How to Make a DIY Magnetic Display Rail

This simple wooden magnetic display rail is a great way to display artwork, photos, kids artwork and more!

After we put the desk up in the boys room, I wanted a place where they could hang their papers, prints, and various odds & ends that little kids seem to collect and want displayed. And the to-list and reminders. I don’t why, but the boys seem to be obsessed with making those and leaving them all around the house!

I also wanted it to be something that they could change up to their heart’s content; without damaging the walls each & every time they hung something. We designed a simple magnetic display rail – kind of like a mix between our picture ledge and magnetic poster rails. So far, so good! Boys and mama are happy with the rails!

wood magnetic display rail with child's hands hanging a to-do list on the rail

I’m one of those moms that don’t hang every piece of artwork/kids things all over the house. 😬 I do take photos of their artwork though and save it that way. The one hanging print is actually an old art project of Levi’s that I re-sized & made a print of. So don’t think of as me completely heartless!.

Where to find the magnets:

You can check out our video on how we made the little wood magnets on the display rails – it’s a super easy, quick project! Find it on our YouTube channel and be sure to subscribe! We’re sharing videos over there regularly.

wood desk in bedroom with two chairs at at it with wall hangings and display rail above desk
child in bedroom hanging paper above wood desk on a display rail

Materials for Magnetic Display Rail:

  • 1x2x6’ pine board
  • mitre box
  • table saw
  • 1/8-inch thick x 1/2-inch steel flat bar
  • hack saw
  • epoxy
  • clamps
  • drill with 1/2” forstner bit & 3/16” drill bit
  • sandpaper
  • screws (may also need drywall anchors)
  • – 1/2” hardwood plugs
two close up pictures of building wood magnetic display rail
close up of slim piece of wood with back cut out of it laying next to a metal rail


  • Cut your 1x2x6’ pine board into two 30-inch pieces with the mitre box.
  • Using the table saw, cut those pieces to 1-1/4” wide and 5/8” thick.
  • Set the height of the table saw blade so that it will leave around 3/32 of wood on the face of the board when you cut out the groove for the steel flat bar.
  • Draw a line on your table saw about an inch back from where the blade would first contact a piece of wood when it was fed into the saw, and a line about an inch from where the blade would stop being in contact with the wood as it was pushed out the back side of the blade.
  • Center the steel flat bar on the back side of your piece of wood, mark each side. This is the width of the groove for the flat bar to go into.
  • Measure from the edge of the wood to one of the lines and set the distance from the fence to the blade at this number.
  • Turn on the saw. Take your board with the back side down and line it up by keeping it above the height of the blade at the back of the saw, on the table at the front of the saw and against the fence, line up the back edge of the board with the line at the back of the blade. Slowly lower the back of the board onto the blade until it is sitting on the table then push the board through until the front end of the board lines up with the line at the front of the blade. Hold the back of the board down and tip the front of the board up until it is clear of the blade.
  • Repeat this process with the other side of the board against the fence.
  • Move the fence away from the blade about 1/8” and repeat the process from each side.
  • Move the fence away again and repeat until all the wood in the groove is removed.
  • To determine the length you will need to cut the steel flat bar, measure the flat part of the groove to where it begins to curve up at each end; cut the flat bar with a hack saw to this length.
  • Glue and clamp the steel flat bar in place with epoxy and allow to dry.
  • Using a 1/2” forstner bit, drill a hole about 5/8” in from each end and about 5/16” deep.
  • Use a 3/16” drill bit to drill the rest of the way through.
  • Sand rail smooth.
  • Fasten to the wall using screws into studs or drywall anchors.
  • Place a 1/2” hardwood plug in each of the holes to cover the screws.
diy wood magnetic display rail with photos hanging from it with wood magnets
wood desk with wood magnetic display rail above desk with photos and quotes hanging from rail
wood desk in bedroom with two chairs at at it with wall hangings and display rail above desk


Sources: Desk | Chairs c/o Versanora (similar) | Desk Lamp (similar) | Deer Head made by Mike | ABCS Hand Lettered Linen Banner | Wood Magnets

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