Friday, June 21, 2013

Giant Wall Map

Grant and I used to fancy ourselves world travelers.  In the year or two before we got married, we each went on trip to Europe.  Mine was a guided tour of Austria and Germany, built around dance performances at some amazing locations.  We danced at a 13th century castle... pretty awesome.  Grant's trip was a backpacking adventure with his best friend, complete with some hefty beards and a short stint in an Italian jail... no really...

Anyway, our traveling ways have died down a bit since we became parents... and poor.  (Poor is all relative I suppose.  Technically we were poorer in college, but didn't seem to care or realize...)  But we're still haunted by some serious wanderlust.  For years, we've talked about putting up a giant map of the world and putting pins on all the places we've been, lived, and dream of going.  

So for Grant's Father's Day present, I finally did it!  I bought a map on Amazon, see here.  It was about $40, but you could probably find one for cheaper at a garage sale/Craigslist/your parents basement, etc. The map measures 73"x49" so it fills a good portion of the wall.  It also came laminated which hopefully will protect against some inevitable "Will-age" over time.  (It already has a small hole in it due to Will throwing a lampshade clamp at it... nice.)

I built a custom frame out of 1x4's which was pretty simple for a go-with-the-flow builder like me.  If I had wanted the frame to be perfect, it would have been very difficult.  But I decided to embrace the flaws and imperfections so I love it.

I cut the 1x4's to size with a miter saw, stained them with a vinegar and steel wool wash, and basically nailed them together with finishing nails.  I tried to glue the frame first, but I didn't have a suitable strap or set of clamps so the glue didn't hold.  So I held the ends together the best I could, used enough nails to make it fairly sturdy and ignored the fact that it didn't line up quite right...

It probably wouldn't survive a cross-country move, but it's holding together just fine on the wall.

Grant loves it! We still need to order pins to mark all of the places.  I'm thinking metallic pins like these to match the vintage feel.  And maybe flags to map places we've lived? 

The bonus: the map covers up the huge holes in the wall left after we decided to take down the giant television.  (Can I add, I love being a no-tv family!  We're certainly not device-free, or even portable dvd player-free, but Will seems to be a little less whiny for television, and family time seems a little easier to achieve.)

And did you notice the couch change and new side table?  I'll be posting soon about this room and the changes we've made.


  1. I don't know when I am coming back to Colorado, but when I do I want to see your house, because it looks awesome from all your posts.
    Italian jails? Who needs 'em? They couldn't even keep Grant and I in there for a whole hour... Just kidding. It was one of the scariest experiences of my life.

    1. Yes, we need to see you guys- all THREE of you!