Should I paint my own world map? Give me ideas!
November 14, 2010 5:10 PM   Subscribe

I want to cover my wall with a map. Should I paint it myself?

I want a world map on my wall. I'm some-what creative, I'd say if I painted it I probably wouldn't hate it. I also have creative friends that might want to help me. But my brain is toppling with ideas and I don't know where to start. Help me please!

This is what I want:
1) Obviously, a map of the world.
2) I want it to be big! At least six feet wide.
3) I don't want it framed under glass. I want to pin things to it, draw on it, etc.
4) I want it to be durable and portable, ie. not permanently stuck to the wall. I will be moving one day and I want to take it with me!!
5) I will probably be sticking random photos of my travels to it.
6) I want it to be political with country boundaries

These are ideas I'm throwing around:

Should I paint it myself?
My brother has a high definition projector and I would be able to hang paper/canvas/fabric and trace the world atlas onto it, and then take any direction I want with it from there. But what do I paint it on? What kind of paint do I use? How much would a project like this cost me?

Should I just buy it?
It's easier but I don't have exactly what I want. What are maps painted on Tyvek like? Maybe you know of a map that fits my criteria?

I'm just throwing some things out there and I wanted to see what you guys could help me come up with. I've been mulling over this idea for quite some time and I think it might be time to get something started.

Thank you for any input!
posted by cruncheweesy to Media & Arts (15 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I love your idea! I have maps all over my walls.

How about buying some thin plywood panels to paint on. That way you can cut them to fit the wall, attach them to the wall, and detach them when you move. Also consider which map projection you use. See, for instance, this.
posted by mareli at 5:21 PM on November 14, 2010

I would paint it myself on a large piece of cloth (with water-safe ink) and apply it to the wall with starch.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 5:22 PM on November 14, 2010

This is a very aesthetically pleasing projection.
posted by phrontist at 5:38 PM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Way cool, phrontist! The empty parts could just be painted like sky.
posted by mareli at 5:42 PM on November 14, 2010

If you want big, is 13 feet by 8 feet big enough? It comes as eight panels, you could mount each panel on a piece on Homasote and and hang them on the wall as a giant bulletin board.
posted by Marky at 5:51 PM on November 14, 2010

Get a canvas dropcloth. The buff color will be great for a backdrop color. Place gromets in the top so you can hang it. Use flow formula acrylic paint; it will be flexible enough to withstand being rolled up later. Project the image in graphite, so you can correct errors. Seal with transparent acrylic primer. Paint in your final details. You could also work in sections at a table for a more comfortable application---because standing up and painting a large graphic as detailed as a map can become very taxing physically.
posted by effluvia at 5:52 PM on November 14, 2010 [1 favorite]

Make your first layer magnetic paint so you can attach pictures and notes with magnets!
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 6:11 PM on November 14, 2010

Painting it yourself will definitely be cool, but here are two considerations:

1) The map won't be able to surprise you like a very detailed printed map can; and

2) You could spend the time you would have spent painting in traveling, reading, or earning money for traveling instead.
posted by amtho at 6:12 PM on November 14, 2010

Wow, I'm very tempted to get the one Marky posted. I just wanted to point out that magnetic paint works really poorly.
posted by lizzicide at 6:27 PM on November 14, 2010

National Geographic's mural maps are 9'2"×6'4": political, earth-toned.
posted by mcwetboy at 6:50 PM on November 14, 2010

Vintage National Geographic's mural maps are extra cool.
posted by ovvl at 7:59 PM on November 14, 2010

I love the idea of painting it yourself. Keep extra paint (or a record of the color numbers and sources) so you can update it throughout your life as political boundaries change, and it could end up being a great investment compared to a purchased printed world map that will most likely be outdated at least once a decade.
posted by Jacqueline at 9:44 PM on November 14, 2010

Ikea has a pretty awesome 78x55 map for $149. Relatively easy to put together, and easy to transport from apartment to apartment (if you're someone who relocates a lot)
posted by arnicae at 10:08 PM on November 14, 2010

One of the things I wish I could have brought to Japan from my place in the states was my Raven wall map...
posted by sleepytako at 10:21 PM on November 14, 2010

Response by poster: Hi guys! Just an update - I've found the perfect map without having to paint it! I got the idea of looking at pull down maps (the type used in elementary schools) and I was able to find one on kijiji in my city. It's large, sturdy, and easy to transport!

Thanks for all the suggestions though!
posted by cruncheweesy at 5:32 PM on November 19, 2010

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