How to Make a Bar Magnet

••• Jupiterimages/ Images

While you need sophisticated equipment to make strong permanent magnets, you can easily make a weak bar magnet. An unmagnetized piece of steel or iron, stroked in a particular way by a strong magnet, will pick up magnetism from the magnet. Unmagnetized metal has tiny magnetic parts that are disorganized. The stroking causes some of them to point in one direction. Their small magnetic fields add up to a larger one.

    Hold the steel bar flat on a table so one end is pointing toward you.

    Touch one end (north or south) of the bar magnet to end of the steel bar closest to you.

    Move the magnet along the steel bar’s length until you reach the end away from you. The steel bar should remain still. You’re moving the magnet, not the steel bar.

    Pull the magnet away a few inches, keeping the same end pointing toward the bar.

    Bring that end of the magnet to the end of the steel bar nearest to you again.

    Repeat this stroking motion at least 20 times. Each time, when you reach the end of the steel bar, pull the magnet away slightly, then bring it back to the end of the steel bar closest to you.

    Set the magnet down and see if you can pick up loose staples with the steel bar. When it does, it is magnetized.

    Things You'll Need

    • Strong bar magnet
    • Steel or iron bar, 6 inches or shorter
    • Loose staples or paper clips


    • Permanent magnets will gradually lose their magnetism. Encounters with other magnets, drops to the floor, and heat will decrease a magnet’s strength.

Related Articles

5 Space Science Kits That Are Out of This World
How to Remagnetize a Compass Needle
Quick & Easy Experiments With Magnets
How to Make a Homemade Magnetic Levitation
How to Calculate Thermal Expansion of Steel
How to Magnetize an Iron Rod
Demagnetizing a Steel Nail
How to Create a Powerful Magnetic Field
How to Build a Magnetic Coil
Why Are Magnets Used in Recycling?
Relationship Between Electricity & Magnetism
How to Demagnetize Steel
How to Make Objects Move with a Magnet
How to Use a Compass & Protractor
How to Turn Off the Magnetic Field of a Permanent Magnet
How to Calculate the Area of Steel
How to Remagnetize Old Magnets Using Neodymium Magnets
Types of Metals That Attract Magnets
How to Make a Capacitor
How to Identify Three Types of Levers
How to Build a Super Magnet