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M Booth's Photo Wall
Last weekend I had the chance to visit the new office space of M Booth, a public relations agency in New York City. To decorate an otherwise drab wall, they magnetized it and covered it Polaroid-style instant photo prints, attaching each photo to the wall with a rare earth magnet. In order to get these strong magnets to stick to the wall, they painted it with four coats of magnetic primer and then painted over it again with wrought iron colored paint. M Booth staffers went out into the streets with Fujifilm Instax 210 cameras and returned with about 800 photos of life from around the city. They then painstakingly sorted through and attached the prints to the wall in neat rows. It’s quite a nice collection of photography and makes for an interesting conversation piece in the office.

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson

Matt Richardson is a San Francisco-based creative technologist and Contributing Editor at MAKE. He’s the co-author of Getting Started with Raspberry Pi and the author of Getting Started with BeagleBone.


  • http://profiles.google.com/achanlon Andrew Hanlon

     I hadn’t heard of magnetic primer before. Can it be used as a pseudo ferro fluid when wet? Would be awesome if you could let it dry while applying a magnetic field. Imagine a permanent surface like : http://www.dansdata.com/images/magnets/bigspikes440.jpg

    • http://twitter.com/Lukebrooks Luke Brooks

      @google-199b61bbce1b15aaf01d358c68e84b89:disqus you and people like you are what makes make awesome! Great idea I hope some one tries this soon.  

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6H27GAF7PXG4DJSF6MEMVB2OVA JamesB

      Interesting idea.  I’ll bet some iron filings mixed with quick dry epoxy, or CA/superglue, would set up. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6H27GAF7PXG4DJSF6MEMVB2OVA JamesB

      Interesting idea.  I’ll bet some iron filings mixed with quick dry epoxy, or CA/superglue, would set up. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6H27GAF7PXG4DJSF6MEMVB2OVA JamesB

      Interesting idea.  I’ll bet some iron filings mixed with quick dry epoxy, or CA/superglue, would set up. 

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6H27GAF7PXG4DJSF6MEMVB2OVA JamesB

      Interesting idea.  I’ll bet some iron filings mixed with quick dry epoxy, or CA/superglue, would set up. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/TimGray4 Timothy Gray

    Same thing can be done without several hundred dollars in rare instamatic film.  Digital cameras and a quick run to costco to have it done cheaper and the prints will last far FAR longer.

    • DasKreestof livejournal

      If you look closely, you’ll see that they didn’t use rare instamatic film. Instead they used currently available and in production FujiFilm Instax film. You’re correct that they could have done the same thing with digital cameras, printers, scissors and time. I’m sure they did it this way for “Polaroid Nostalgia”

  • http://www.facebook.com/fritz.schneider Fritz Schneider

    This is so weird… it’s like when chef’s are
    making chicken pot pie and they tell you you need REAL saffron picked by
    nuns at three times the price of pure heroin… I usually like artsy
    stuff and design stuff… but when I see people wasting
    huge sums of money (and screwing with the environment) to create
    something, I have to ask WTF? So here ya go: 2 gallons semi-gloss
    Olympic Zero Voc paint, battleship grey, 1/2 inch nap roller. 2 rolls of
    1/2 inch 3m (30% post consumer waste) MASKING tape to stick the photos
    to the wall… Voila, save the planet, save some cash.

  • Anonymous

    Judging by the number of pins I can see holding up pictures, the magnetic primer is not really up to the job.  Or did they run out of magnets?

    • http://mattrichardson.com/ Matt Richardson

      I’m not sure what you’re seeing, but there were no pins, only magnets. And they worked pretty well. 

    • http://mattrichardson.com/ Matt Richardson

      I’m not sure what you’re seeing, but there were no pins, only magnets. And they worked pretty well. 

  • Anonymous

    Judging by the number of pins I can see holding up pictures, the magnetic primer is not really up to the job.  Or did they run out of magnets?

  • Anonymous

    Judging by the number of pins I can see holding up pictures, the magnetic primer is not really up to the job.  Or did they run out of magnets?

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.prevette Mike Prevette

     Umm, covering the wall in sheet metal would have been WAY cheaper, Less work, look cooler, and give greater magnetic hold, not to mention be more environmentally sound. fail.

    • http://mattrichardson.com/ Matt Richardson

      I wouldn’t be so dismissive of this method. After all, it’s in your opinion that it would look cooler with sheet metal. I disagree. Not only that, but you don’t back up your claim that it would be better for the environment to cover the wall in sheet metal, so I’m skeptical about that.

    • http://mattrichardson.com/ Matt Richardson

      I wouldn’t be so dismissive of this method. After all, it’s in your opinion that it would look cooler with sheet metal. I disagree. Not only that, but you don’t back up your claim that it would be better for the environment to cover the wall in sheet metal, so I’m skeptical about that.

  • http://twitter.com/kombizz kombizz

    It is a nice finding. Now, I know how to fill the empty spaces on my bedrooom wall. Thank you for sharing.

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