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How to Make A Magnetic Knife Holder: A Quick Guide

How to Make A Magnetic Knife Holder: A Quick Guide

Creating a safe, effective, and useful kitchen is the best way to guarantee that your kitchen works for your family’s needs. A great way to streamline the look of your kitchen and make it more useful is through magnetic knife holders.

Making a magnetic knife holder can easily be done with a few essential materials, quality magnets, and some basic power tools. There are several ways to create a do it yourself knife holder, but the most effective options are those that have the magnets inlayed into a block of wood. This style of knife holder is more durable and often less damaging on the blades.

We will jump into some basics about this style of knife holder, along with three methods of creating your own. While the best options do use some basic power tools, you can create a very simple knife holder without any tools at all. Regardless, choose quality magnets, keep knife safety in mind, and keep reading for some how-to instructions.

Making a Magnetic Knife Holder

There are several magnetic knife holders on the market today, but these may not fit your specific kitchen needs. A major issue many run into when purchasing these holders is that they are not equipped to hold the size knives that they have in their kitchen. Also, if you have a specific area where you hope to mount the knife holder, commercial options may not fit the area properly.

What many do not know is that you can actually make a knife holder very easily and with just a few tools. Cost wise, the DIY magnetic knife holder can often save you money compared to commercial options. Also, you can get the customization that retailers simply do not offer.

Wooden Block vs. Magnetic Strip Holder

Before we jump into creating your own knife holder, we will discuss which style is best. If you have looked at these holders online or in store, you may have noticed they come in two specific types. One style of knife holder is mainly a magnetic strip with a little wood or decorative aspects and the other type is a wooden block with the magnets inlaid into the block.

Some things to keep in mind about these two styles are:

  • Knife holders that are used creating mainly strip magnets are usually not as strong. If you have heavy knives, tools or utensils to store, the magnetic block may be the better option.
  • You want to test out any knife holder (homemade or store bought) to ensure that your knives are being held firmly. You want to feel some pull when removing your knives from the holder. If they do not seem secure, use lighter knives or avoid this holder altogether.

Best Magnets for Knife Holders

This leads into the biggest factor that comes with creating a DIY magnetic knife holder, which is the magnets themselves. You want to ensure that you are using magnets that are strong and high quality. The last thing you want is to work hard on your magnetic knife holder and it not work properly.

When it comes to creating your own magnetic knife holder, you should remember:

  • Some of the best magnets you can use are disc magnets, as they can easily be placed in the wooden block used. The best options are S-15-08-N or S-20-10-N. Most hardware stores will sell magnets like these. You can also use magnetic strips in the top, middle and bottom if you're creating a magnetic block.
  • The magnetic ability of your magnets will decrease some with distance, but this should not greatly affect the ability to hold the knives in place. However, since your magnets are laid inside the wood, you do not want to exceed a 3 mm distance. This means you should drill the wood down and lay the magnets as close to the knives as possible.
  • You will want to purchase an adequate number of magnets for the number of knives that you hope to store. A good rule of thumb is to have at least one magnet per knife, but you can never have too many. Larger knives may need two or even three magnets to hold the knife properly and safely.

A Traditional Magnetic Knife Holder

If you want a traditional magnetic knife holder, a wooden design with magnets inside is the way to go. This is relatively easy if you have the right materials and tools. You can easily follow these instructions to create the knife holder or visit the Instructables website for more information:

Cut Wood to Desired Size

Using a block of flat wood, cut it to fit the size needed for your available area. You can cut this wood to any size that fits your kitchen needs or even create letters using the wood. Essentially, the following steps will be the same no matter the size or shape.

Prepare for the Groove

Look over your block of wood well and decide which side is the best for the front of the holder, most choose the smoother and more uniform looking side. On the backside of the wood, you will want to cut a groove using a router, table saw, jigsaw, or whatever similar tool you have available for the job.

You want to mark the area you plan to cut out for this groove ahead of time so you don’t lose it later.

Cut the Groove

Now you will want to cut the groove in the back of your knife holder. You want to do this to the appropriate thickness, leaving as little wood as possible in between where the magnets will be laid and the front of the wood. 

In most cases, a 1/16” of wood between the magnets and knives is fine, so you will set your router to 11/16” depth, but this is really up to you and the strength of magnets you choose to use.

Sand Everything Down

At this point, you will want to give the holder a good sanding and smooth out any rough areas or edges. You can sand the groove that you created to ensure that the inside is smooth. It’s not necessary to sand the groove, but it can help prevent damage to the wall and wood when mounting the holder.

Begin Placing Your Magnets

Now that your groove is created and sanded, you can place the magnets inside. You will want to use magnets that fit your groove properly and are strong enough to hold your knives firmly.

