Making Artwork: My Travel Map Craft Project


My husband and I love a good adventure. Especially one that takes us away to a new town that we get to explore together, even if it's just for a day or two.

A couple months ago, we got a big fold-out map in the mail, which my husband promptly pinned to our wall as a way to track all the cities we've been to as a married couple. As any good wife would be, I was thrilled with the sentimental idea.

The only problem? The freebie map was a bit of an eyesore (scroll down to the "before" photo). So I decided to do what any good crafter would: Dream up with a more aesthetic solution using my own two hands and a whole lotta resourcefulness. (You can also check out the bird-inspired artwork I created for our living room, too.)

Rummaging through my recent reorganizing spree, I came up with enough supplies that the only thing I had to purchase for the craft was a roll of corkboard, which you can order for cheap here. Everything else was pulled from my crafting supplies, reinvented from old, thrifted artwork or even from my make-up cabinet, as you'll see...

A Tutorial: How I Created My Travel Corkboard Map
I've loved owls for awhile (what 20-something girl hasn't?), but I don't foresee incorporating this creepy owl painting anytime in the future. I'd put it in a pile to donate to the thrift store (of course, I'd originally purchased it at a thrift store), but I figured it could be useful in this project of mine, and at least if I ruined it, it wasn't a loss.


I taped the edges and then, using a template I found online, sketched the U.S. template onto the picture. I picked a dusty robin's egg blue I already had in my craft closet and painted the background, forgoing the area in the middle that would soon be covered. (And as for my paintbrush, I ended up using some old make-up brushes that I was going to throw out. I just washed them and went to work!)


Using the same template from tracing the map onto the artwork, I cut a map from a roll of corkboard. Then, I glued it onto the painting (which I then held into place with some of my empty glass jar collection, and a bottle of my favorite Aleene's craft glue).


Meanwhile, I printed out some tags for marking the cities we've been to and some banners (inspired by my blog design!) to title the piece.


Once everything was dried, I used some straight pins (which I snipped to size with wire cutters) to keep the markers and title in place.


Alongside the travel map, I hung another collection of travel-related prints I already had on-hand that harken back to other cities meaningful to our relationship (Cincinnati, where we met, and Grand Rapids, where we lived our first month as a married couple). I used another piece of thrifted artwork from my stash to frame them, and voila...


P.S. If you are new to this blog, thank you so much for stopping by! You can feel free to browse all my other posts about my journey toward a lifestyle of simplicity and DIY, as well as some of the ways my husband and I are learning to save money. I also write about my faith, my marriage and everything in between, which you can explore in the archives.

Plus, if you like this craft tutorial, click here to pin it to Pinterest. You can also follow me on Pinterest here.

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51 comments:

  1. how fun
    you did an amazing job

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  2. This is so cute, You did a great job! Someday I hope to make some version of this idea for me and Steven.

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  3. oh my goodness! i adore it! wonderful job.

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  4. I've always wanted to make a travel map! Wow- you did an amazing job!! It looks great, very creative!

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  5. Hi Carmen - Thanks so much for stopping by my blog today! I love your little corner of the blogosphere here, and I'm SO impressed by your map project. I'm about as un-crafty as they come. :)

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  6. you make this seem so "no big deal" like you colored in a page of a coloring book. this is phenomenal. I want to make something with you!!!

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  7. Didja see your project featured? http://totallytutorials.blogspot.com/2010/10/tutorial-how-to-make-travel-map.html

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  8. Oh. My. Goodness. I LOVE this project! I've already bookmarked it and added it to my list of "can't wait to get this on my wall!" Thanks so much for sharing!

    Your blog is simply adorable. I'm an Atlanta girl as well (born and raised!), so welcome to our beautiful city! Your story is wonderful- isn't it fun to see where God takes us?! So glad to have found a new friend!

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  9. What a wonderful idea ,love it! Can show a child where their going for Thanksgivings.
    awesome share! Thank you so much. Relinking you fri.
    hugs

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  10. This is TOTALLY adorable! Love love love love love! Found you on 20sb (I think). Will definitely follow you!

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  11. This is fantastic. Can't wait to try it!

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  12. I love this! I am planning on doing a map-themed room for my son and this would be perfect!

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  13. I love this! :) Definitely something I'd like to try making one of these days.

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  14. I love this-Definitely something I will make for my little boys room!

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  15. hey there! saw your amazing map on pinterest and immediately had to get the full scoop. my husband and i love traveling (road trips mainly!) so i am definitely going to keep this tutorial in mind for the future. such a creative project and i love how you made it both personal and super cute.

    also, it's so wonderful to see a fellow believer in the blogging world!

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  16. what a super idea. my parents have travelled the world as my dad was a marine engineer. so i think i'l make them a World map, and give them pins and paper and they can have fun pinning the places in the world they have been onto their map. They have been to over 70 countries (yes there are that many..), so it should keep them busy for a while. And will be a super gift. Thanks so much for your bright idea!! Am happily going to follow your lead..
    hugs from New Zealand

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  17. I too came here from seeing your map on pinterest. What a fun idea!!

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  18. Another one from pinterest. I LOVE this idea!!!

