How to Make a Magic Wall (and How It Can Help Your Writing)

Okay, show of hands:

  • Who here prefers working old school when it comes to outlining and plotting your novel?
  • Who here at times prefers pens and notecards to keyboards and LCDs?
  • Who here is ready to get crafty?

Good. Because I’m going to teach you how to make a Magic Wall.

What? You’ve never heard of a Magic Wall?

A Magic Wall is a piece of fabric that is just tacky enough (i.e., sticky, not obnoxious, though it could be that, too) that paper will stick to it.

Back in my younger years, I worked for a training company, writing process manuals for corporations. The company had a Magic Wall. It was very useful for those times we needed to brainstorm, to get all of our ideas down so we could see them, and to be able to arrange and rearrange them.

The other day while working out the kinks in the plot of my WiP, I wanted to step back and see the big picture of the novel. And being a bit old school, I wanted to use tangible materials I could physically move around. So I wrote out my chapters and scenes on notecards. It was then I realized how awesome it would be to have a Magic Wall right there in my office.

So I made one.

And now you can, too.

You’re probably asking why I don’t just use a bulletin board. One word: FREEDOM.

You can make your Magic Wall as large or small as you want. You can hang it wherever you want. It doesn’t have a border, so you’re not penned in like you are with a bulletin board. And you don’t have to worry about push pins.

Total freedom to stick your papers wherever you darn well please. (I mean that in an entirely non-rude way.)

Let’s get to it. Here’s how to make a Magic Wall.

Materials:

Directions:

  1. Measure the space in your office where you will hang your Magic Wall.
  2. Cut your fabric to your desired size. Allow a half-inch on each side for the seam.
  3. Working on one side at a time, run a bead of fabric glue 1/4 inch from the edge of the fabric. Fold the fabric edge up over your glue line. Press and hold until the seam is secure.
    NOTE: At the corners, glue the edge of one seam over the top of the other.
  4. Allow your glued seams to dry for half an hour.
  5. Working in a well-ventilated area and wearing a safety mask, spray a light coating of the 3M General Purpose Adhesive Spray over the front side of your fabric. Move in one direction (up-and-down or side-to-side), and hold the can 8-10 inches from the fabric. You just want to lightly coat the surface, not create puddles.
    NOTE: Wear your face mask. Seriously. This stuff will turn your liver green.
  6. Spray a second coat, working in the opposite direction as the first.
  7. Hang your Magic Wall in your office, securing each corner with a thumb tack.
  8. Stand back and admire the awesomeness of your Magic Wall.
  9. Test it out by arranging and rearranging papers on it.
    Note: Children and small animals will NOT stick to the wall. Trust me.

Voila! You’re done. And you have a new tool to help you brainstorm and organize your stories.

Things to note:

  • If your Magic Wall sticks to itself when you’re transporting it to your office, don’t freak out. Just unstick it. That’s the beauty of the Magic Wall. You can stick it and unstick it (again, non-rude here).
  • If, over time, your wall loses its stickiness, simply take it down and reapply a coat of the 3M spray. Remember to do so in a well-ventilated area, wearing your safety mask. You do not want a green liver. Green livers are bad.

Let me know if you make your own Magic Wall, and if you think it’s as awesome as I do.

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