Love maps as much as Karen O? Or maybe you’re just looking to memorialize a trip in a display-worthy manner. Regardless, maps make a cool, unique base for room decor crafts.

After spending fall semester of my junior year abroad in London, I became a pretty severe Anglophile generally filled with wanderlust. As my time in London wound down, I spent a considerable amount of time browsing ideas to immortalize my time there in craft form–collages, scrapbooking, framing, etc. I got inspired by this gem I found on Etsy, which is unsurprising considering my previously-established obsession with heart-shaped things (only exaggerated by my friend’s suggestion that I create a “found hearts” blog. Which I did. And gave the punniest web address. Here.)

Anyway, I was all about this bespoke nine-heart map. I loved the vintage colors and white-on-white frame and matting, and even the term “bespoke,” once I looked it up. (In case you’re wondering, it means custom-made, or made to order). I planned on using the locations of the various European cities I had visited while abroad, and I was all but shaking with crafty giddiness when my gaze lowered to the price tag. £240. Or from my bank account, $380. I kid you not.

My disappointed spirit went straight for, where I decided that even if I had a few million dollars, I wouldn’t spend that much on a few map scraps in a wooden frame and that my best bet was to buy a few vintage maps for considerably cheaper, and mount and frame them myself. Easy enough, right?… except when I couldn’t find any “vintage” maps for sale anywhere online. Alright, maybe I understand the price hike of the bespoke frame a bit better now. Regardless, it was out of my price range.

When I arrived back in the states, I couldn’t wait to get crafty with abroad memorabilia, and I still had that bespoke map frame in mind when I ran into the Graphics Fairy. Literally, the Graphics Fairy. This blog has tons of free-to-use vintage prints, including (conveniently for me) a map of England. With the addition of printed maps of Spain, Ireland, and France, as well as some black scrapbooking paper and a silver Sharpie, I created this:IMG_0611

This is currently taped to the wall above the head of my college bed. It not only goes with the color scheme of my room, but it reminds me of the awesome places I’ve visited and maps just make really cool bases for crafts.

This wasn’t the end of my map crafts. I had on-hand the small walking map of London that my abroad school provided me upon landing at Heathrow. It had seen a bit of wear, as I used it pretty often to navigate around the city, which I thought gave it a nice “real” quality. However, I didn’t see myself needing a walking map of London again any time soon, so I decided to take the book apart and spread the pages onto a corkboard, using the map as the background for pinning up pictures from my adventures abroad. It was a really easy project overall, with the map pages needing just a bit of trimming to fit the shape of the board. Here’s the turnout:



For more inspiration, check out a few more map-related projects on my “wanderlust” Pinterest board!


About Brenna McKinley

I'm a two-time Marist College grad with degrees in Communications (BA) and Integrated Marketing Communication (MA).

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