Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Mapping Out Your Life

Hello Everyone!  I hope your week is off to a good start.  I'm adjusting to this new schedule with having Scooter off to kindergarten.  It's different.  Yep....different.

I'm going to share that entry way project I talked about awhile back.  It's fairly simple, fairly cheap, and can be customized for anyone. 

How about mapping out your life with....A MAP?  Totally original, huh?  Any hoo....it gives us a place to remember all the places we've been.  Or sometimes you'd maybe rather forget.  Like where the car broke down and you had to stay a night.  I'm just saying.....cause thankfully we haven't been there yet....or I forgot about it.

So yep, we put up a US Map in our entry where we can mark all the spots we have been.  Plus it has the added benefit of helping the kids learn their US geography.  Our out of country visits are just that....out of the country and off the map.

This project has been done probably a million times before and in a bunch of different ways.  I'll show you how I did it.  Cause I'm a crafty hack and like to do things differently, meaning with whatever I've got on hand.

US Wall Map Hanging Project

Purchased Materials

Already Owned Materials
  • 1x2 piece of board, nails, and stain
  • photo mounting stickers, tape
  • vinyl bumpers and clear push pins
How I Did It

1.  I taped the four pieces of foam board together with clear packaging tape on the front and back sides.  I used foam board over cork board because it was cheaper.  You'll notice in the pictures that I often had little helpers.

2.  I ironed the map to get the big wrinkles out of it.  It came rolled in a tube, but the box got squashed in delivery.  No biggie.  I placed a pillowcase over the map and ironed on a low setting.  Wow....I ironed.  That rarely happens. 

3.  I cut the foam board the the exact same size as the map.  That involved tracing around the map with a pencil and then cutting out my piece with a utility knife.  Note to self....always use a sharp blade when cutting foam board.  It makes a better cut and is much easier!

4.  I devised a frame out of a leftover 1x2 board.  Why 1x2?  Because that's what we had and any bigger it wouldn't fit in the place I wanted to put the map.  I used my well worn plastic miter box and hand saw to cut out the frame.  The kids were biking....lucky ducks.

5.  Once I had the frame pieces cut out, I nailed them together with finishing nails.  I should have used wood glue, but I didn't.  I then had to decide what color to paint or stain the wood.  I put up examples next to it to decide....a green color left over from my benches, plain, or an old stain I had laying around.

6.  The stain won out.  I stained the wood and let it dry.  Wait....I think I actually stained the wood first and then nailed together.  So scratch out the first part of step 5. 

7.  Once dry I put the map back on the foam board.  You'll notice that the "frame" lies on the outside of the foam board.  I didn't attach them together.  The foam board is held in by the pressure of the frame.  Scooter helped me put double sided photo stickers on the foam board to help hold the map down.

8.  There are 4 clear push pins the corners of the map to help hold it on the foam board.  And since I "pressure fitted" the frame around the foam board, I wanted to make sure the map wouldn't fall out the front.  Those little vinyl bumpers are my solution. Plus I used painters tape to tape the foam board to the frame on the back.  Sorry, no picture of that. 

9.  I put a picture holder thing on the back of the frame and hung it on the wall.  I totally impress myself sometimes.  I wield a hammer only when Biker Boy isn't home or looking.  I think it makes him nervous.  Just like when I attempted the circular saw myself...he wasn't home.   

10.  Time for the fun part!  Putting the pins in.  Scooter helped me sort out the colors. 

We put yellow pins in for places we were born and where we have lived (since being married). 

Then pins went in places for every place we could remember having stayed since being married.  It took a few days to remember 12 years worth.  I have a feeling we're missing something.  There's a color for the places Biker Boy and I have visited.  A color for places we visited as a family of three and another color for places we have visited as a family of four.  I did have to paint a few pin tips....since the assorted pin colors didn't have enough of certain colors.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy. 

We're all happy with the map.  I even caught Scooter looking at it one night and pointing at all the places he's been.  Plus I bet you all wanted to know that before he went to kindergarten Scooter took an atlas to bed with him during "quiet time" so he could look at the maps.  All because of the big map on the wall.  There's nothing like encouraging geography. 

I also like the color of the map.  It blends in nicely.  And it's big.  Lovely.  Makes me want to travel more.  Because it's kinda fun to stick pins in it. 

So map it out for me....do you use maps as wall decor?  Have any favorite places to travel?  Like to collect maps or globes?  Or frequent flyer miles?

Because I'm not first, nor will I will the last.  Check out these wall maps:
Decorating with Maps at A Soft Place to Land
The Frame Game at Young House Love

I'm participating in "Get Your Craft On" over at Today's Creative Blog.  Go check it out!  And thanks for stopping by!

1 comment:

  1. I am such a fan of this. I have loved maps since I was a child... I think I wanted to keep my social studies book just for the maps. I love the pin idea. I have tried to think of an interesting and artistic way to do what you have done! Can't wait to check out your other ideas!



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