I dream of being a DIY house blogger. Please tell me you’re all reading Young House Love. They are amazing. Incredible. I adore them.
My catch? I’m really not very DIY myself. I love the idea – but in the past I haven’t had the time or the patience to start a project and finish.
With the exception of my map.
My beautiful, incredible, amazing map. And honestly, I think the reason I ever finished is that I told the guy I liked that I was doing it – and he kept asking about it – and I HAD to finish it. You know, to show him I’m awesome. Looks like it worked out for me… even though now he knows me better than that. But that’s another story!
It began with the thought that I needed at least one piece of artwork in my house. As I had none. No judging. And I love those maps with pins in them that show you everywhere you’ve been. I love to travel. But here’s the thing. I didn’t want an ugly map. I wanted a cute map. With buttons. Surely I could buy one… right? And so the great map search of 2011 began… and failed. Until I stumbled across the amazing A Girl’s Eye View blog. Scroll down a bit – because this girl MADE HER OWN. With scrapbook paper of her choosing. It was adorable. And I wanted it. Enough to be crazy and try it myself.
And just think – making it myself would save me money – right?
But I didn’t want a dinky little map. I wanted a MASSIVE map. So I started by purchasing a massive map – a children’s toy foam puzzle map. Thank you Amazon Prime. You’ve saved me once again. And I picked a variety of shades of red (I’m a red girl – I can’t help it – I blame the Huskers) in scrapbook paper. 7 different papers – and then looked at the map and strategically picked with state would be in which paper. To make sure it was nice and spread out and all meshed well together. And then I started tracing. Keeping in mind that this is a children’s puzzle – my state lines may not have ended up the best. And don’t always fit together when I attempted to free hand around the puzzle parts.
What I really really really want you to know is, as the blogger suggested, YOU SHOULD LABEL THE STATES ON THE BACK. Why? Because although you think you’re the bees knees and you have all of your states down… you’re not that smart. Jumble those suckers up and how do you know what’s Colorado and what’s Wyoming? Not to mention – that although when you look at a map – you might be able to name all of the states – having to actually piece them together is incredibly difficult. Trust me. Especially when they don’t really fit. Which – don’t let it get you down – it’s part of the overall beauty of the finished art!
Luckily my mom had an extra-large massive canvas lying around (lucky me) so I painted that sucker – and then being super crafty, I tacked some linen fabric onto it (stick with the paint – the fabric collects hair and that’s just gross). Then I laid out the states and started to modge podge over them.
Heads up. You’re going to want to hot glue the middle of the states down before modge podging, so they stay in place. Because nothing makes you want to cry quite like getting all of the states in place and then disrupting them all with a sticky paint brush. Nothing. Okay, the legs of the table going out in the process and dumping the whole thing on the ground is a bit depressing too. Maybe don’t use a folding table either.
After getting everything STUCK DOWN (it may take you a few attempts, don’t let it depress you) I took out a hot glue gun and a real map and started gluing buttons to the places I’ve been. I had some gold buttons, some wooden buttons, some red ones – all of different shapes and sizes. Half the fun is getting to go through your button pile and find the right one for each state!
This map has been an INCREDIBLE conversation piece. People love to look at the buttons of where you’ve been, talk about their own traveling adventures and it absolutely accomplished it’s purpose of having SOMETHING on my walls. What it didn’t do – was come super inexpensively. The amount of time, the cost of bags of buttons, scrapbook paper, modge podge, fabric, brushes, hot glue and a glue gun… probably would have been easier to buy something from Gordmans. But – then there wouldn’t be the pride nor would it be half the conversation piece it turned into being.
DIY Project for the win.