Tuesday, June 4, 2013

"The Only Universal Language" Fabric World Map

My roommate is a master's student in conducting. I used to think of myself as a relatively knowledgeable musician. I was lying to myself. Anyway, today is her Birthday.

I had to surprise her. She went all out for my birthday in March. Last night I decorated her bedroom door and made her a chocolate layer cake with oreo cream cheese icing. And a little artwork. Fancy making you're own?

You will need:

- large world map print out, used here 4 landscape letter sized sheets taped together
- corrugated cardboard large enough for map
- 1/4 yard of fabric
- paint, used here are primary blue and black
- push pins
- Mod Podge and foam brush
- scissors
- black marker
- craft paper
- 4 eyelets and mounting tool (like Crop-a-dile)

After you've printed your map and taped the seams together, trim any extra paper from the edges. Carefully rip cardboard down to the size and shape desired to accommodate map. Varying the amount of corrugated board showing through adds texture.

Paint your board. I used a mix of primary blue with a drop of black. 

 Cut out large outlines of your map and mark your spacing.

 This is where it gets a little more complicated. Pin your paper map pieces to your fabric. I wanted the fabric to fray but trying to cut it was way to tricky. It was much easier after coating the back with a thin coat of Mod Podge and letting it dry. I didn't even have to take the pins out to do this. It gives the fabric just enough stability to be easier to cut, but unfortunately for this situation also keeps it from fraying easily.

The more details you cut, the harder it will be to get them all in the right place! Some smaller or closer islands are grouped together and cut out as one piece to preserve my sanity. This map is questionably geographically accurate... I double-checked. Remove the pins and paper templates and use Mod Podge on the back of the fabric to glue the sections on to the cardboard. Usually, I would recommend going over the top of the whole project with Mod Podge as well, but I didn't want the shiny finish and am secretly hoping the fabric will magically distress itself over time.

 The roommate loves to travel so I was hoping to combine the two loves of travel and music.

 But I hated how it looked so I re-did it using a few pieces of craft paper layered to cover the original writing and 4 gold eyelets to mount them.

It didn't turn out exactly how I had in mind. It had a life of it's own. Cutting out something in such varied shapes using a fabric with straight lines in the pattern was much harder than anticipated. Also, if I started over from the beginning I would probably soak the fabric in a tea bath first to tone down the bright whiteness of it. Overall, I'm still happy with it and Amanda likes it, so that's all I care about!

Have you ever had a project you'd like to adjust after you've already finished? Would you cut out all those tiny islands!? I'd love to know!

Sheila :)


  1. Great diy art project! Thanks for sharing the tute and your suggestions. Pretty neat and glad she likes it :) Thanks for sharing with us @ Snickerdoodle Sunday!

    1. Thanks so much for visiting! It's always fun to look through all the projects shared for Snickerdoodle Sunday :)


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