Reagan Disguise Help
November 13, 2012 5:59 AM   Subscribe

Cheapest way to create magnetic/ferrous/dressable life-size cutout? I already know what cutout I want, this one. Now I just need the ability to dress it in funny hats, outfits, disguises, etc. I thought the best way would be some sort of magnet system. Any ideas?

$30 is a good chunk of income that could otherwise go to beer/milk, so I gotta be frugal here. Thanks a million, AskMefi!
posted by the young rope-rider to Grab Bag (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
the cheapest way might be to make paper cutouts and attach them via binder clips.

you could just put a rare earth magnet on the front and back. they should be strong enough to hold, you'd only need a handful and could reuse them between outfits. It'd still be visible from the front though.
posted by dubold at 6:06 AM on November 13, 2012

Yeah, for cheap I think you're looking at non-magnetic fasteners like tape, paperclips, etc. Especially so because it's life-size and the stuff you stick to it will be soft and flexible, so you need holding power at several points / over a large area; a single strong magnet won't do it.
posted by jon1270 at 6:10 AM on November 13, 2012

Why don't you glue strips of ferrous metal behind it the cut out? You don't need the metal to exactly follow the outline of Reagan. You just need holding points for magnets.
posted by MuffinMan at 6:13 AM on November 13, 2012

There's magnetic tape - you could potentially stick that to the back of the costume, then use a stronger magnet behind the cutout to hold it up. That wouldn't be visible from the front, but I don't know how reusable that magnetic tape would be.

I dunno if there is enough oxide in VHS tape, but you could potentially harvest and glue that to the back of the outfit. might be more trouble than it's worth though.
posted by dubold at 6:16 AM on November 13, 2012

They make transparent velcro. Some small patches of it in strategic places might be enough to hold any accoutrements you might want to add on to the former president.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:18 AM on November 13, 2012

I was going to suggest velcro as well.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 6:29 AM on November 13, 2012

Little disc-shaped rare earth magnets can be bought fairly cheaply by the 100 from places like eBay. If you can work out a logical set of placement points, they'll be strong enough that you can glue them to the back of the cardboard figure, which is nice. I'd attach them with some cheap two-part epoxy. Corresponding magnets on the accessories should result in them sticking really well to the front of the cut-out. As a bonus, the accessories will be 'self-aligning', and snap into exactly the right positions.

That magnetic tape stuff isn't great in my experience; it just doesn't stick very strongly, and tends to deteriorate with time. Velcro is useful for some things, but the problem here is that the material (cardboard) you're attaching to is much weaker than the velcro, and will be damaged when you pull the velcro apart.
posted by pipeski at 6:36 AM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Magnetic tape sucks.

Depending on the thickness of the cutout, rare earth magnets are possible ...

The thing is, the magnets are a pain when they stick to each other.

Can you save up and get the $68 life size sticker and put him on a metal white board or door or fridge?

For small strips of ferrous metal, flexible, you could use cut-up-tape measure.

Considering you know some "points" at which the items would attach, have a sharp knife and carefully gouge out the "hot spots" on the BACK of the picture (don't tear through the image, just the backing cardboard) and tape rare earth magnets in THERE.

Then you can put bits of metal in the decorations (tape measure metal) or cheap magnets.

Earth on earth magnets are hard to pull apart, so having the "catch" be rare earth magnet and the "attach" be metal, you should be good to go.
posted by tilde at 6:48 AM on November 13, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yes, rare earth magnets do tend to stick very tightly together; but much depends on diameter, thickness, and whether there's any intervening material. It's easy enough to do a little test and work out whether you'd do better to use magnet+magnet or magnet+metal.

An alternative to cut-up tape measure would be little steel washers; you're less likely to slice your fingers open.
posted by pipeski at 6:54 AM on November 13, 2012

What would be the best material for the decorations?
posted by the young rope-rider at 7:49 AM on November 13, 2012

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