While browsing through blogs of other MilSpouses, I became inspired to create a world travel map to mark all of the places around the world the hubby and I have visited. After reading about the idea on another blog, I thought this would be great for the hubby and I as we love to explore and want to travel together and see as much of the world as we can, especially given our new nomadic lifestyle. The idea for the map is simple and I thought it would be a great addition to our spare bedroom/office space.
The supplies you need for this project are a map, foam core board to mount the map on, spray adhesive, map pins, and then a frame (with glass removed). A ruler and knife or box cutter would also be handy tools for cutting down the foam core board.
When I decided to get started on this project, I of course wanted it to be as cost effective as possible (anyway I can save some money I will). I'm very active on this website called Swagbucks, which is a really awesome place where you can participate in various activities to earn points that you can then redeem for free prizes. My all-time favorite prize is $5 Amazon e-gift cards. Each one costs 450 points, which you can usually manage to earn every week. I had my eye set on an executive style world map since the final resting place for the map will be in our home office and I wanted something that looked a little nicer, and found one on Amazon for $16.99. Well thanks to my free gift cards I've been racking up, as well as my free 1 year Amazon Prime membership, I got this map sent to me in two business days for absolutely FREE! If you're not as particular about the style of the map though, you can actually find poster-sized world maps on Amazon for just a few cents.
I assumed my next biggest expense would be the frame to hold the map, as most 24"x36" frames with removable glass start off at $30. I went by Michael's this weekend to scope out what they had, as usually their frames are marked down 40% off on a regular basis. I found a decent frame there that was actually on clearance for $17.99, which I told myself I could live with. I then picked up a piece of foam core board from the framing department for $7.99, which I had intended on using a 40% off one regular priced item store coupon on. I got up to the register to check out, and for some reason or another the frame rang up for just 1 cent! I was shocked! When they rang up the price for the foam board, they had to manually key in the price since there was no bar code, which meant it rang up as a "custom framing" purchase, which the coupon I had wasn't eligible for. But I did not raise a fuss one bit because I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible with my huge frame that only cost me a penny. I then picked up some map pins from Office Depot since they have the particular mixed-colored packs I wanted, and then went to Hobby Lobby to grab a can of spray adhesive for cheaper than what Michael's had in stock and used a 40% off coupon there.
Had I not had discounts, coupons, and free gift cards to use on my purchases, the whole project would have cost me $65.46. But after all of my savings I only spent $15.68!
The whole assembly process is really quite easy. First you need to cut down the foam core board to fit the size of the map/frame. I would recommend measuring it out, drawing some straight lines with a ruler, and then just cutting it. The frame I purchased had a pretty sturdy backing piece in it that I just traced onto the foam core to get the straight lines in the exact dimensions I needed to fit the frame.
Next is to mount the map onto the board. You'll want to be sure to do this either outside, or inside with newspaper or some other protective barrier under the edges of the board. Spray a small strip of the board with the adhesive, wait about 15 seconds for the glue to set, and then slowly line up the edges of your map with the board and lay it down smoothly. You'll then repeat this with the rest of the board to finish.
Once your map is set, you'll grab your frame and take the glass out of it, and then slide the map right inside!
All that remains is to get busy with your pins and start marking your map with all of the cities you've seen. I have decided to mark locations he and I have each visited since we first began dating back in 2007, rather than just where we've been since we got married earlier this year. I'm using black pins to mark places he's been, white pins for places I've been, and red pins for those places we've been to together.