Learn how you can help your family members know whether the dishes in the dishwasher are clean or dirty with a clean and dirty dishwasher magnet.
Does your kitchen need a clean and dirty dishwasher magnet? Do you have someone in your household who doesn’t look in the dishwasher to know if the contents are clean or dirty? They leave their dirty dishes on the counter or in the sink, just assuming the dishwasher is full of clean dishes or they sometimes put their dirty dishes into the dishwasher full of clean dishes. Maybe there is someone in your home who would help with loading and unloading but they cannot tell if the dishes are clean or dirty so, they just don’t bother.
I have lived with these people and needed a solution.
We solved the issue with a clean and dirty dishwasher magnet to make it clear to everyone, including kids, spouse, and house-guests, the exact condition of the contents of the dishwasher. It even helped to change some of our habits!
Materials and Supplies to Make the Clean and Dirty Dishwasher Magnet
(This post contains affiliate links to some of the items I used in this project. It just means that you will help to support my blog if you make a purchase after clicking the links. There is no added cost to you!)
- Design from my Resource Library
- Printable Magnetic Sheets – I bought the Avery 3270 Printable Magnetic Sheets – There are five sheets in the pack so you can make more magnet projects later
- Two sheets of complementary colors of vinyl
- Transfer tape
Note: If you want to learn how to acquire vinyl for free, you can read my post about how to talk to a sign shop to acquire their vinyl scraps. They throw away scraps that are larger than your cutting mat.
Make the Clean and Dirty Dishwasher Magnet by Hand
Before we even get started, before you buy the magnetic sheets, test your dishwasher to see if it will accept a magnet. While most dishwashers, like most appliances, can hold a magnet, some do not. Just do a quick check first.
The printable magnetic sheets in this project can be used in an inkjet printer. You can then print the design from the PDF in my resource library directly onto the magnet sheets. The PDF has the outlines for the design, then you can paint the parts of the design the colors you prefer. The magnetic sheets are easy to cut with an X-Acto knife or a pair of scissors.
Make the Clean and Dirty Dishwasher Magnet with a Craft Machine
I did all my work for my magnet with my Cricut. Use the fine point blade to cut the magnetic sheets. The magnet sheets are 8-1/2″ x 11″ (so they can go through a printer). The back side is the magnet material and the front side is a printable surface that is bonded to the magnet. They do print nicely but I wanted to use up some of my vinyl left over from a previous project.
I laid this out in two ways in the design file and both of these are in the files in my resource library.
- 4-up: Designed for 4 magnets per sheet (one for you, three for friends)
- 1-up: Designed for a single magnet
These steps are to make four magnets from a single sheet: one for me then the rest will be given as gifts to those who said, “That magnet on your dishwasher is brilliant!”
About the Cut Design
When I sat down to design the clean and dirty dishwasher magnet, mostly I wanted something functional, something I needed. But, since I have this blog and part of what I do is teach you how to do things, I also wanted to be able to demonstrate some techniques for you to help you learn how to work with vinyl.
Options for The Clean and Dirty Dishwasher Magnet
These are some options to do instead of a layer of uncut vinyl. If you do any of these then skip Step 2.
- You can pre-print the magnet with a colorful design and apply the cut vinyl over the printing.
- You can pre-paint the magnet sheet on the printable side. For example: Use a couple of different colors of spray paint for some creative coloring.
- Brush on the leftover paint from painting your kitchen walls to make something to match your kitchen.
Step 1: Cut the Top Vinyl Layer
In my design, the uncut layer becomes the background for one side of the magnet and the letters of the other side of the magnet. And, by making 4 magnets, I also got to switch which was which. What this means is that it did not matter which color was the cut layer. I chose the gold color as the cut layer and the matte black as the uncut layer.
Place the vinyl on your mat then load up the design and cut. There is nothing special you need to do with the file.
Remove the vinyl from the mat then weed off the 8-1/2″ x 11″ outside piece.
After weeding the outside vinyl that reveals the 8-1/2″ x 11″ section, you can then weed the rest of this vinyl layer. You can weed as I did so that you have two different color combinations or weed them all the same.
Apply the transfer tape. Do not pull the carrier paper off the vinyl until you are ready to apply this layer in Step 3. You can now remove this from your mat.
Step 1: Apply the Uncut Vinyl
This design for the clean and dirty dishwasher magnet uses two layers of vinyl. The first layer is not cut in the craft machine. You need to cut this sheet to 8-1/2″ x 11″ because it will completely cover the magnetic sheet.
I will use the hinge method to apply this layer of vinyl to the magnetic sheet.
Lay the magnetic sheet on your cutting mat with the magnet side down.
Align the magnet sheet so the top and left side of the sheet is perfectly lined up to the top and left sides of your mat. Note: the picture below shows the top of my mat on the left side of the picture.
With the vinyl still on its carrier paper, lay it on the magnet and line it up so the top and left side of the sheet is perfectly lined up to the magnet sheet.
Place a strip of tape along one side. In the picture below, the tape is along the top edge of the mat but the top of the mat is in the left side of the picture. This is best for those working left-handed. If you are right-handed, rotate the mat so the taped edge is on your right side.