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  19. Your project turned out so adorable that I just can't stand it! It makes me want to start something like this for me & Mr. Wonderful. We just got married a month ago, & this would be a fun way to view our new life together. We haven't done a lot of travelling during our dating life together, but we both want to see more places now...so I guess I better start looking for supplies for our love map.

    I love the other little piece of art your put next to it too!

    Thanks for sharing this!

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  20. This is so cute! Now I need to travel more so I would actually be able to use it, haha!

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  21. Thanks so much for all your kind comments. I'm so glad that one of my little crafts has been inspiring!

    If any of you do end up making one of these maps, I would LOVE to see the photos!!

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  22. Congrats! You've been featured!
    http://www.bigklittlea.com/2011/06/my-favorite-things.html
    ~K

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  23. Great idea, such a great idea to keep these things visible! I've been thinking of making something similar only drawing the outline of the US on a huge piece of cork I have. We're building a little teardrop and I was thinking of adding it to the lid of the galley so we could chart out different trips in different colors of yarn.

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  24. LOVE this idea! I came to your blog via pinterest because of this post actually.

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  25. very cute! i am looking for a fun map to do in our retail store for customers who have traveled to our store and put their city on the map. love your idea!

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  26. Girl, this is AWESOME! If I make one (which i WANT to) I'll link it to ya and say you were the mastermind. You're a genius! (:

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  27. I'm really interested in the side frame, what size is that? I'd love to add an Alaska or Hawaii cork side to mine and I like the side frame idea.
    -Justine

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  28. WOW - Now I know that you have a crazy amount of comments on this post already, and it's an old post, but I can't get over how awesome it is! This is exactly what my husband and I need to do...we LOVE traveling together and we really want to visit all 50 states, plus this would just look amazing hanging on our wall. =) We took a road trip to Washington D.C., Philadelphia, PA, Scranton, PA, and Lake Erie in Ohio this summer, and I would love to have something up on my wall to always remember it by. Looking at your travel map, it reminds me of the Pixar movie, "UP." Have you seen it?

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  29. Thanks, Stacee! I love that it reminds you of "UP"; I definitely have seen it and really enjoyed it (and, uh, cried when watching it, which made me feel so silly, since it's a cartoon!). Ha :) Anyway, you should definitely give the map a try. It didn't take me that long and it is such a fun conversation piece! Everyone loves looking at it when they come over.

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  30. I recently did a more traditional pin where you've been map but this one is such a great modern take on it.

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  31. Love the project!

    Also, my Grandmother had that EXACT owl print in her house for YEARS!! Loved seeing that...it made me smile!

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  32. 1st apartment in GR? It's a great place to begin life's adventures!
    MI love.

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  33. Thank you so much! My husband and I have run into the same issue! I refuse to have a big ugly map in my cute craft room and this is the PERFECT solution! Ordering a roll or corkboard now!

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  34. Cordelia, I love that your grandmother had the same owl print! I can only imagine how incredible the rest of her decorating was!!

    Anonymous, I could not agree more. I loved my time living in GR! :)

    And if any of you do end up creating the map, I'd LOVE to see how yours turns out!

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  35. This is a really neat idea! I was however curious about what did you write on your individual tags for the places you been?

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  36. Hi quick question - what size is the map/frame - I'm trying to figure out the sizing of it all....

    Thanks!

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  37. Anonymous > I only wrote the city name on most of the tags, except the ones that had special significance such as "{HONEYMOON}" and "{FIRST APARTMENT}".

    Brittany > It's about 3 feet by 2 feet, but you can size it for whatever dimensions you need. I believe that the map that I used for the outline was too small so I ended up enlarging it anyway. It's a little bit trial and error that way :) But if you end up making your own version, I'd love to see it! Thanks so much :)

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  38. I know this is a bit delayed but I found your project via Pinterest & was wondering how big your map ended up being? AMAZING project, thanks for doing it!

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  39. It's about 3 feet by 2 feet, but you can size it for whatever dimensions you need. I believe that the map that I used for the outline was too small so I ended up enlarging it anyway. It's a little bit trial and error that way :) But if you end up making your own version, I'd love to see it! Thanks so much :)

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  40. I love your map - that is just too cool!! I have this linked to my cork post too today, well done!

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  41. I just made this map and I absolutely love it! Thank you for the idea. You're a genius! :)

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  42. I am officially making this my first DIY project!! Ordering the cork now!!

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  43. I'm definitely making this to replace my paper map too! Thanks for sharing! Pinned!

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  44. I hope you guys can make it out west. Such beautiful country!

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  45. What a great project! This is definitely going to be a holiday gift for my ladyfriend. Any chance you would be able to share the fonts you used for the yellow tags? They are so perfect!

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  46. Found this on Pinterest and OMG I have to make one for my kiddos. They are obsessed with their placemats on the dinner table and would love to track where we go and where the family lives (as we are spread out) I have to go thrifting soon I see an old picture frame just waiting for me..

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  47. Thanks so much for this great post! I travel a lot so this is a very project for me. I featured this in my latest blog post, found here: http://whitneygoller.blogspot.com/2012/12/baby-im-coming-home.html ... check it out and let me know what you think :) thank you for posting quality work!

    whitney goller

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  48. This is nice and interesting place for me, I really love it.

    Map of Bryce Canyon

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