Wednesday, February 8, 2017

DIY Wednesday: Push Pin Map

Ross and I have done a fair amount of travelling since beginning our relationship in 2011. With a fair amount of bargain hunting and penny pinching, we have been fortunate enough to travel to...
  • Atlantic City
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Niagara Falls, Canada
  • East Lansing, Michigan
  • Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Williamsburg, Virginia
  • Cancun, Mexico
  • Istanbul, Turkey
  • Orlando, Florida
  • Long Beach Island, New Jersey
  • Punta Cana, Dominican Republic
  • San Francisco, California
  • Chicago, Illinois
Besides the countless travel photos that adorn our walls, this Christmas I wanted to gift Ross a push pin map to keep track of where we have been over the years. When I started shopping around I was stunned to see a map, mounted on cork or foam-core and framed, cost several hundred dollars. More absurd? Simple maps mounted on foam-core or cork ran near $150. I knew I could do this myself and at a much more reasonable price, especially if I was patient and waited to take advantage of sales and coupons.

DIY Push Pin Map


Step 1:

Download and print your map file.
I purchased a downloadable file from Etsy. I sent it to print at my local Walgreens while they were running a 50% off sale on all photos. This cost $15 for the large format (regularly $30). If there are no sales in sight and $30 is too much to spend on one photo, check Costco Photo Center. They offer 20" x 30" prints for $9.99 (this will cut back on the cost of a frame as well).

Step 2:

Carefully remove the glass from your frame. Dispose of it at your local recycling center.
I was unfortunate lucky enough to break my frame in store. The wonderful woman in the photo department helped me clean up the glass and dispose of it in their custom framing shop. She was shocked when I still wanted to buy the thing. Now, I don't recommend you all go around to your local craft store smashing frames, but I was going to buy this and trash the glass anyway. A happy "if you break it, you buy it" coincidence.

Step 3:

Trim your cork to the photo size. (I marked my edge and used a metal ruler to ensure a straight cut). Make sure to cut over a cutting mat or cutting board. Don't damage your counters or table! Cut several light passes until you cut through the cork to get a smooth edge. Pushing hard will leave a rough edge.

Step 4:

Mount your photo to your cork using the Mod Podge and foam brush. The cork will suck up the glue so be generous. I used half of the bottle to get a solid coat. I suggest letting this sit overnight under some books to ensure a good bond. Once the adhesive has dried and the map is mounted to the cork, trim any additional cork down to the size of your map. If the edges have lifted, use a small paintbrush to tack corners and edges with extra Mod Podge.

Step 5:

Place your mounted map into the frame and close it back up. Hang the frame in your desired locations and start pinning destinations past.

All said and done, this project cost me $55.00. I took advantage of coupons and sales wherever possible. This included a Cyber Monday sale on Etsy and 50% off regular price purchases at Michaels. The frame being on clearance was a happy coincidence. Had this not been the case, I had been shopping during a 60% off frame sale at Michaels, which would have brought the cost to $33, bringing my grand total to only $72. Still a fraction of the ready-made alternative.

Item Store Original Price Discount Total
Printable Map File Etsy $9.90 -$7.90 $2.00
24" x 36" Printed Map Walgreens $30.00 -50% $15.00
24" x 36" Frame Michaels $82.99 -80% $15.99
24" Cork Roll Michaels $15.99 -50% $8.00
Mod Podge Michaels $7.99 -50% $4.00
Foam Brush Michaels $2.00 N/A $2.00
Push Pins Amazon $7.60 N/A $7.60

The push pin map was not my only successful Christmas DIY this year. Check out my Cricut-based personalized mailbox tutorial. Share your DIY success stories in the comments! Can't wait to spark some crafting inspiration.