Maps make a wonderful gift.

I love maps, the Boyo loves maps. In fact maps and geography are one of the little threads that connect us. He is a Geographer and my first degree was in Geography. Actually thinking about the fact that I live with a Geography lecturer makes me feel a bit naughty, it does get a bit weird when he mentions colleagues and it turns out I was taught by them many moons ago.

Anyway I digress the point it we both love maps, old and new. Last year we were given a complete set of Ordnance Survey maps from the last 1950s. They are in pristine condition and cover the whole of the UK. our plan is to use them to wallpaper a wall when we have a more permanent home. We also have maps from various locations about the world. Seeing maps in other languages or other perspectives (Australian upside down world map!) makes you think a little about the big world we live in and all the different places and cultures.

It was our anniversary recently and I had seen some lovely map related gifts on Not on The High Street. The Boyo and I are not big gift givers, we prefer to go for nice meals or away for a weekend but this year I decided I really wanted to give him a wee something. However as many lovely gifts that there were I couldn’t find quite the right thing. So I decided to make him something instead. My crafty and arty skills are not great but I thought that he would appreciate the effort and thought and that we’d be the only two who would have to see my efforts anyway.

The end result is not as polished as many would do but I am not a perfectionist and the Boyo was very happy with my random gift. I thought I would share what I did and I fully expect that if any of you do something similar it would result in a more polished but just as thoughtful gift.

I wanted to frame a selection of maps of places we have been on our weekend wanderings. We have been many places now so it was hard to narrow it down to 12. I stuck with Scotland and tried to choose some of our favourite walking locations. I printed maps from a service I have access to online. For this it really is worth contacting your local library to see what they have subscriptions to and also the National Library of Scotland (for example) has a wide range of digital resources that anyone who has an address is Scotland can get access to.

I bought the large frame (very cheap) and small cream picture mounts in Dunelm Mill. I bought black card to mount everything on in Hobbycraft. I chose black as I wanted the colours in the maps to stand out.

I bought glue dots in a local stationery shop and I already had scissors, pencils and a ruler in the house.

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The first step is to choose how many maps you want and what size. Then pick mounts for them and a frame as big or as small as you need.

Lay all the maps out and look at the orientation. I played around with mine, placing the mounts over them to get an idea of what the final project would look like.

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The next step is to place the mount on the map then draw around so you know where to cut out. Remember the mounts do cover a bit of the map so be careful that the area you want to be shown is visible. Use glue dots in each corner to stick the mount to the map. Trim any bits of the map sticking out from mount with your scissors. When they are framed against the black card it will be obvious if any bits are sticking out and it will be annoying.

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The next step is to take the frame to bits, use the bit of paper inside the frame to mark and cut the backing card to the right size.

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Finally the part I found the hardest, use your ruler to work out where to place each mounted map. You will want them to be equally spaced. I had used a mixture of scales so I fiddled about with where I was placing each map until I had them all looking the way I liked.

When you are 100% satisfied with the placing of each map use the glue dots to stick them down in place.

Then put the frame back together again.

Ta dah……

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So there we go an easy map related gift! The Boyo was happy and we both enjoy looking at it and remembering the walks and places we have been, it makes a change from photos and appeals to a pair of map geeks like us.

 I do apologise for the photography. I will get my camera fixed soon and I have been reading up on how to improve my photography skills.

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