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I’m liking my slightly sloppy magnetic poppy

November 11, 2015


If you’re at all inclined to do what I did and epoxy a magnet on to your Royal Canadian Legion remembrance poppy, I have two pieces of useful advice:

  • Test that the magnet is strong enough to hold firmly to a piece of steel (a Canadian dime or washer, for instance) through the thickest fabric that you intend to fix the poppy onto
  • And for flock sakes, be tidy about applying the epoxy. And whatever you do, Don’t try to push the magnet into the epoxy using a steel pin (d’oh!)

Otherwise, it’s a piece of cake and I’d recommend anyone with access to the necessary materials to follow my lead, learn from my my mistakes and make one for themselves.

Making my not-so-perfect pinless poppy

Magnet, Poppy and epoxy, with Popsicle stick barely visible.

Magnet, Poppy and epoxy, all sitting on a piece of cardboard.

Over a week ago I miraculously binned a discarded epoxy kit in a zip-lock bag, so I naturally took the opportunity to take my own advice and replace the straight pin fastener of my freshly-bought remembrance poppy with a ceramic magnet.

The magnet that I had was weaker than I preferred. It could effect a strong bond through shirt fabric but not through jacket-weight fleece.

I had used a much stronger magnet to make a paper white peace poppy days earlier. Unfortunately, I tossed it into a paper recycling dumpster, without thinking to remove the magnet first.

Blob epoxy in centre of poppy. Magnet in centre of epoxy. Felt dot on top of magnet.

Epoxy in centre of the poppy. Magnet in the epoxy. Felt dot on top of the magnet.

After first disassembling the poppy into its three components of red plastic “petals”, black felt dot and straight pin, I mixed equal quantities of epoxy resin and hardener.

Then, using the mixing (Popsicle) stick supplied with the epoxy, I neatly dropped a dollop of the epoxy into the very centre of the red plastic poppy and, oh so carefully, set the little ceramic magnet onto the epoxy.

The magnet sat on top of the epoxy like a garnish and I cast about for something to gently push it down with. Without much thinking I reached for the poppy’s discarded steel straight pin.

In my defense, it was late, I was a bit tired and, well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.

Naturally the magnet stuck to the pin and naturally it took some doing to get it off and in the process, I naturally spread the epoxy around a bit farther than I should have.

The last step was to drop the black felt dot onto the epoxy-covered magnet, near to exactly the centre of the plastic poppy and gently press it down so it really made contact with the epoxy.

Actually there was an additional step the next day after the epoxy had sufficiently hardened.

The thin plastic of the poppy was pushed out around the centre pin hole, and I gently sanded the resulting bump off of the back side of the poppy until it was nice and flat, for better contact with the magnet. I used the handy face of a grey masonry brick wall to do this.

It seems nutty because it’s made especially for Vancouver


My little magnetic poppy holds very strongly through shirt fabric to a dime or a washer and the magnet would only need be a bit more potent for it to work with any winter-weight coat or jacket.

One thought behind using a magnet stems specifically from Vancouver’s autumn rain and the desire to avoid poking holes in rain gear.

I’m not inclined to stick pins through my under-$100 Viking coated nylon rain jacket and you certainly wouldn’t catch me doing such a thing to a $200 or $300 Gore-Tex jacket, if I had one, as thousands of other Vancouverites do.

And not only does this little magnetic poppy meet my personal needs for a safer, less pokey, less easily-lost, remembrance poppy, it could also be seen as a proof of concept for a larger car- and truck-sized version. Wouldn’t that be neat? Click the images to enlarge them.

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