Pull the vinyl and its carrier paper away from the magnet.
Continue to pull back all the way to the tape “hinge.”
Again, if you are right-handed, rotate your mat so the tape-hinge in on your right. I’m giving some love to my left-handed friends in these pictures.
Begin to pull the carrier paper away from the vinyl.
This is how it will look for the right-handed folks (and how you’ll see me work in the video).
Yes, there is a short video! This is a video of getting the vinyl down on the surface of the magnet.
If you have debris on your cutting mat then it may translate to looking like bubbles under your vinyl because it is pushing up on the magnet. There may also be imperfections in the printable layer of the magnet that will make your vinyl look like it is not completely pressed onto the magnet. Pulling the tape off the vinyl may cause a bubble or two.
Bubbles can often be pressed out. The imperfections of the magnetic sheet are there and you can’t get rid of them. Maybe your cut layer of vinyl will mask them.
Step 3: Apply the Cut Vinyl Layer
Start with the magnet that you still have affixed to your cutting mat (that is now covered with vinyl or that you painted) and your cut vinyl that should already have the transfer tape applied from Step 1.
There are straight edges in this layer of cut vinyl that you can use to align this layer to the vinyl-covered magnet. If you have the more opaque style of transfer tape as I have, then you may want to trim some of it away to help you with aligning this layer.
In the picture above, I trimmed around the word “dirty” so I could see that corner of my work surface and I trimmed along the entire side (hidden under the tape in the above picture) to help me align this layer.
And here is a picture for the left handed crafters reading this.
Instead of trying to talk you through applying the vinyl, I made a short video.
To be honest, I almost re-recorded this video. The cut on this vinyl was a little deep and it cut into the carrier paper enough that I had to “baby it” as I separated the vinyl from the carrier paper. I hate it when that happens but it sometimes does. It was a bit of a pain but I’ve dealt with this sort of thing before.
Perhaps it’s a good thing that you get to see that it’s not perfect every time. Even people who work with vinyl every day as part of their regular 9-to-5 job encounter this. So, I decided maybe it’s better that you see that it happens and you just have to be patient with it. I got through it but I won’t make you sit through it in real time. I sped up this video for you plus it has happy music in the background for your enjoyment.
After the vinyl is applied and burnished down then you can remove the transfer paper. Do not pull the transfer paper straight up. Instead, pull at an angle. You can see in the above video that I drag it along the surface of the project. You will now have all your layers stacked then ready to cut the magnets.
Step 4: Cutting the Clean and Dirty Dishwasher Magnets
To cut the magnets, upload the cut file that has the four rounded corner rectangles then click Make it in Cricut Design Space.
Design Space will automatically put the edge of the cut file in the upper left corner of your cutting mat. This is the corner where you have aligned everything else and the cut vinyl layer has enough border to deal with the quarter-inch space where the Cricut won’t cut.
Note: Materials Setting
If your Cricut has a dial for the materials setting then change it to Custom. From the materials selection screen, type in magnet to narrow the selection then select printable magnetic sheet. The name of this material can (and has) change over time in Design Space — just look for a magnetic material that uses the fine point blade and a single cut until you know your own materials. In other words, err on the side of under-cutting vs. over-cutting. This setting uses the fine point blade. The Avery brand of printable magnet plus the two layers of vinyl took four passes. Your specific materials may vary.
Start by loading the project into your machine then start the cutting. When it finishes, do NOT eject the mat. Leave it there in your Cricut then lift a corner of the magnet to see if it cut all the way through. If not, press the button with the Cricut logo (not the flashing double-arrow).
Repeat until the magnet is cut all the way through. Again, on my machine, it took four passes. When it has cut through then you can eject it from the machine and weed the outside of the magnet off of the mat.
When you make this, you can leave a note in the comments of this post with the brand of magnetic sheets you used and what settings worked for you. Then others can benefit from everyone’s experiences.
Step 5: Time to Use Your NEW Clean and Dirty Dishwasher Magnet
Remove your magnets from your cutting mat.
Your clean and dirty dishwasher magnet is ready to use. This is a picture of my new magnet on our dishwasher.
This is way we use the clean and dirty dishwasher magnet in my house…
Position 1: Dishwasher is Running
When the dishwasher is running, it is too quiet. We often do not even remember that it is running. Seriously, it’s that quiet! So, whoever starts the dishwasher puts the magnet with the clean side up above the dishwasher handle. Anyone who reaches for the handle can’t miss the magnet and should see that they should not open the dishwasher.
Position 2: Dishwasher is Clean
Once the dishwasher is done running, whoever pops open the dishwasher to let moisture escape so the dishes can complete their drying, that person moves the magnet to the right side of the dishwasher with the word clean on top. We also let the magnet hang off the edge by a small amount, just because it is easier to grab.
Position 3: Dishwasher is Dirty
Whoever empties the dishwasher moves the magnet to the left side of the dishwasher and flips the magnet over so the word dirty is on top.
If you are new to cutting vinyl or just want to try some new projects, then you can click these links to try some of the things I have blogged about that use vinyl somewhere in the project. I also have a whole post about how you can get vinyl for free from sign shops who throw away scraps that are bigger than what you can cut on your machine.