It's no secret that Aaron and I LOVE traveling. We're always game for travel of all kinds, whether it's a cruise, a relaxing all-inclusive resort in Cancun, or an amazing European adventure. A few months after we were married, Aaron decided that one of his goals for us was to drive through and eat or stay in every single one of the 50 states. Also, as a rule, we had to get out and take a picture with the state sign, wherever we were. This has led to some pretty epic photos on the side of highways and in places that probably weren't the safest to be taking selfies (see Arkansas for a good laugh).
For our 2014 spring break, we traveled through nine different states and stayed at nine different hotels, taking state sign pictures in all of them. A few months later, I was looking for a fun gift to create for my hubby for our first anniversary, the "paper" anniversary. As I was scrolling through Pinterest, I saw a couple cute maps. That got me to thinking, wow, if I could make a personalized one, that would be a great use of all those pictures we've been taking. And so, I started a photo map for us. Here's the map complete with pictures from our Southeast Spring Break trip:
This spring, we went on an epic Southwestern Adventure, and had several photos to add. So, I'm back at it again, this time with step by step instructions on how to make your very own photo map!
- Three foam boards
- A large map (I got mine at Staple's for about $8)
- Spray Adhesive
- Push pins
- A tape measure or ruler
To assemble the board that your map will sit on, measure out the length of your map. Cut your foam boards (you may need an Exacto knife for this), and then tape them together so that they are one big board that fits your map. Use the spray adhesive on the foam board, and then mount your map on the front. Now you're ready to start with your states.
To create the states, lay a piece of paper over the top of the state. Carefully trace the shape of the state onto the piece of paper with a pencil. It doesn't have to be perfect, just do your best!
Next, cut out your shape from the piece of paper. Lay it over the state and see how you did. For California, I used a couple different pieces of legal paper, and then I taped them together to form the state.
Next, measure all of your state shapes and write their measurements on them. You need to know what size of picture to print for each state. For the Southeast, this was really easy, because most of the states were right around 4x6'', give or take. Keep in mind that some states will be smaller than 4X6, so choose your photos wisely. It's also easier if the photos are taken horizontally, not vertically, but you can make any photo work with a little tweaking. For California, I knew I was going to have to piece together a few different 4x6" photos. Some states will need a 5x7.
Once you know the size you'll need, it's time to choose your photos. For me, I knew I'd be using our state sign pictures, then if I needed to piece together any photos I would use another picture from something fun we did in that state, like the Grand Canyon or some California palm trees. Your pictures can be anything fun that you did in that state, or whatever you want, we just chose state signs for ours. Choose something fun and memorable for your home state. I used one of my favorite pictures from our wedding for Missouri. Since I had to angle the photo to get our faces in it, I filled in the rest of the state with some black scraps from the photo. Scotch tape is your friend!
Next, you're ready to cut out! I know this is intimidating, but I promise friends, it's not as hard as it looks! I simply hold the paper state that I 've cut out over the photo, and then follow the lines with my scissors. Play around with the photos and see how they best fill the shape of the state. You'll have to get creative with states like Florida that have an awkward edge or panhandle, but just cut scraps of the photo out and tape them together until you get the shape you need!
Next, put your photos next to each other and see how they look. They don't have to be perfect. Consider overlapping or doing a few little snips here and there to make them fit together great.
Now, all of the hard work is done, and it's time to put your states on the map! Grab those pushpins, and stick them in the corners of the states so that they lie flat. You may need to over or underlap states to make them fit.
See how I used several multiple photos from California, Arizona, and Nevada to make each of the states work? I love the way that they turned out!
And there you have it: an updated and personalized map with photos of all of the states we've visited. Looks like we need to get to work on the North. (And I also need to find our Louisiana and Texas pictures). I promise, it's way easier than it looks!
Personalized photo maps make great gifts, keepsakes, and memories of travels- without costing a lot. Still have questions? Need some advice on a certain step? Let me know in the comments below, or on the contact form. I'd love to help you out. Have so much fun!
I'm linking up with A Fresh Start, Wine'd Down Wednesday, The Quinntessential Mommy, Just us Four, Snippets of Inspiration, Just Another Linky, Twinkly Tuesday, Imparting Grace, Anderson and Grant, Feeding Big, The Handmade Hangout, AKA Design, Shaken Together Life, Bloom Designs Online, The Pretty Pintistic Party, The Painted Drawer, A. Liz Adventures, The Girl Creative, The Crafted Sparrow, and The Deliberate Mom.