the map project

 I ♥ maps.
Probably because I love to travel.
I’ve been blessed to travel a lot and just looking at a globe makes my heart warm with memories.
{my traveling days have gone the way of kids and life on a budget}
I knew when we settled into The Southern House that I wanted to use maps in the decor.
{but let’s be honest, maps are totally in right now so maybe i’m just a sucker for a trend}

I didn’t want just any map.
I wanted a vintage pull-down school house map.
Being back in the land of antique stores meant that there was a possibility I’d find one.
The wall space behind my couch was just screaming for a large-scale map of some form.
And then I saw one online that I really wanted and alas, it cannot be found.

image via pinterest via smile and wave

It’s a vintage Denoyer-Geppert chalkboard map and it is dreamy.
So I tried to find a suitable substitute.
Restoration Hardware made one once upon a time for $$$$.

image via restoration hardware

Honestly it wasn’t as cool.
I liked the vintage aspect of the Denoyer Geppert map.
So I started looking at all the other vintage pull-down maps and what killed me was the hideous color schemes.
I found some on Etsy that I liked but nowhere near the scale I was looking for.
I realized that all I really wanted was a large scale, rustic looking map in a muted color palette.
So finally I just resolved to making one.

it needs to be ironed again

This is what I came up with.
It’s 45″x60″
{large scale}
and it has a muted color palatte.
{so my living room doesn’t actually look like a schoolhouse}
Bonus: It’s made of fabric!
{i’m a textile junkie so it gives me a wee bit of a fabric high}

image via amazon

I bought a cheap wall map from Amazon (although any office or school supply store carries them).
I made sure that the dimensions were in the range I was looking for.
I also busted out my Kona Color Card and painstakingly spent a night trying to figure out what solids to use for the states.
I also bought some Heat & Bond at JoAnn’s while I was in HotLanta.

I traced the mirror image of each state onto the paper side of the Heat & Bond.
Then I ironed the states with a large boarder to the fabric.
(hint: it’s easier to assign each fabric color to one of the colors on the map, that way you don’t have to figure out how to arrange the fabrics)
After I ironed the state to the fabric I cut it out making sure to leave a portion of the state with extra fabric so I could overlap them on the map.

This is about the point where I was cursing any state that had a river as a border.
{i officially hate any state on the mississippi river, the red river, the ohio river and all of new england}
It was helpful to have the map on the floor as I cut so I could figure out what part of the state to cut exactly and what part to leave to be overlapped.
{basically i created giant USA jigsaw puzzle out of fabric}

Once the states were all cut I traced the proper US map image onto a 45″x60″ piece of linen I had lying around with disappearing ink.

tracing on the sliding glass door

This served as my guide to line up all the states.
Then I ironed and ironed and ironed some more.

Heat & Bond is really strong but I wanted to make sure it was all secure so I sewed the state borders as well.
Bonus: it gave it some added visual interest.

This was a wee bit difficult.
[see previous statement of states with rivers as borders] As you can see from the picture, I didn’t sew on the exact state line, but sewed to the side of the line.
Because every state technically overlapped another state everything was secured.

Et voilà!
My wall is covered!


  2 comments for “the map project

  1. Kez
    09.7.2012 at 19:31

    It looks good! It might hang a bit straighter if you sewed sleeves along the top and bottom and put wooden dowels in them…then the weight would be pulling evenly :-)

  2. 09.9.2012 at 10:05

    Loving your blog lately.

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