The ubiquitous fridge magnet

Ahhh… those colourful fridge magnets are stuck on refrigerator doors in millions of homes around the world. It’s hard to think of a place anywhere on this planet that doesn’t sell them as a souvenir. They come in a dizzying array of shapes and sizes and are made with a multitude of materials (wood, shells, rubber, pvc, plastic, etc…). To me, they’re the perfect souvenir – they’re cheap, easy to carry around and are a great memento of the places I’ve visited.

Nowadays, the magnets found in the big tourist destinations are, more often than not, mass produced in China. However, I often make it a point to seek out the stuff that’s locally made. They’re authentic, often made from materials found locally and it’s a small contribution to the local handicraft industry.

I currently have more than a hundred of them, I think! As a special tribute to the ubiquitous fridge magnet, I’ve compiled a photo essay of some of my favourites. Long live the fridge magnet! ๐Ÿ™‚

PS/If you’re a collector of fridge magnets, you might like to check out the Velvet Escape magnet collection.

San Pedro de Atacama, Chile (cactus wood)

S.P. de Atacama, Chile (cactus wood)

Punta Arenas, Chile (wool)

Punta Arenas, Chile (wool)

Uluru, Australia (PVC)

Uluru, Australia (PVC)

Valparaiso, Chile (PVC)

Valparaiso, Chile (PVC)

Portland (OR), USA (Wood)

Portland (OR), USA (Wood)

Klein Bay, South Africa (ceramic)

Klein Bay, South Africa (ceramic)

Bora Bora, French Polynesia (oyster)

Bora Bora, French Polynesia (oyster)

Iguaรงu Falls, Brazil (PVC)

Iguaรงu Falls, Brazil (PVC)

Serengeti, Tanzania (PVC)

Serengeti, Tanzania (PVC)

Prague, Czech Republic (wood)

Prague, Czech Republic (wood)

San Francisco, USA (plastic)

San Francisco, USA (plastic)

Toronto, Canada (PVC)

Toronto, Canada (PVC)

Venice, Italy (porcelain)

Venice, Italy (porcelain)

Panajachel, Guatemala (cotton, cardboard)

Panajachel, Guatemala (cotton, cardboard)

Sarawak, Malaysia (plastic)

Sarawak, Malaysia (plastic)

See also: The Ubiquitous Fridge Magnet: Readers’ Favourites. I’ve also turned some of my favourite photos into fridge magnets. View the Velvet Escape fridge magnet collection in the panel below.


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35 Responses to “The ubiquitous fridge magnet”

  1. Vernon 20/12/2012 4:28 am
    #

    Hi All,

    Nice collection. Friends please visit my FB page for my collection and let me know if anyone is interested i swap ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks,
    Vern

  2. Rakhi 08/05/2011 7:51 pm
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    Hi! Nice collection… I like to collect international fridge magnets too and have about 60 in all (not all are international ones) but don’t go abroad too often ๐Ÿ™ … I request friends and acquaintances to get for me and also offer to pay but have not made much progress. The ones available online work out too expensive after shipping charges. Guess slow and steady is the way for me. Any cheap websites that you know of?

  3. Katy Stewart 14/03/2011 9:28 pm
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    I love this collection! I always like to pick up a little trinket from wherever I go, have a few key chains and shot glasses, but not many magnets. It’s the one touristy pleasure I allow every trip!

  4. shah 21/02/2011 8:23 pm
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    hi velvet.
    they’re great. lovely
    im collecting too but due to my busy schedule, i dont hv time traveling like u guys
    would be very greatfull if any1want to xchnge ur FM from ur country with my country.. malaysia noorshahrazat@hotmail.com

  5. velvet 21/01/2011 3:57 pm
    #

    Thanks Nisha! I used to collect keychains and t-shirts too but many travels later, my fridge magnet collection remains. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Cheers,
    Keith

  6. Nisha 21/01/2011 3:36 pm
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    Great fun article. Retweeted it. Besides fridge magnets I also collect key chains & T-shirts. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Mark 24/11/2010 4:26 pm
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    Fun post Keith! I’m a collector of these fine, little trinkets as well, and for the same reasons you list here! I also collect bookmarks and one of my faves is a wooden surfboard one from Maui! I guess my equal passion for travel and books is well-represented in these little items! Oh, and thanks for the reminder to “buy locally”…gotta do that!! Happy & safe travels to you!

  8. Fridge Magnets 03/08/2010 4:22 am
    #

    I found your post very interesting, I think you are a brilliant writer. I added your blog to my bookmarks and will return in the future. I want to encourage you to continue that marvelous work, have a great daytime!

  9. vewe 05/06/2010 1:54 pm
    #

    Fridge Magnet is one of my fave souvenir to bring home from traveling. It’s something to remind me of where I’ve been traveled before and bringing back old memories…

    Your collection are nice, I especially like the Patagonia and Venice one ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. ioana 31/01/2010 11:52 pm
    #

    Hello!
    My name is Ioana and I’m from Romania! I collect fridge magnets and I have over 400.
    I’m inviting you to see my website. Hope you will like it!

    Best Regards!

