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Though the recipe does call for some flammable and toxic ingredients, curious chemists may want to check out these instructions for making your own magnetic ferrofluid over at Sci-Spot. Anyone come across a any better methods? Please drop a line in the comments!

Collin Cunningham

Born, drew a lot, made video, made music on 4-track, then computer, more songwriting, met future wife, went to art school for video major, made websites, toured in a band, worked as web media tech, discovered electronics, taught myself electronics, blogged about DIY electronics, made web videos about electronics and made music for them … and I still do!



  1. svalebror says:

    Have been looking at practically the same method here:

    Have a hard time finding Oleic Acid in Oslo, and have wondered whether it would be possible to replace it with a vegetable oil rich in oleic acid, like e.g. grape seed oil, or if that would be hoplessly stupid of me.

  2. youevolve says:

    I found, by pure chance, the black portion of JB Weld contains iron and reacts to a magnet. While it is not, itself, magnetic, it is fun to play with!

  3. Marc de Vinck says:

    Not as good as the “real” stuff…but it’s fairly safe and cheap!

    Mineral (or motor) oil + laser toner (from an old toner cartridge) = cheap ferrofluid


    Can’t remember where I saw this, and I never tried it!

  4. says:

    #1 I tried this recipe a while back, but substituted olive oil for oleic acid. It barely worked. There are lots of hits w. google shopping search for oleic acid…

  5. Kyle McDonald says:

    Wow, didn’t realize this method existed. It looks super caustic. Here’s another technique that uses white lithium grease, 3-in-1 oil and iron filings:

    I also distilled the instructions to the essential steps here:

  6. Sean says:

    Magnetite naturally occurs as as black sand here in the Pacific Northwest. Any sand in a stream that has black streaks in it can give up the magnetite by simply dragging a high powered magnet through it.

    Our elementary school was built on decomposed granite and we would drag magnets through the sand in the bottoms of the ditches wherever we saw the black streaks and extract it. One of us had about five pounds of the stuff and we all used it for playing with and displaying magnetic fields. It’s a lot better than iron filings, no rust.

    Takes no messing around with chemicals. And after grinding in a ball mill to powder it up even finer, my preference would be to mix it with a light silicone oil. Kerosene STINKS!

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