Help me create my Wall of Maps!
November 8, 2008 10:20 AM   Subscribe

I need ideas for creating my wall of maps.

I have a collection of maps (the bulk are tourist-type maps from my travels, but many kinds are represented in my collection). I'd like to make a big wall of maps. When I was in college, I made one just using pushpins and it was OK, but I'm interested in finding a method or design that might be a bit more elegant before I put 100 pin holes in the wall in my new apartment.

Here's a picture of the beginnings of the dorm wall, for reference.
posted by pollex to Home & Garden (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
You could combine it with a series of clothes set to match the time zone of the map below.
posted by ceri richard at 10:26 AM on November 8, 2008

clothes? wtf? clocks!

sleep deprivation = brain farts
posted by ceri richard at 10:27 AM on November 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

This was discussed a few questions ago. You could use a mixture of tiny high power magnets an bigger, goofy looking souvenir fridge-magnets from around the world.
posted by bonobothegreat at 10:42 AM on November 8, 2008

It may be more interesting, visually, if you cut around the outline of the country. That way you won't have a bunch of squares on your wall. This won't really work well for your city maps, but assuming you have some country maps, it could offer a nice balance.
posted by nitsuj at 10:45 AM on November 8, 2008

a variety of frames from thrift stores and antique shops would give it a nice feel.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 11:03 AM on November 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

Can you attach a thin layer of some other material, like a thin sheet of plywood, to your wall with a few screws, then glue the maps on using poster glue? You will effectively destroy the maps, but the result will look a lot neater than attaching the maps with thumbtacks.
posted by ghost of a past number at 11:12 AM on November 8, 2008


Picture frame wire (for hanging) strung across the wall plus clothespins or paper clips.
posted by notyou at 12:04 PM on November 8, 2008

In a friend of mine's childhood home, they used maps as wallpaper. Not sure exactly how they did it, but the maps were definitely a permanent part of the house. It looked awesome.
posted by number9dream at 12:14 PM on November 8, 2008 [1 favorite]

outline the maps with black velvet ribbon - it will make the edges a lot neater, and look sort of like a Mondrian painting.
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 12:45 PM on November 8, 2008

I did this years ago and was really happy with it. I was working at Kinko's at the time and abused my access to the laminating machine to laminate a bunch of maps pulled out of National Geographics.

One important thing to do is group and align the maps nicely on the wall. The picture of your dorm wall shows the maps jammed really close together. If they were spaced out more and the edges lined up it would look a lot more professional. I laid out all my maps on the floor before putting them up. I made sure edges aligned and created groupings. If you google "arranging photos" you will probably find good tips on how to do this. Some people get obsessive and mark out with tape or pencil where they're going to go. I think the most important thing is to have an overall plan, and to keep everything straight. The edges will look straight if you align them with the edge of the wall. Also, at kinko's I learned this trick for lining things up so they look straight: Don't look at the maps themselves - look at the space between the maps. If the space between the right edge of map A and the left edge of map B is straight, the maps will be straight.

Oh, and I love 5-13's idea about the black velvet ribbon. I see from her profile she's a visual effects artist so I would follow that suggestion.
posted by selfmedicating at 3:38 PM on November 8, 2008

If it was my wall, I would make a collage out of them, cutting off the borders that include keys, headings, and so on. Then I'd line them up so that, for example, the Vltava river flowed London (or, conversely, the Thames flowed into Prague). Try similar contiguity tricks with other salient elements in your maps.
posted by Beardman at 6:58 PM on November 8, 2008

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