Magnetic Art

Suggested Grades



Students will be introduced to the different fields of force of magnets and magnetized objects through the movement of metal filings.


  • large magnets
  • fine steel wool or pre-made metal shavings
  • stiff paper or cardboard
  • old scissors
  • hair spray or clear, plastic fixative spray
  • some metal objects (eg: paper clips, nails, etc.)


  • If you don’t have pre-made metal shavings, cut the steel wool into fine pieces with the scissors.
  • Place the magnet on a table and place the sheet of paper over it.
  • Sprinkle some steel wool filing or pre-made metal shavings on the paper.
  • Tap the paper or move the paper over the magnet to change the pattern.
  • Put other metal objects underneath the paper. What happens to the filings? Try to magnetize the metal objects by touching the magnet with them? Keep them under the paper, now what happens?
  • When happy with the filings picture, spray it several times with hair spray or clear plastic fixative, let dry between each spraying.
  • When final layer of spray has dried, slowly remove the magnet.
  • To clean up, cover the magnet with a piece of paper and slowly pass it over scattered or fallen filings.