I don’t know about you, but I love old maps. Ordnance survey ones are my favourites but really, any will do. Thanks to our penchant for thrifty road trip holidays, we have a fair few maps kicking around. Maps, like books, don’t really lend themselves to being thrown away.
It’s silly, really: the older maps are out of date, and some of them cover places that we are unlikely to visit again. But I can’t bin them. So about two dozen maps are sitting in my filing cabinet, a couple of small stacks in elastic bands, covering patches of land from southern California to the Highlands.
With a little help from Pinterest, I’ve realised that far from being an inveterate hoarder (perish the thought), I’ve actually been stockpiling valuable raw materials for craft projects and thrifty presents. Result!
Five thrifty uses for old maps
If you can wrap a present neatly, you can do this (above). And look: they’re just old shoe boxes. I have wrapped a number of boxes like this at Christmas time, and my tip is to use good old Pritt-Stick, which won’t soak through the paper. Apply the glue liberally to the shoebox lid, then press it into the paper (rather than the other way round). Keep your fingers washed and clean while you are doing this, or there’s a good chance the paper will end up with nasty, sticky smears across it. (DesignSponge)
They call these mats in the USA: the thick card or pretty paper mounts for framed photographs. If you have a treasured holiday photograph or childhood memory, why not frame it with the appropriate map as backing?
I would recommend that you mount the map onto card first – the thicker, the better. (yourdecoratinghotline.com)
Use a one-sided map, otherwise both sides will show up when you turn the lamp on. I think it’s a nice effect though: the lamp in the picture is covered with a two-sided map. Cut the map to size and use spray adhesive to glue it to your shade. The cheapest, most basic lampshades are best: their ribbon edges ensure a neat finish.
With regard to safety, the maker of this shade notes that the lamp in the picture “has been lit daily (nightly) since April without any problems what so ever. I use low watt bulbs and using a proper lamp shade underneath made out of lamp shade material makes me feel safe. If you have any concerns whatsoever though, stick to store bought shades.” (Chez Larsson)
4. Map Coasters
Upcycle old coasters! Glue the map to the top of the coaster; again, you may wish to mount it on card first, if you don’t want the old coaster pattern showing through. These coasters are glued and “varnished” with something called Mod Podge, which is popular with American crafters. It’s a glue with a glossy finish. You can buy it over here in the UK, from stockists including Amazon, but it is expensive.
I have a recipe for homemade Mod Podge, which works just as well, and which I’m planning to share on here in the not-too-distant future. (sfgate.com)
5. And my favourite of all… Map Artwork!
Had an unforgettable journey or roadtrip? Embroider your route onto the map, and frame it. Such a simple and thrifty idea, and I think it looks terrific. My h*sb*nd is known to vanity search on this blog, to see what I have been writing about him (pah!) – which is why he’s in asterisks here, because I’m planning to do this one with a map of America for his Christmas present.
To avoid tearing the paper, mark out your route with an empty needle first. Prick the holes through which you are going to pull the thread. You can also mark your destination with an ‘X’. (MarthaStewart.com)
What else can you do with an old map?