Several years ago, I created these as a way for Joey to easily display (and rotate) all of her artwork.
This weekend, I did up a new one for her favorite photos and thought I'd give a quick tutorial.
-1 strip of flat metal with holes in it (make sure you test it with a magnet before you bring it home. And, yes, to find this, I basically walked around the home improvement store sticking a magnet to pieces of interesting looking metal) If you can't find one with at least a couple of holes in it for attaching to the wall, you'll have to drill your own and most likely have to buy a special drill bit for metal.
-First coat of paint- Metal Primer (The important thing to look for on the back of the label is a section called Priming that recommends it for use on bare metal.) If you can find a color you like in this, go ahead and use it as both primer and final color.
-Second coat of paint- Final Color (whatever kind you have or can find- I used left-over semi-gloss)
-Last coat of paint- Clear, Protective Enamel (this isn't completely necessary, but does cut down on the tiny bit of flaking paint that I experienced the first time I tried it.)
-Washers (I needed these because the size of the holes were bigger than the heads on the screws)
-Basically, I washed everything but the screws with soapy water and a piece of steel wool, rinsed well and let it air dry.
-Then I coated the metal strip and washers with the paints in the order listed in the supplies, letting everything dry thoroughly between coats. (The vast majority of time for this project is really just waiting for the previous coat of paint to dry; it's really only about half an hour of actual work.)
-Then I hung it up (marked the studs, used a level to mark the hole placement, drilled pilot holes and attached to the wall with screws).
-Originally, I had bought some of that magnetic paint and covered a piece of molding with it. I did several coats and the magnets just didn't stick all that well. Paper tended to go flying if we had the ceiling fan on or windows open. Trust me, the metal works much better.
-You may need to do more than one coat of any one of the paints.
-Read the paint labels for the wait times between coats.
-I suggest using a sponge brush, because it tends to leave fewer marks than the regular bristle brushes.
-I put the metal strip up on saw horses for painting.
-I used small pieces of polymer clay to hold the washers up off the paper towel when painting.
If you want to skip the painting part, it'll just have a more industrial look. The project will also be much more environmentally friendly and a lot easier.