You can make a super powerful electromagnet in less than half of an hour. All you need are a few things that you probably have around your garage. [source: JLAB] Here's how to make an electromagnet.

What you need:

  • Large iron nail, approximately 3 inches (8 centimeters) long
  • Approximately 3 feet (91 centimeters) of thinly coated copper wire
  • A new D battery
  • Wire strippers
  • Tape
  • Small magnetic objects, such as paper clips or thumbtacks

Here's what to do:

  1. Wrap the copper wire around the nail, starting at the head of the nail. Leave approximately 8 inches (20 centimeters) of the wire loose and then start wrapping it around the nail. Try to wrap the wire tightly, but make sure not to wrap the wire on top of itself.
  2. Make sure there is another 8 inches (20 centimeters) of wire loose at the other end of the nail after you're finished wrapping the wire.
  3. Remove about 1 inch (3 centimeters) of the plastic coating from each end of the wire, using your wire strippers.
  4. Attach one exposed end of wire to the positive terminal of the battery. Attach the other exposed end of the wire to the negative terminal of the battery. Tape the wire to the terminals. The ends of the wire may get hot when they touch the battery terminals, so make sure to be careful when taping them down.
  5. Place the tip of the nail near the small magnetic objects, such as paperclips or thumbtacks [source: Science Bob]. Your electromagnet should be able to attract them and pick them up!