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Easy Dimensional Map Wall Art Tutorial

Vintage Map Wall Art TutorialI had an interesting discussion with a friend the other day about the danger of reading too many Home Blogs like mine.

She confessed that, after a while, she started to feel inadequate.  The authors of the blogs appear to have spotless homes and churn out a seemingly endless number of projects without ever breaking a sweat.

I totally get what she’s saying.  And although I think I’m pretty upfront about  my more bozo-ish moments  I too tend to present the “magazine/fairy tale” version of my life sometimes.

However, at the risk of upsetting her further, I must confess, I did just whip up this project this morning (you know, after the bluebirds finished dressing me but before the dwarfs left for work).  It was so dang easy!

Also, in all honesty, part of the reason it went quickly was because I had several parts “on hand” and I used a few tools not everyone will have.

But, I think there are easy tool workarounds and though you might not be able to make it in a few hours it won’t take much longer.

I’ve been hooked on the 1939 New York Worlds Fair for quite a while so I totally snapped up this little, vintage, tourist guide when I found it.Vintage New York Worlds Fair Map

It opens up to reveal this awesome mapVintage New York Map

I’ve had it sitting around for a while and every time I come across it I think “I’ve got to do something with this.”  And this morning I figured it out.  It’s a variation on my subway signs and could work with about any image you chose.

To do this with your favorite graphic you will need:Supplies Dimensional Map Art

  •  A copy of the image
  • A piece of plywood for the “backer” (mine is painted black with the edges sanded away)
  • Wood strips cut to size (you could do the same with heavy cardboard)
  • Mod Podge
  • A foam brush (not pictured)
  • A pin nailer or hot glue gun
  • Scrap wood for spacers (not pictured either… sorry)

I scanned the map and resized it in Photoshop (Staples or kinkos could do the same)

I then cut it into 1.5” stripsCut map into strips

 I used mod podge to attach the map pieces to the wood strips and set them aside to dryUse Mod Podge to attach graphic to wood strip

 I used my pin nailer to attach the spacers to the backer but hot glue would work just as well.Attach scrap wood spacers

 After the map strips had dried I trimmed any excess, sanded them a little and glued them into place on the spacers and gave them a finishing coat of Mod Podge to seal them.

DIY Map Wall Art

Retro Subway Map Wall Art I’m kinda crazy about this idea and actually this is just a prototype to see what it would look like.  What I plan to do is take the graphic to Staples and have them blow it up to poster size and I’ll do the same thing but on a larger scale.

And now I must go because the woodland creatures made a mess “cleaning up” (so hard to get good help these days).tutorialsandtipsDIY Show Off Part

About cheltenhamroad

I’ve been surrounded by amazingly creative people my whole life. My mom can, and does, make anything. The family has on occasion speculated that she just whipped up my dad one day when she discovered some left over fabric and stuffing. My three sisters have mad skills ranging from needlework to cooking to out and out ART. My father’s desk when I was growing up had a model train set going around it, oh, and he made that desk-from scratch. I’m the youngest and, as you can imagine, it’s a hard series of acts to follow. Truth be told, I’ve spent many, many years suppressing the creative instincts I learned at home. But I realized (rather late in life) that few things bring me more joy than making and creating. For the longest time when I went to stores I didn’t think, “I want that” I thought, “I can make that.” And, with a deep breath and a leap, I’ve started on a very new, kinda scary path. I’ve given up my steady, dependable (dull!) corporate life to spend my days happily humming away in my garage designing, creating, painting, decoupaging and sawing and, since this blog will be an honest take on things, there is also a fair amount of tripping, spilling and swearing. Through this blog I hope to share with you the struggles and (hopefully) triumphs of a very non-businessy business person. I also hope to make this blog a resource for people who like to work with their hands and who are, like me, always looking at things and thinking “I could make that!” I’ve lived many places since I left Cheltenham Road; I currently live in Los Angeles California. So, with this preamble- Welcome to Cheltenham Road! Please come on over and make yourself comfortable – the place is always open.

15 responses »

  1. very cool!

  2. David,
    Thanks for this super tutorial with suggestions for other things to use for those of us who lack the plethora of tools needed to create so many of those “easy” and great “must have” items in the never ending “Home Blogs”……that’s one of the things that make it so great to follow your creativity! You make your projects “approachable” and “doable” for many of us who eagerly await each of your Blogs.

    This dimensional map makes a great addition to your current line of offerings!

  3. Nice post. Cool idea, and love your humour :0)
    Just started following you and look forward to your posts

  4. Just a question, Snowy. Do you seal the map at the end of the project or just leave it? I definitely would like to try something like this. Thanks!

  5. That is fab.
    You better keep those woodland creatures in line! 🙂
    Happy 4th to you!

  6. Oh my. I got those bittersweet nostalgic tears of going to Fresno State, heart of grape country, and we all gathered grape trays like pallets–for free–because they were the outdated way to dry raisins! Paper had been used even in the 60’s! So we college guys and gals alike bought posters galore, cut our pieces where the trays had close slats, BUT we all burned the outer edges just a bit!! All in our dorm and frat and sorority houses (so safe!) busily adding our Modge Podge to tray and poster! Every parent received this for Christmas. All guys. All gals. Cutting. Burning edges. Modge Podging away. Depending on our local connections to these priceless trays which were free.
    And as I had to drive through Fresno this past week, and saw the vineyards, I wondered if any grape trays survived. I think one year was as long as any of our parents hung our art–in some back bedroom!! I mean, they were so huge!!! Our folks lived in ranch style homes with popcorn ceilings with glitter and paneling made of real furniture grade wood!
    Thanks for the memory. This is one craft I do know how to do. We’d use a pin to pop stubborn bubbles and then smooth it some more. Sniff. Sniff.
    Those burned edges? They just looked so—1975.

    • Pictures!!!! We must have pictures!!!!! They sound awesome!

      • Pictures??? Film cost $$ in those days and remember EVERY friend’s parent and mine did not keep them. So does this make them true valuable antiques????
        Oh but it is amazing you shall have to research this for I thought YOU had copied US and improvised since grape trays were all used up on these Modge Podge gifts that year!!!! Isn’t that funny??? Maybe your childhood memories has one hidden inside and it came out as this very close COPY of our circa ’75 craft!!!! Haha

  7. Actually yours looks awesome!! We never ever thought to use a map except to find our way. You know, in the olden days??? So you’ve now combined three old fashioned elements that make me like your display: a map, a grape tray look alike project PLUS a camera!

  8. I did leave a sorta picture on fb. But my own? Gone. Even I can’t exactly remember all the posters. But I think I made five or six as family Christmas gifts!!

  9. I am really into map decor right now! I love to travel so this link-up post caught my eye! What a great tutorial. I make wedding gifts/home decor items with maps that are featured at my Etsy Shop.

  10. Great idea! Love the look. I came over from Home Stories A to Z.

  11. I’m trying very, very hard to overcome my phobia of “tools” in my old age. I really, really like this. You are an absolute saint for generously sharing how it’s done:)


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