“Where I’ve Been” Map

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DIY a push pin map to keep track of your travels!

I’ve been lucky enough to have seen quite a few countries at such a young age. I’m currently on a mission to see 30 countries before I reach age 30. Because of all these adventures on top of being in college, my bank account is a little tight. So, when I was looking online for one of those fancy push pin maps that show off where you’ve been, I was super bummed to see how expensive they were. Then I realized that I could very easily just make my own!

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Just as a little heads up, my map turned out pretty cool, but as I was making it I thought of all sorts of things that would have made it so much easier and better. So I’ll be throwing those in here as well!

My map was printed onto 6 pieces of paper to make it big enough, so the first thing I had to do was trim my map and line up the countries because there were margins to deal with. There was a little bit of overlapping, but it ended up being no problem! To create the one big map that is pictured below, I taped the back together with washi tape. (TIP: stick and peel the washi tape on your pants a couple of times to make it easier to peel off when the time comes!)

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Next comes applying the photo transfer medium. This stuff is so cool! But make sure you use A LOT. Like a lot, a lot. I thought I used a ton and it still wasn’t quite enough, especially around the edges. I applied the medium directly to the map and then spread it around. To get the effect my final product had, I covered the countries very well, then brushed in a kind of messy outline around the globe. You can do yours like this, or cut the map in a traditional globe shape. (NOTE: not just the map transfers over, the white printer paper stays where you painted it on as well!)

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This is what it looked like after the first coat- this still isn’t enough! Apply enough to not be able to see the countries through it like the picture below.

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Then comes the scary part- flipping the map onto your bulletin board. If your map is big like mine was, you’ll definitely want somebody to help you. Even with help, we had to pick my map up and adjust it a couple of times.

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Next you want to smooth the map out as much as possible. I used my ID card to smooth out some of the larger bubbles, but be careful to not rip the map! Also, avoid wrinkles at all cost! I ended up with a bunch, and got lucky that they made my map look old, but I personally think that it would have looked better without them.

Once your map is applied, you have to test your patience a little bit. Your map must be TOTALLY dry when you remove it for the photo transfer to work. I did mine in the early afternoon and left it at work until the next day. Overnight or 24 hours is a good time frame.

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Once it’s definitely dry, remove the washi tape, take a wet sponge, and work it over the entire map to get the whole thing damp. Let it sit damp for a minute or two, then start rubbing with the sponge. Sorry, I forgot to take photos of this, but it comes off pretty easily and the excess paper balls up.

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Once you remove all the excess paper and the map dries, go over it again with a wet sponge to get the leftovers.IMG_1221 (1)

Once your map is all dried up, time to make it look a bit more complete! A lot of my furniture is black, so I chose that to paint my frame to avoid clashing. Unless you have an impressively steady hand, don’t forget to put down a masking tape border to avoid getting paint on your map!

Finally, it’s time to pin your map (and realize that you should look into travel in the Southern Hemisphere).

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