How to create an electromagnet

This sounds like a very attractive activity.

Published: 17th February, 2020 at 11:15

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What you’ll need

  • About one metre of insulated wire (you can get this from an unused power cable or phone charger)
  • Wire stripper or scissors
  • Stainless steel dessert spoon or fork
  • Sticky tape
  • Battery (size AA, AAA or C will work)
  • Paperclips (or drawing pins)

What to do

  1. Strip about 2cm of the insulation off both ends of the wire using a wire stripper or scissors.
  2. Twist each uninsulated end of the wire firmly to bring together any loose fine wires, making a thick braid of wire. Fold this in half and twist it into a flat loop at each end (this will make it easier to get a good contact with the battery terminals).
  3. Starting about 10cm from one end of the wire, coil the wire tightly around the handle of your spoon or fork. Do not overlap the coils, and leave about 10cm of uncoiled wire at the other end.
  4. Wrap sticky tape around the coils of wire to hold them in place.
  5. Using the thumb and finger of one hand, press each end of the wire against opposite ends of the battery.
  6. Using your other hand, hold the spoon or fork and use it to magnetically pick up paperclips or drawing pins.

How to create an electromagnet

What’s the science?

Electromagnets are a particular type of magnet that only work when an electric current is passed through them.

They rely on the fact that a movement of charged particles (in this case, electrons) creates a magnetic field. In fact, all magnetic fields arise from the movement of charge.

Most objects are non-magnetic because the individual magnetic fields of the electrons moving around inside them are randomly aligned and cancel each other out.

When you connect the wire to the battery, electrons begin to flow in the same direction through the wire, and this generates a magnetic field around the wire. By coiling the wire around a stainless steel core, you’re creating a combined magnetic field in the wire and core, which is strong enough to pick up objects.

Electromagnets are useful because their magnetic fields can easily be controlled: the greater the current, the stronger the magnetic field. Increasing the number of coils also increases the magnetic field.

This activity demonstrates that electricity and magnetism are essentially two aspects of the same phenomenon, called ‘electromagnetism’.

How to create an electromagnetAn Electromagnet is the kind of magnet, which uses electric current to create a magnetic field. It can attract and magnetize ferromagnetic materials like Iron, Nickel, and Cobalt. It is easy to make a simple electromagnet at your home from household materials.

Things You Will Need

  • Thin Plastic insulated wire
  • 5 volt AA Battery
  • Iron Nail

How to Make

  1. Wrap 20 turns of insulated wire on an iron nail tightly
  2. Trim about an inch of plastic coating from both ends of the wire.
  3. Connect one end of the wire with the positive terminal of the battery, and other with negative terminal. Use the electric wire tape if necessary.
  4. Get some paper clips and bring your electromagnet near them. You will see the paper clips will be attracted towards your electromagnet.

Disconnect wires from the battery, if wire or battery gets hot.

How it Works

When you connect the wires to the battery, an electric current flows in the wires. This electric current produces the magnetic field around the wire. The iron nail acts as a magnetic core. Magnetic cores are used to enhance the magnetic field.

Try It

  • Try to use two 1.5 volts AA batteries, and connect them in series. Then, connect the wires to this battery and observe the effects. Find out, does it affects the strength of the electromagnet
  • Use thicker wire instead of thin wire, and wrap around the iron nail. Then, observe the strength of an electromagnet
  • Use thick iron nail or bolt. Then, observe does it affect the strength of an electromagnet.

Try above methods, and note down your result. In the end, you will find which method is affecting the strength of electromagnet most.


Science is always fun; it allows us to try and learn new things. We know the theoretical concept of the electromagnet. But have you ever imagined preparing it? You might think this process is difficult, but it is not. So, in the following article, we will learn about how to make an electromagnet. This process is very simple, and it will hardly take 10 to 20 minutes to prepare. So, let us start the process.


Firstly, we want you to gather the list of the following supplies before enjoying the science project. They are as follows:


  • Cutter or Scissors


  • Iron nail
  • Thin Coated copper wire
  • A new D size battery
  • Paper clips

Steps To Make An Electromagnet

Step 1: The initial step is to take the wire and cut it to an 8-inch distance.

Cutting the Wire

Step 2: wrap it around the nail and, with the help of a cutter, cut the wire so that there is an equal length of wire at each end and make sure it is loose.

How to create an electromagnet

Wrapping the wire around the nail

Step 3: Cut down about the inch of the plastic coating from both ends of the wire. After cutting, take one end of the wire and attach it to one side of the battery.

How to create an electromagnet

Step 4: Simultaneously, take the other end of the wire and attach it towards the other end of the battery.

How to create an electromagnet

Attaching the wires on the battery

Step 5: Take some paper clips and place them towards the point of the nail, and it will pick them. Thus, you have an electromagnet.

How to create an electromagnet


  • We recommend you rape the wires on the battery.

Things To Remember

  • You should not overlap the wires around the nail.
  • Disconnect the wires from the battery once you are done because the battery will get heated up and discharged.

How to create an electromagnet

An Indian nuclear physicist, founding director, and professor of physics at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research.