I feel lucky to have so many cherished memories at this point in my life. Some of them are documented in some way – through photos, videos, journals, even media coverage. Some of them live only in my memory, or the accounts of others who were there.
The experiences that come and the memories that are made during travel have always held an extra special place in my heart, though. Sadly, I’ve not taken the time to record most of these adventures in an artistic and easy-to-display way as I should have just yet. It’s on my list of to-dos to create scrapbooks for each major journey that either I, or Jeremy and I have made over the last several years.
Sometimes all it takes though to be transported back to a certain place or time, or specific memory, is hearing or seeing a word associated with it (specifically, the name of the city or country.) That’s why I thought it was high time to create a push-pin travel map and display it in a main area of our home – as a conversation starter and also as a way to document where we’ve been and remind us of just how lucky we are!
Push-Pin Travel Map DIY
What You’ll Need
- One large map (You’ll probably want a map large enough to see and pin specific cities – I got this one from Amazon and it measures 55 in. x 39 in. – it works for us, but it’s HUGE! Feel free to size down.)
- One foam board (Get a size that’s an exact fit to, or slightly larger than, your map. I found this 40 in. x 60 in. board at Office Depot.)
- One hardwood board (I used a 1 in. x 2 in. x 8 ft. board like this one from Lowes, and cut it to fit the length of our map.)
- Two screw eye hooks (I got #8 x 1 – 5/8 in. hooks from Lowes.)
- Small nails (1 inch length or less)
- Double sided tape
- Twine or ribbon
- Push pins
- Wood stain or paint (optional)
- Drill (with drill bit to match the size of your screw eye hooks)
What You’ll Do
1. Cut your hardwood board to fit the length (width) of your map. If you don’t have the tools at home, you can have the hardware store do this for you. If you’ll be staining or painting it, take care of that part now! I used some leftover wood stain from previous projects and applied just one, thin coat.
2. Make sure your foam board matches up with the width of your map, too. If the height of the foam board measures a little longer than your map, that’s okay. You’ll be applying the wood board to hide that part later.
3. Tape your map to the foam board using the double back tape. I applied a ton of tape to the edges, corners, and center of the board. In hindsight, this was a HORRIBLE idea.
When I tried to place the map down, it kept getting stuck in spots I didn’t want it to, I had to carefully peel it off and start over again and again. If you’ve got two people to lay the map, that might work. What I’d suggest now that I know is to line up and tape one corner, and slowly apply tape under the map until you’ve worked all the way around the edges. Don’t worry about taping the center of the map down.
4. Once your wood board has dried, use the drill bit to drill a hole in the center of each end.
5. Screw in the eye hooks.
6. Apply double back tape to the visible part of the foam board on the front side of the map (or on the very top part of the map if you don’t have foam board visible.)
7. Line up the wood board with the top edges of the map, make sure it’s straight, and press down onto the tape.
8. Flip the whole thing over!
9. Use the small nails to secure the foam board to the wood. I used seven small nails total, evenly spaced out.
10. Flip it back over and take a look – you’re almost done!
11. Cut a super long piece of twine – more than you think you’ll need.
12. Tie one end of the twine through an eye hook.
13. Place, but don’t tie, the other end of twine to the other eye hook. Using your finger, mimic how the twine will hang on a nail to determine the length you’d like it. Once you’ve got it, tie the other end of twine to the second eye hook. (Keep in mind, you can always adjust this part to make it longer or shorter later!)
14. Hold your map up by the twine, in front of the wall you wish to use, to see where you want to place the nail or hook to hang it.
15. Hang ‘er up! If you like the length, snip any excess twine.
All done! Now, the really fun part. Grab those push-pins and start placing them everywhere you’ve been.
The pins I got look lovely against the map, however, I’ll be on the hunt for some smaller ones to pin our adventures in the states with (in many states, we’ve visited multiple cities, and the pins are a bit big for that.)