  • Place the magnets so that the polarities are alternating. This can be challenging but you should be able to tell which side is considered “North” and which is “South.” You will notice that the edges begin to attract if the magnets are the right direction.
  • When you place the magnets into the groove, if they begin to repel apart, flip them over. You should never leave them inside of the wood in a way where they are repelling.
  • It may take a minute to place the magnets in properly, but you should take your time with this. Some magnets are easy to break, and you do not want to slam them together or do this messily. Taking time during this process yields a much better final result.

Glue the Magnets Down

You will want to ensure that the magnets stay put inside of the groove that you have created. You should begin by laying out the magnets as mentioned, then start to adhere them into place using practically any form of adhesive with a silicone option being a great choice. Generously cover the magnets with the glue—remember the better they stay in place the better your knife holder will perform.

Finish the Holder

At this point, you will want to let your adhesive dry fully and make sure that everything is in place. You will then do any final work to your wooden block that you want to perfect its look, whether this be painting, staining, or even another sanding. You will then fasten your holder to the wall as you see fit and you can begin using it to hold your knives securely in place. If you're creating a block, add hinges to the back and a second piece of wood to finish your stand.

A Vintage Knife Holder

If you do not have a wooden block available or want to go for a unique look, an antique wooden piece is a great option for this style knife holder. This blog post from Refresh Living breaks down how they converted an old ruler found in a garage sale to a knife holder.

We will discuss the basics for creating this style of magnetic knife holder and you can make one yourself with practically any antique piece you have laying around your home.

  1. Start by cutting down your wooden piece to fit a size that works for you. 
  2. Once your piece is cut, drill holes into the back. You can do this a couple of different ways, but the easiest is using a forstner bit to drill ½” holes. You can do these at really any distance you see fit, but you want to make the holes close enough together that the magnets will hold the knives effectively once placed.
  3. You also want to ensure that you are drilling deep enough into the piece that there is as little wood between the magnet and where you will attach the knives. Also make sure you are paying close attention so that you do not go through the front of the wood with the drill.
  4. Double check that the holes you are creating are big enough to allow for the magnets to be placed properly, and then place each magnet into the hole. If they fit tight enough, you may not need an adhesive. However, if it is a looser fit, you may want to add some adhesive to the hole before placing your magnets inside.
  5. You want to take your time with the magnets with this style of holder, just like the previous holder. Depending on how close your drilled holes are, you may notice some resistance from your magnetsIf they don’t want to go into the holes properly, you may want to flip the magnet and try it the other way.
  6. When placing your magnets, cover up the holes with magnets that are already placed to avoid the magnets flipping out. Also, keep your container of magnets away from the ruler. There is nothing worse than the magnets you are still placing pulling out a magnet that has been covered in glue and placed already.
  7. Once the magnets are in place and everything is adhered down properly, you can create pilot holes to mount the piece. You can either screw the holder into place or use some form of hanging brackets on the back of the wood.

After everything is mounted in place and set, you’ve got a cute and handy magnetic knife holder that will add a lot of character and a unique piece to your kitchen!

A Magnetic Knife Holder with No Power Tools

Before jumping into our final way of making a DIY magnetic knife holder, we should say that this is the least effective way of accomplishing this project.

If you have lower weight knives you want to store or very few knives to store, this is a great choice. However, if you have heavier knives or a wide array of knives, you want to opt for our previously mentioned methods.

What is great about this method is that you do not need power tools to effectively create a quality knife holder. For a more detailed list of instructions, you can check out the full tutorial on Turning It Home, but here is an easy way to create a no power tool needed knife holder.

  1. Start with a stainless-steel ruler that fits your kitchen needs. This holder could be as long as you need it to be, from tiny all the way up to yardstick sized. Depending on the area you have available, you can choose a ruler that works for you.
  2. Attach the magnets to the ruler using gorilla glue. These magnets can range in shape and size, but you will want magnets that are high quality. You will simply glue these magnets into place on your ruler.
  3. You can use a second ruler to sandwich the magnets into place and keep things more streamlined. If you want to save money or do not have a second ruler, you can skip this step and simply glue the magnets on. However, adding the second ruler can really help with the next step.
  4. You will then take some decorative craft paper, leather, cloth, or pretty much any material that fits your décor. Wrap your ruler and magnets in this material and glue it in place, if you do the double ruler method mentioned, this is a bit easier. You will want to put any seams in the back of the ruler.
  5. Once your ruler is wrapped properly with the material of your choosing, you can then mount the holder. You can use any style of hook that you may have or even use industrial strength Velcro to attach the holder inside a cabinet or on the wall.

As mentioned, this holder is the weakest of the three and should really only be used for smaller knives, like paring knives or butter knives.

Why Use a Magnetic Knife Holder?

Storing your knives properly can actually be a lot more challenging than you may have previously known. If you have been throwing your knives in a drawer, cup, or other storage container where they are all touching, this is a huge problem! You are probably dealing with regularly dulled knives and maybe even some chipping.

