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Thomas the Train Magnets or Impressions Perfect for Birthdays!

Necessity is the mother of invention. Well maybe necessity is a bit of a stretch. But when we decided on Thomas the Train as the theme for my son’s first birthday, and Walmart was sold out of all tank engine themed birthday decor; the dollar store didn’t have anything; and neither did our local mall (see this post for another time this happened), I got inventive. Ultimately, I used these on a birthday sign, goodie bags, and, as explained below, fridge magnets.

What we used

  • Red, blue and black Bristol boards (Target is the cheapest place I know of for these. I’ve also used old magazines with enough red, blue, and black surface area to cut out the shapes needed. Or, construction paper/ coloured food boxes work well.)
  • Grey paper/ cardboard (I used a diet coke box, but anything grey that can be cut out is great)
  • Cardboard backing, optional (you will want to use this if you’ve used paper to creat your magnet as reinforcement)
  • Googlie eyes
  • Magnet (a broken magnet/ the outline of toy magnets you’ve punched out/ dollar store)
  • White paper
  • Pencil
  • Glue stick
  • Elmer’s glue/ glue gun
  • Household items for tracing

What we did

The great thing about using a diet coke box is that it already has circular impressions from the cans. I outlined them in black sharpie, and cut out as many as I wanted.

Then, I simply found a household item with a circular base slightly bigger than the first set of circles. With pencil, I traced its diameter on to black Bristol board. At the top of the circle, I traced roughly an inch of a board book’s spine, holding it perpendicular to the circle. Then, I flipped the spine sideways and made a slightly smaller tracing running across the top of the first line, thus making Thomas’s chimney.

Again, on the black Bristol board, I traced the lid of a thin crayola felt pen twice for each tank engine’s base. I cut out all black Bristol board tracings and flipped them (so the pencil would not be visible). We then glued the grey circles into the centre of the black ones and paced our eyes on. I traced a rectangle wider than Thomas’s head on to the blue Bristol board and again flipped it so the pencil wouldn’t show. I then rounded the edges of the blue rectangle. We glued this to the back of Thomas’s head. I traced a thinner, longer red rectangle for the bottom of Thomas. This was glued on top of the blue body. I cut out small “D” looking shapes from the white paper and we glued them as Thomas’s mouth.

Then I outline the mouth with a fine tipped sharpie, drew on the nose (basically a U shape), and over the eyes drew concave-like triangles as his eyebrows. We glued on black circles (another time I just used black acrylic paint/ sharpie) to act as the buffers on Thomas’s body. If you used coloured paper, I would recommend adhering the entire piece to some cardboard to reinforce it.

Then I cut out, a piece of magnet from the remaining outline from magnet punch-outs we had, and glue gunned it on. I’m sure Elmer’s glue would be fine, it just takes longer to dry.

Et voilà! Thomas fridge magnets!


To make goodie bags, sub the magnet for a small paper bag 🙂

I also made my son’s birthday sign by using these on red and blue plates (dollar store) with painted letters to make a Happy Birthday sign. The ‘How To’ is here.

Below is how I made the cupcakes!


Have questions or a cool DIY birthday decor/ kids’ craft item you’ve done, please share your link or tell me about it below!


  1. How fun and creative! I like any craft with wiggly eyes. =) Such a great idea to decorate party favor bags also.

  2. Wow, Alana! You’re so creative! This is awesome. My oldest was a HUGE Thomas the train fan when he was small. We had every single Thomas train ever made and all the movies to boot. This took me back and made me wish that when I’d thrown him *his* Thomas party I’d had this idea at my disposal! Nice!

    1. It’s crazy to think there will be a day my kids will have grown out of Thomas (or Frozen or…). Thank you so much for your compliment! I had so much fun making them 🙂

  3. I love doing crafty things for the kiddos birthdays! It’s so fun figuring out how to decorate for a specific theme when you don’t have much to go on. These are genius! I love how they are multi-purpose, a magnet, or a goodie bag, or decor. I bet they were a hit!

    1. I couldn’t agree more! It actually makes it more fun (well for me!)!!! Thank you so much Tarynn! I loved making them 😛

  4. My boys would have loved these when they were younger. Thomas the Train was huge in this house back then. Great idea!

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