Rescue the old maps you’ve saved and repurpose those memories. Try one of these fun DIY projects using maps.
Since homemade gifts are always well received (though not always identical to the pictures on Pinterest), I decided feature a few as inspiration.
Types of Maps
You can use any type of printed map. You can download and print historical maps* or use old travel or souvenir maps. If you’re a map hoarder like me, this is a wonderful use for that box of old AAA maps you inherited or that Der ADAC Atlas 1991/92 book you never were quite ready to part with.
DIY projects using maps make meaningful gifts. This is particularly true when the recipient shares your memories or interest in the places featured on the maps. Don’t overlook ancestral or family locations, vacation destinations, or bucket lists.
Adding any of these ideas to your home decor can also help the family relive their times together or honor family traditions and stories. (See also Deck the Halls with Memories and Stories.)
*Be sure they’re in the Public Domain before you start your project. (Pillarboxblue.com has several free printable ones.)
In a nutshell, decoupage entails affixing paper to a hard surface. If you’re not sure of the process, just ask your favorite search engine for tutorials. For even easier DIY processes, you can use Mod Podge®, which glues, seals, and finishes decoupage projects.
Perusing the Internet, you’ll find examples of maps decoupaged to a wide variety of hard surfaces, ranging from a simple wooden board to fingernails. You’re limited only by your imagination and your access to maps.
Here are a few of my favorite object and decoupaged map pairings:
Great Maps and Object Combinations
- Serving tray
- Picture frames
- Clock face
- Decorative wooden initials
- File cabinets
- Light switch plate or outlet covering
- Tiles (to make coasters)
I made the above coaster for my son after he spent a summer in The Hague, Netherlands, out of a tattered give-away map he brought home. Obviously, a new map might have given the project a cleaner look.
You can take a small part of a map and make it into a glass pendant for a pin or necklace. You can also make these into magnets.
Troom Troom has a great tutorial which includes adding decorations and adding it to a chain.
For a totally different style of jewelry, try ChrysN of Instructables.com great how-to on using strips cut from maps and to make adorable rings.
Papercraft Projects Using Maps
You can use maps as raw material for your favorite papercraft project. If you’re capable of origami, try using a map. For instance, UnitedWithLove.com illustrates a project in which a traveling couple made their wedding flowers from maps. Even with my mediocre fine-motor skills, I’ve added this one to my to-do list.
Other ideas include making maps into gift tags or greeting cards. If they’re acid-free, maps or prints of maps make great photo album pages or cut outs to add to your layout.
Further, if you like digital scrapbooking, you can easily incorporate maps into your layouts. I made a quick-and-dirty example below. Using Photoshop Elements, I created a layer mask and combined a map of my hometown with a photo of my childhood home. I then used that as a background for a few childhood photos.
Have you repurposed memories with DIY projects using maps? What did you do? What projects are on your to-do list?