How to Make a Stud Finder

Written by david montoya
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How to Make a Stud Finder
Rare earth magnets are powerful enough to attract metal through drywall. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

Locating the ever-elusive stud behind drywall can turn into a guessing game. Even a good guess can be wrong, so it's important to utilise the tools available to you to make an accurate find. You can make your own homemade stud finder if you don't have a commercial stud finder at your disposal. A stud finder can be constructed with common household goods and a rare earth magnet, which can be purchased at home repair and hobby stores. The rare earth magnet is an important part of this project since it has the strength to locate metal screws through drywall.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Glue
  • Rare earth magnet
  • Sandpaper
  • Wooden handle

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  1. 1

    Sand one side of a rare earth magnet with a piece of sandpaper. Sanding creates a rough surface that will allow the glue to better adhere to the magnet.

  2. 2

    Apply glue to the sanded side of the magnet. The type of glue you use does not matter, it just needs to be strong enough to hold the weight of the magnet. Epoxies, silicone and plastic glues are all suitable for this project.

  3. 3

    Firmly press the magnet against a wooden handle. This handle can be a piece of leftover wood from a carpentry project or even a old wooden stirring spoon. The only requirement is that the handle should fit comfortably in your hand. Hold the magnet in place until it sets in place. Read the directions on your glue bottle to determine how long it takes for the glue to completely dry. You do not want to start using the stud-finding tool until the glue has dried.

  4. 4

    Hold the wooden handle in your hand and place the magnet directly against the wall. Start dragging the magnet across the wall until you feel the magnet pull. This indicates that the magnet has found a metal stud or screw. Allow the natural magnetism to pull the stud finder to the exact location of the stud.

Tips and warnings

  • The ability of the magnet to detect metal studs will depend on its size. Thus, larger magnets will work better than smaller magnets. There's no bright line rule on how big the magnet should be for this project, though. Try testing the magnet on metal to see how strong the magnetic attraction is before constructing the stud finder. Try a larger rare earth magnet if the attraction feels weak.

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