chalk paint. I found 14 x 14 ugly metal signs at Hobby Lobby on 90% clearance- so they were $1.40 each. I used these before for some other projects so I was happy to find them again. I grabbed all they had.
Here is how you make the magnetic boards:
Using homemade chalk paint- paint one or two coats of paint on the metal- no primer needed. Let dry.
Sand off any edges and areas that you want to show to "age" the piece.
Add a coat of clear wax covering the entire surface
Let that dry and then add a coat of dark brown wax.
Let that dry and then buff gently.
You can also make coordinating magnets. Just glue a magnet to any small object using E6000 glue. Let dry well. I used vintage buttons from my stash.
Now your message board is ready to go to work- it can be used for family messages, or for a rotating display of favorite quotes and scriptures, or to show off adorable family pictures, etc.
3/28/11 I've linked up with making the world cuter here