  11. velvet 14/11/2009 10:57 pm
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    HI Jessie,
    Thanks for your comment. I love the Uluru one too. Locally made and so cute! ๐Ÿ™‚

  12. Jessie Kwak 14/11/2009 9:01 pm
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    I love fridge magnets, but I’m not very diligent about collecting them, so I just have a smattering of national park magnets. (Oh, and I lost most of my best ones during one of my many moves a few years back. Moving gnomes, you know?)

    I think that the Uluru one is my favorite!

  13. Katie, Tripbase 31/08/2009 4:07 pm
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    What a great idea for souvenirs, my thing used to be beer mats. Had a beer mat from every stop-off up the Australian East coast!

  14. Anil 05/08/2009 2:16 am
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    I’m with Jen, the Patagonia magnet is my favorite.

  15. velvet 02/08/2009 11:25 am
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    Thank you Kelly for your comment. I will certainly get in touch with you for a follow up post on the fridge magnet collections of my readers.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  16. Kelly 02/08/2009 4:40 am
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    Enjoyed your blog post. Happy to find others who collect magnets as a memento of their travels. One of my favorites is the New York skyline before Sept. 11, 2001. I bought it on a trip in Jan of either 98 or 99. On that trip I visited the observation deck of one of the towers on a beautiful and unseasonbly warm January day. Another in my collection is from another of the world’s tallest buildings Taipei 101. I also create magnets from my personal travel photos to add to my collection. In addition to magnets, I collect Christmas ornaments when I travel.

  17. waitinginthedark 01/08/2009 6:18 pm
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    great idea to write a post about fridge magnets! I am chasing at them when travelling but with a totally different philosophy. That’s part of a joke between my brother and me: trying to catch the most horrible, or ridiculous or trash magnet as a souvenir to each other. That’s real fun, because I happened to see things which I really considerend beyond any imagination…
    cheers,

  18. velvet 01/08/2009 4:11 pm
    #

    Thanks for your comment. I’ll get in touch with you about a follow up post and get other readers to contribute pics as well. That would be very cool! Thanks for the idea.

    Cheers,
    Keith

  19. RJ 01/08/2009 12:24 pm
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    Great and fun article! Maybe do a follow up on Reader’s magnets. I bet you’ll get some gems there too.

  20. velvet 01/08/2009 12:18 am
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    Hahahahaha! If you read the comments below, you’ll see I’m not the only one! I’m sure you’ve got a couple hidden somewhere! LOL!

    Cheers,
    Keith

  21. Andy Hayes 01/08/2009 12:03 am
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    Oh god – how disgusting/awful/hilarious. Have you no shame!

    ๐Ÿ˜‰

  22. Isabelle 31/07/2009 7:20 pm
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    Hi Keith! Nice to know I’m not the only one collecting them ๐Ÿ˜‰
    But I have to admit, you have some unique ones in your collection.
    Thanks for sharing,
    Isabelle

  23. Amy @ The Q Family 31/07/2009 6:23 pm
    #

    Long Live the Fridge Magnets! ๐Ÿ™‚ I used to collect those as well but now that my fridge is full of my kids’ artwork, dr. appointment reminder and other useless things. I have turned to collect Christmas Ornaments. It was fun to put up a tree and look at those ornaments we collects.

    I love that you pick a rather unique magnet and seems to represent the place you visit like Oyster made from Bora Bora, Wool from Chile and Wood from Portland. Very neat!!

  24. jen Laceda 31/07/2009 5:22 pm
    #

    Thanks, Keith!

    Also, I’m glad to see that you’ve included my home city, Toronto in your fridge magnet collection! What an honour!!

  25. velvet 31/07/2009 5:15 pm
    #

    Thanks for the comments Gwen, Vera, Lisa & Jen!

    Jen, that Patagonia wool sweater is my favourite too! ๐Ÿ™‚ Btw, absolutely loved your latest Marrakech post! Wish I could take pictures like you! Wow!

    Cheers,
    Keith

  26. Lisa at Wanderlust Women 31/07/2009 5:14 pm
    #

    What a great collection and nice post.

  27. jen Laceda 31/07/2009 5:12 pm
    #

    What a brilliant idea to collect fridge magnets! I especially like the Patagonia wool sweater. So crafty chic!

  28. Gwen McCauley 31/07/2009 5:08 pm
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    Good one, Keith. I regularly cull my fridge magnets and find it interesting to see the ones that keep surviving my moments of de-cluttering!

    Cheers

    Gwen McCauley

  29. Vera Marie Badertscher 31/07/2009 5:08 pm
    #

    Thanks for sharing. They’re great! My collection is a little more expensive–ceramic tiles, which I hang on my kitchen wall, and line up on my kitchen counters. Some are artsy, but most are blatantly touristy.

  30. velvet 31/07/2009 4:59 pm
    #

    Hi Gaby,
    Thanks for commenting. Will have to go shopping for a Bali magnet soon! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Cheers,
    Keith

  31. gabybali 31/07/2009 4:53 pm
    #

    And I used to collect magnetic telephone card from around the world!..Those fridge magnet are cute!! Yeah! Long live the fridge magnet!

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