Our living room is MA-SSIVE. Seriously, we have way more room than we know what to do with, which in turn creates way more walls than we know how to decorate. Ah, yes, here’s one of our big, sad walls.
We’ve hung up photos, art, even a giant key (more on that here). Needless to say, I’ve been running out of ideas for something new, clever, and most importantly, things that take up a lot of wall space.
Maps have been on my mind lately and I wondered if there was a different way of displaying them. I found these inspiration photos and knew I was on the right track:
Source: Little Birdie Secrets
Source: Desire to Inspire
I had the idea, now all I needed was an awesome map. I remembered back to a little shop my Mom and I had once visited. In the veeeery back of the store was a box full of reproduced vintage maps of Texas cities. At the time, I thought they were interesting but hadn’t yet been inspired to grace my walls with unique maps so, sadly, the map went another day without a happy home. Little did it know that I’d be sending my Mom back a few months later to grab him up.
I decided to go with this map of Dallas and its “suburbs” from 1891. This map is hysterical! Every suburb it lists is now in the heart of the city, a solid 10-15 miles from current Dallas suburbs. Oh, little did they know…
At the bottom of the map various population characteristics of Dallas from the 1890s were listed such as this gem: “the population is predicted to be 20 million in the year 1991,” a far cry from the 1.2 million who currently reside there.
Much like my inspiration photos, I decided to cut the map up into several slices, creating a more interesting image and taking up more room on the wall.
Before I made the final decision to cut up the map, I decided to use magazine pages to create a template and temporarily tape it to the wall to determine the spacing between each section and its exact placement on the wall.
While Chris thought I had lost my mind when I posed the idea of taping magazine pages to our wall, this was just the thing I needed to solidify my decision.
Would you be shocked if I said our wall stayed like this for a full 7 days before coming down? You never know what you’re going to find at our house…
Originally, I thought about framing the cut versions much like the DecorPad inspiration photo but I didn’t like the look of the black frames between each of the sections. It looked too choppy and broke-up the overall look of the map. I made up my mind to go the canvas route instead. It would add depth to the map and provide clean lines between each of the sections. It would also be easy and inexpensive to do.
I purchased six 8″ x 10″ canvases from Michael’s which came in 2 packs for $4 each.
I laid the canvases out on top of the map and it was a perfect fit if we cut off the population statistics at the bottom, leaving just the map.
I then cut the map into six equal sections, centered on the six canvases.
A little measurement was needed… thus Chris was called in (if a project calls for calculations, it only takes me a minute or two to throw in the towel).
Cut, cut, cut.
And then it was pretty much in Chris’ hands.
One of the most prominent features in this house is the living room- it’s bigger than our first apartment (let’s pretend that’s because we have a huge living room and not because we had a tiny apartment). It’s also what the house is really built around, as everything else is basically just there out of necessity. It was also custom built in the late 70s, right around the time the “open concept” trend started to take form but hadn’t been refined to the point of the seemingly supportless structures of today’s modern home: it’s large and open, but also closed off from the rest of the house… hence, lot’s of wall space.
Julie has pledged to leave no wall uncovered, so I was now tasked with cutting up a map, gluing it to six canvases, and nailing it to the wall. Wait… what?
I’ve learned not to ask questions, so I just went to work. I had six pieces of a map (none of which led to any treasure) and six canvases, and had to make them be one. Without any wrinkles.
As usual, I turned to cars for a solution: automotive headliners are usually glued in with a special spray adhesive, which is actually what gives it that “new car smell” (I bet you’ll be the only one of your friends that knows that now, too). Automotive-grade sprays are expensive, thick, really sticky, and get you slightly high, so I opted for a less intense form from the hobby store:
First, I sprayed the canvas. I wanted the adhesive to soak into the cloth before applying the map so it was less likely to bleed through. It needs a nice, thick, even coat in order to adhere properly.
Next, I laid the map over the canvas.
Carefully smooth everything down. Make sure you don’t have sticky fingers (literally) that can tear and smear the map.
Roll the edges. Daintily.
Fold the remaining edges over the ends and staple them down. Ca-chunk!
I’ve been debating whether or not to find a white vintage frame to hang around the whole piece to give it more of a presence on the wall. What do you think? Framed or unframed?