I’ve got a thing for maps. I grew up looking at the world map my grandfather kept next to the pool table in the basement that tracked all of my grandparents’ travels (they went to every continent but Antartica). I used to look at all the lines on that map (my grandfather drew lines, tracing every trip they took) and imagine myself following them. I wanted to see every single place they had been and more. That cherished vintage map now hangs on our basement stairs and I think of them every time I go past it. It is one of my most special possessions.
Lately I’ve been drooling over the maps I saw in catalogs – world maps or US maps, framed and meant to put thumb tacks in for every place you’ve visited. But they start at about $170 (minimum – many are over $200). Which seemed pretty ridiculous for a map. So I made my own.
I ordered a 36×24 map from Amazon for about $5. I actually got both a world map and a US map (it’s hard to fit a lot of pins close together on the US in the world map, so we did both maps so we could show every place we’ve been in the US). Look carefully at the colors on the map. I ordered one world map only to realize it was mostly pink which just looked ridiculous in the room I wanted to hang it in.
Go to your local office store and buy a piece of foam board that is at least 36×24 (about $10). Go to Michael’s or JoAnn’s when frames are on sale and buy one you like that will fit a 36×24 map (mine was about $30).
Take the glass out of the frame and use it as a template on the foam board. Cut the foam board with a utility knife.
Make sure the map actually fits on the foam board (I had one map that was supposed to be 26×24 but in reality was a few inches smaller).
You can either lay the map on the foam board and place the frame over it to hold it in place, OR you can use a spray adhesive to spray the board and attach the map to it. It really depends on how secure your map feels without the adhesive. I did one each way. It’s much easier if you aren’t using the adhesive, but your frame might not be tight enough to keep the map from buckling without it. Do not put the glass in the frame!
Hang it on the wall. Buy colored map pins to mark every place you’ve visited. We decided that we would put a pin in every place we had stayed in overnight together. For cruises we marked each port of call.
You just saved yourself at least $130! This also makes a nice gift. I made one for my parents.
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