Fridge Magnet collecting from A to Z
Decorative fridge magnets first appeared in the '70s of the twentieth century and, since then, without exaggeration, have managed to conquer the whole world. Even though they can be obtained as a corporate souvenir or purchased in an art salon as a small art object, magnet collecting is mainly related to tourism and travel. You can bring an inexpensive cute refrigerator magnet from a vacation or a business trip for yourself or for someone else as a present. Sometimes this process grows like an avalanche.
Stop, little pot!
If collecting souvenir magnets began to take root in your home with a huge force and you want to take this process under control, refer to experienced serious collectors. First, decide which magnets you really need and which of them you don’t. You can filter what you do not need as follows:
1. Sort fridge magnets by theme
Ask yourself, what do you love and what “is never enough?” Cartoon characters, figures of people, plants, animals, maps of countries and cities, landscapes, national symbols, folk crafts and costumes, national cuisine, ornaments, company logos - for each of these themes you can collect a whole collection. If you tell your friends what exactly interests you, it will be easier for them to find a gift for you; besides, it will bring much joy.
2. Concentrate on a particular material
Those who need to create a unified picture of fridge magnets, which will look harmonious, should also decide the question of materials. You cannot set aside the price factor. One of the most expensive are molded metal magnets with relief and enamel. They look solid, but they are not easy to find. There are entire factories that specialize in the production of such magnets. Stamped metal magnets are less expensive, and they are just as durable, but made using simpler technology and aesthetically still do not look as good as molded. Another interesting and popular option is 3D resin magnets made of polystone. They will appeal to those who love bright colors. Handle such fridge magnets carefully though, if they fall, they may break. Acrylic photo magnets are also common; their thickness is 3-5 mm; they are easy to manufacture and very inexpensive. The cheapest option is flexible flat vinyl magnets with photo printing. They are usually produced for short-term advertising purposes and rarely found in tourist shops. There are also handmade refrigerator magnets made of ceramics, textiles, pebbles, straw, cardboard, and other materials. Their advantage is uniqueness, and the disadvantage is that they are often short-lived.
3. Flat or 3D fridge magnets, that is the question!
Kitchen magnets can be almost flat, 3D or shaped. If you intend to place your collection in a kitchen where a lot of cooking is done, keep in mind that flat magnets will be the best choice. Shaped and 3D fridge magnets can easily get covered with a mixture of fat and dust.
4. Find you favourite fridge magnets manufacturer
In addition to the "no-name" magnets, there are magnets with the brand stamp of the manufacturer, and they have their own fans who are not attached to a particular theme. These fans are lovers of style and quality. Usually, one manufacturer works with only one or two materials, but branded refrigerator magnets are a guarantee of accurate execution, they are highly detailed, and have persistent colors.
5. Maybe you love magnets with pendants or other moving parts?
3D polystone or ceramics magnets may have additional features - for example, flexible legs for human figures or spinning blades for mills. This is rare, but that makes it more interesting to collect them.
Even if you just love "all sorts of pretty things", classifying them is useful. But It is important not to go too far.
Something went wrong! Too many fridge magnets? :)
For example, you firmly decided that you were collecting polystone magnets dedicated to animals. But after months or even years, you still have three little pigs on your refrigerator, and you don’t even like them. But you still want a collection. What can be done? There are several options, but all of them are aimed at increasing the meaningfulness of the process:
1. Change the theme
Are you sure about animals? Or maybe plants or vintage cars? Listen to your intuition. It is possible that you took an area, which is very wide - for example, you decided to collect all the animals in a row, but you love only cows or bears, so a collection of a goat, a frog, and a dog will bring no joy. Do not worry, collections of cows alone sometimes number tens of thousands of fridge magnets. Choose with your heart!
2. Choose other materials
Polystone magnets can grow in number much faster than metal ones and inspire more than acrylic ones.
