There’s no reason to test things first, right?

Wrong! I know these mediums very well so I went straight ahead painting my magnets and completely skipped the varnish test. The plan was to use the Microns to outline the cacti designs. Wait for them to dry and cure. Then apply a nice glossy varnish to finish them off.

Don’t use Sakura Micron pens on top of acrylic paint and then apply water-based varnish. It smudges and smears like a crying Goth!

Someone (i.e., me) completely forgot to take a photo of the ruined magnet between the cursing and crying, so I’ve had to replicated what happened instead (see photo above). While Micron pens ARE waterproof, and I had used a water-based artists varnish, the ink still smudged everywhere. This was even after plenty of drying time.

Kuretake Mangaka 8 Pen Set

Kuretake Mangaka 8 Pen Set – Buy from

Yes, I could have used a spray varnish, but I find you waste more than you use (or at least I do) so I prefer brushing it on. After a quick Google I found that Kuretake Mangaka Pens claim to be smudge-proof whether you use water or alcohol based markers / paints. So I purchased some to test. They’re a bit pricey but they do exactly as it says on the tin. Didn’t smudge at all!

Hand Painted Cactus Magnet Closeup

Hand Painted Cactus Magnet Close up
Available now on Folksy

Now then, I don’t know what chemicals are in varnish, but I can only assume that something in it is alcohol-like and caused the smudging. My new pens just don’t care and are quite happy to remain smudge free, which is fantastic, and means I’m free to make more magnets in this way.

Buy your cacti magnets from Folksy soon!

I just need to finish applying the second coat of varnish and then these colourful hand painted cactus magnets will be available for sale from my Folksy store. I’m also waiting for non-permanent glue dots which I had to order online because my local shops are bloody useless… and they wonder why more people shop online!

Stay tuned for updates. Bye for now!
These cacti magnets are now available to buy from Folksy

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