I <3 Map Crafts

30 May

One of the first things you’d probably notice upon walking into my apartment is that I’m a pretty big fan of maps. More specifically, my significant other is obsessed with them and I’ve learned to love them too. I guess that’s why I tend to fall back on maps whenever I need paper materials or images for my craft projects. There are TONS of craft tutorials that involve maps out there on the internet but it can be kinda frustrating finding each one. So here’s a collection of my favorites, with a few of my own ideas thrown in as well.

  • Map-covered magazine holders
  • Map-covered coasters
  • Map magnets
  • Light switchplates with map images
  • Map-covered furniture — coffee tables, dressers, etc.
  • Map lamps like this one or this one
  • Paper machier bowl along these lines covered in maps
  • Framed art like this custom couples silhouette set against a map. Design*Sponge has an awesome tutorial on how to make a framed corkboard map for your wall that you can then attach little notes to: places you’ve been, places you want tovisit, where friends or family live, etc.
  • Map-covered notebooks — these can make awesome travel journals if you’re able to find an interesting map that corresponds with the location you’re visiting. I’ll be posting a quick tutorial for making these later this week.
  • Envelopes made from vintage maps: This is actually one of my favorite projects. I tend to just make it up as I go along but you can always follow a more specific tutorial such a this one:

If you aren’t feeling crafty but you like looking at maps, I want to point out that you can also use whole maps as decor… with a interesting twist. One idea I really like for an otherwise map-less room: using those old-fashioned pull down maps you remember from grade school as window shades. They can can add a playful, visually arresting element into an otherwise serious looking room. Look here for an example. Another way to display maps in an unusual manner is to cut them into sections and then create map-wrapped canvas squares that can be hung together to create a full map. Kinda like this.

So now you have all these ideas buzzing around your brain about using maps in your home… But where do you get the maps? I like to look for interesting vintage maps in thrift stores and antique shops but of course those aren’t the only places to look. Used book stores often carry old atlases which can then be ripped up and used as a great source for smaller maps. Old copies of National Geographics often have themed map pull-outs so you could look in any collection of those as well. And if you don’t have the time to go searching yourself, you can always order vintage maps via Ebay or Etsy. If all else fails or you’re seriously broke, you can also find maps online and then print them out. Etsy has a pretty decent selection of printable map ephemera that can be used for craft projects (see my previous post here) and that most certainly includes map images. Hands down, my favorite source for interesting maps is Radical Cartography. I dream of one day covering my living room walls with these gorgeous maps of the Mississippi River’s changes through time:

Know of any awesome map crafts that aren’t featured here? Leave ’em in the comments!


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