Physical Mind Mapping with String: Best Method?
January 19, 2011 9:12 PM   Subscribe

Best method of making connections in my physical mind map: string? yarn? what kind of adhesive?

I'm creating a world history "mind map" on my wall using several world history time lines and national geographic maps. I plan to make connections and notations of Teaching Company lectures as I listen to them, in particular the Foundations of Western Civilization lecture series that I just started.

The materials that I'm using are hung from the wall with 3M Scotch Clear Mounting Squares. The materials hung include laminated, unlaminated and glossy finish paper. I can not put holes in the walls, so everything I use must be some kind of adhesive (or possible magnets) that won't damage the wall or the paper.

My question is: using your creativity, what would be the best way to make cross-map reference lines? Lets say I want to "draw" from a particular place on the timeline to a particular place on a map. To illustrate my idea, the crudest way to accomplish this would be to hotglue the ends of a piece of yarn to the two points. But I don't want to damage my materials and I want to be able to remove and move connections.

I tried searching around for this on the internet, but I couldn't come up with search terms that yielded anything worth while.

My hope is that a) someone will show me some product that I haven't thought of or was not aware of that will be perfect or b) someone will come up with an ingenious way of using existing products to meet my needs.

posted by DumbPoet to Education (12 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure if these would stick to your surface or not, but maybe waxy string would work.
posted by tamitang at 9:19 PM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

Could you put blue tack on the ends of your strings? It leaves a very slight blue residue, but if you don't mind that, should work fine.

A more expensive alternative that didn't leave a residue would be Silly Putty.
posted by forza at 9:30 PM on January 19, 2011

A pushpin?
posted by i_am_a_fiesta at 9:39 PM on January 19, 2011

If you fold over one end of scotch tape on itself, sticky side onto sticky side, it makes a little tag. Pull out a tiny leader of scotch tape, just a few millimeters, and fold it under to adhere to itself. Then use just enough tape to hold the yarn to its target. If your targets are anything other than brown paper bags, the scotch tape should peel off rather easily.
posted by at the crossroads at 10:20 PM on January 19, 2011

Darn. I thought you were looking for mnemonic devices for remembering connections in your head and I was going to suggest sparks and flaming laser lines. But here in the real world, I would use either pinholes with string tied through and knotted in the back or sticker dots with lightweight yarn stuck underneath.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:22 PM on January 19, 2011

could you mount a layer of plastic on top of the whole thing using similar mounting squares and then draw on the plastic?
posted by macinchik at 12:39 AM on January 20, 2011

Dry Erase Plus offers transparent dry erase surfaces for $3.75 per square foot.
posted by macinchik at 12:43 AM on January 20, 2011

Can you paint the walls? If so, you could try magnetic paint and magnets. If not, magnetic paper and magnets.
posted by prenominal at 5:28 AM on January 20, 2011

Remove and Restick Tape?
posted by tel3path at 6:20 AM on January 20, 2011

The waxy string mentioned above would definitely cling to a smooth surface. I had one twisted into a heart shape stuck on the edge of my work computer monitor for years. They should peel right off the glossy & laminate paper with no damage. I can't vouch for how it would work on plain paper... I'm sure they'd stick but not sure if they'd leave a residue.
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 6:25 AM on January 20, 2011

I like the idea of the waxy string; the only way it might not work is if you're connecting something on page A to page B, and there's an open space in between. Although you don't want to make holes in the walls, the pushpin technique is classic because it works well - what if you mounted all your information on a big sheet of corrugated cardboard, which you can perforate at will?
posted by aimedwander at 9:50 AM on January 20, 2011

Snot tape!
posted by peagood at 6:36 AM on January 21, 2011

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