If you have beautiful knives, such as our Chef's Vision knife sets, a magnetic holder is a great way to display your knives in your kitchen.

No matter how you decide to store your knives, they should never be loosely floating in a drawer together and should instead be stored separately. Utilizing a magnetic knife holder is a great option for storing your knives safely. If you have some spare knives that do not fit in a knife block or may not be part of a set, a magnetic strip can easily become their home.

Some other major benefits of storing your knives this way are:

  • They do not take up as much space in the kitchen. When kitchen space is limited, adding knife blocks or other storage is not an option. These magnetic holders mount on already available wall space.
  • They can be super versatile, as you can mount these magnetic storage strips practically anywhere. You can do them both horizontally and vertically, depending on where you have free space on your walls. You can also hang these on the inside of cabinets, on appliances, and even in other rooms where metal objects need stored.
  • They are super hygienic because you can easily wipe the entire surface area. A problem with some knife blocks is you cannot get inside of the knife slots and clean properly. However, these magnetic strips allow you to easily wipe over the surface.

Can They Damage Knives?

Hanging your precious, high-quality chef knives on a hunk of metal can bring up worries about chipping them or dulling the blade.

When made properly, magnetic knife holders do not harm or damage knives in any way. The only way that these knife holders will damage your knives is if they are very cheap and use magnets that are not durable.

The magnets themselves will do no damage to the knives. However, if they are not strong, they can allow your knives to fall off. If your knives fall off, it can cause them to get damaged or chipped when hitting the countertop below.

Essentially, if you use a quality knife holder, you will have no issue with your knives being harmed.

Where to Put Your Magnetic Knife Holder

Now that you have made your magnetic knife holder or are in the process of doing so, you may be asking yourself where am I going to put this? While it may be best to think of this beforehand, there is really never a bad place to put your knife holder. In fact, pretty much anywhere in your kitchen can be a great option.

Some popular places to put these magnetic knife holders are:

  • On the Wall – This seems simple, but if you have an area that already has a knife block or utensil storage, hanging your magnetic holder nearby on the wall is a great option.
  • On Your Backsplash – If you have a butcher block or chopping board on your countertops, hanging your knives nearby is a great option. If you have backsplash, you can easily attach a hook or other mounting system and hang your magnetic holder there.
  • Near the Sink – If you have some smaller wall space behind your sink, this is a great place to stick this holder. This is usually further from children or other unwanted hands but is close to the action of the kitchen. Plus, you can easily throw them into the sink when things get dirty.
  • Near the Stove – Behind the stove or to the side of the stove is another popular choice. This is near where you do your food prep and these areas usually have open space available. Your knives will be in easy but out of the way reach.
  • Under Cabinets – This is a unique and beneficial space to store your knives. You can hang your kitchen mount on the bottoms of your cabinet and store knives with handle side out. This is out of the way and utilizes space that is often completely forgotten.
  • On the Side of the Cabinets – If you have a cabinet that faces outward and has space on its side, this is a great option. You can easily store the knives away on the side of the cabinet. This is once again easy to reach and usually left unused.
  • Inside Cabinets – If you have a cabinet that is already used to store utensils, it is a great option to mount your magnetic holder inside of the cabinet. This is out of the way and safe from small hands as well, which can be very beneficial in a family home.

Remember Knife Safety

While we have touched on this slightly throughout this guide, knife safety is always important to keep in the front of your mind anytime you are working with them. Any way that you decide to store your knives should be done safely, especially when you are a family with smaller children. You should practice safe knife habits and instill these habits into your children.

Magnetic knife holders can actually assist in kitchen safety! Here’s some things to keep in mind in order to make proper, safe use of your new holder:

  • Always mount your magnetic knife holder away from small hands, in areas where your children cannot reach.
  • If you do not have a wall space that is safely away from the children in your home, mount the knife holder inside an upper cabinet.
  • Always mount the holder above the countertops and never in an area where they can fall to the floor easily. If the knife is knocked off, you want it to fall onto a countertop or inside of a cabinet. You never want your child to find a rouge knife in the floor if it were to fall!
  • Using a magnetic knife holder ensures you do not have knives loosely roaming in a drawer. This can be easily reached and knives banging together can cause dullness or chipping.

Store Knives Safely and Effectively with DIY Magnetic Holders

Now that you know how to create three easy to do magnetic knife holders, you are only one stop at the hardware store away from having your kitchen more organized and more effective.

Always keep our basic safety rules in mind when mounting your knife holder, along with using your power tools as safely as possible. You also want to always test your knife holder first to ensure it can support the weight of your knives and is working properly. Once you have the hang of creating quality magnetic knife holders, you can actually use similar holders in almost every room of your home.

You may find that these holders work amazingly in your tool shed, bathroom, crafting room, and even work for storing small metal toys like Hot Wheels. Truly, adding this storage solution to your home is a super easy, inexpensive, and fun do it yourself project that will yield beautiful results.