2 Back-to-School Map Projects

6 Materials
1 Hour
Using maps for crafts and decorating projects isn’t a new concept. But I was able to secure some old schoolroom maps from my former high school before it was torn down last winter, so these maps are super special! The bad part is they had been in an unused, unheated, vacant building for more than 20 years. Therefore, they were extremely brittle! This limited our design options since it was impossible to fold or bend the paper without it cracking. We really didn’t need scissors—we just broke off pieces, it was so crunchy. But my crafty mom and I were able to create a couple of “too cool for school” projects that we sold as part of an Alumni fundraiser.
Coasters with map art
Project #1 – Coasters
We used 4x4 ceramic tiles, which I found at the Habitat ReStore for a quarter a piece and purchased in multiples of four for coaster sets. My crafty mom took pieces from the maps and decoupaged them sort of randomly placed onto the tile with ModPodge. She did 4-5 of coats to make sure the paper was adhered. After drying, she applied 2 coats of General Finishes HP Satin Topcoat. She cut squares of green felt to adhere to the bottoms to protect against scratching furniture and tied them up in sets with a green ribbon (our school color). 
Several map art pics
Project #2 – Framed Map Art
For the second project, we purchased some inexpensive pictures at the Habitat ReStore and a thrift store. It didn’t matter what they were because I was after the frames. I looked for interesting ones that could be easily opened from the back.

I researched some quotes that referred to travel, adventure or memories. “Let the journey begin,” “memories keep yesterday alive,” and “discover new places” are a few examples. I selected a quote to go with each frame based on the size and orientation. After taking the back off and disassembling the innards, I cleaned the glass on both sides. I had printed the quotes in reverse, so I placed the glass down on my printout and traced the letters with a black paint pen onto the glass. I traced in reverse (which felt really weird) so the writing would be on the inside of the glass and wouldn’t get scratched off. 
Be a traveler, not a tourist
For the background, I broke off chunks of the maps and layered them to cover the entire area that would be viewable once the frame was back together. I glued with Aleene’s Tacky Glue but didn’t worry too much about getting every little edge glued down as the glass would help hold it in place.

Once the black paint lettering was dry, I reassembled the frame. I painted some of the more beat-up frames with Black Dog Salvage Furniture Paint in black, topped with Guard Dog Topcoat. Each one was completely different, but I think I ended up with some really interesting art. 
The next time you run across some vintage road maps, don’t drive on by. There are a ton of map projects on Hometalk and Pinterest that just might take you down a road you never considered before. Happy trails!  
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Lori Haught Harper
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