3. Try to collect series of refrigerator magnets
Let's say your choice fell on architecture figures – fridge magnets with objects clearly cut along the contour without too much background. Usually, there is an inscription with the name of the city or other object on such magnets. It can be made in many different styles. There are series with inscriptions on yellow ribbons, patterned red dropped capitals, or sometimes the inscription is simply superimposed on top of the main image, etc. By hunting for a particular series, you can achieve great success.
4. Intensify your search of fridge magnets
Look at souvenir shops, ask your friends to bring something to you. On the next vacation, try to look at the refrigerator magnets with a fresh pair of eyes and choose something completely new that you will like
5. Increase quality requirements and buy only quality magnets
If you decided to collect portraits of historical figures and brought a makeshift wooden magnet with Che Guevara from Havana, but it cannot be distinguished from Nelson Mandela’s portrait... make a decision to get rid of it and start over! Focus on the following indicators: the magnet itself should not fall off its decorative part, there should be no traces of glue or drips of paint anywhere, the image should be clear, inscriptions and small details should be well-read. The item you purchased should be pleasant to hold in your hands, only then it can become a collectible item, which, if necessary, you can easily sell or exchange.
6. Refuse threadbare cliches
Of course, you can set yourself a special goal - to collect, for example, 50 or 100 acrylic magnets with the same hearts instead of the word love and differing only in city names. This can be a challenge! But if you set a goal to collect 50 more expensive magnets in design and execution - for example, only polystone elephants, the task will be more challenging and will not let you get bored.
Traveling solo is not the only way to replenish the collection. In addition, there are much more beautiful and interesting fridge magnets than countries and cities in which you want and can visit. Some collections began with several ones brought personally and grew by further contacts with like-minded people. A strong spark of inspiration can develop by communicating with other collectors and learning from their experience.
People, anyone out there?
If it seems to you that you are alone in your madness and your pathetic three magnets are of no interest to anyone, we have good news for you: almost everyone goes through this. Feel free to contact and ask questions. This can be done at a party, in gift shops, or in social networks. Look for opportunities to talk about your hobby, and they will be happy to answer you.
Collectors communities in social networks are not only local but also international. Many of them are closed; that is, you can enter by sending an application to the administrator. Usually, this is nothing more than protection from Internet trolls and spammers, no need to be scared. Pay attention to the communities with a general interest in souvenirs because many collect not only magnets, but also decorative plates, houses, and masks. Through social networks, it is easy to find options for exchanging and buying-selling refrigerator magnets and learning about manufacturers and gift shops.
What social networks to look for? Almost any: Instagram, YouTube, Facebook; everywhere on the internet there is a community or a blog of souvenir fans. Most likely, you will find like-minded people in the favorite social networks where you already have an account. There it will be easy to find a common language with other community members. Communication of collectors in social networks is not limited to virtual space, because we are not talking about quantum physics, but more tangible things. If you wish, you can become a member of live meetings, thematic flash mobs for exchanging gifts, interesting contests, and giveaways. Sending and waiting for packages is nice!
It is time to build stacks!
The experience of collectors shows that in 15-20 years, you can collect several thousand fridge magnets. Although they are small, filling one refrigerator is never enough, and no one is safe from such a turn of events. Any passion begins from something small and can unfold with an unprecedented scale. If you do not have an industrial-scale refrigeration shop, first, you will need wall-mounted metal boards, then drawers, and then racks with metal pull-out shelves for the collection. In addition, you can completely get confused about what you already have and what you do not. Therefore, one day your treasures will have to be systematized, numbered, and cataloged. At the beginning of the journey, this perspective is slightly scary, but if you get involved, any effort to improve the collection will be a joyful activity for you.
Sometimes collections of refrigerator magnets grow to museum volumes. Be prepared for the fact that you do not want to keep such treasures a secret, and it just will not work. Collecting is a great occasion to make new friends with the same interest, invite guests and just make your life more interesting and brighter.
The article uses photos of fridge magnets and materials from the travel store World Wide Gifts, as well as photos of magnets of a collector Irina Bochkova (Moscow, Russia).