I have always wanted a way to display my travels in my home. When I saw these map pin boards, I was hooked, and knew that I had to have one; t. Then I saw the price. The price range on these is anywhere from thirty to hundreds of dollars. I decided that I could easily make one myself, much cheaper. Here is how!
Paint (if you wish to paint the trim of the cork board)
Computer with image of map
How to Get Materials
Cork Board- I found my cork board at a local thrift shop for under $1. It took me a while to find it, but I did not give up. Another great place to find cork boards for cheap is garage sales.
Projector- This might be the trickiest task for some people. Luckily, I’ am a teacher, and I had access to a projector at school. My first suggestion would be to find a teacher. Almost everyone knows someone who teaches, and the good thing is, generally we teachers are pretty nice. If you are nervous about asking a teacher, just bribe one with a pack of expo markers, or a $5 Starbucks gift card. My projector is all yours if you have either of these items. Other places you could try to find a projector include: church, library, or your office.
Computer with image of map- Find an image of a map of your choice (United States, world, state, continent, or other country) on your computer. Then, you will want to size it on your computer to match the size of your cork board.
Pins- I got my colorful pins from Target for a couple of dollars.
Now that you have all of your materials, you can get started.
STEP ONE: Getting your image and sizeing it
Pick the map for you. For my project, I choose an image of the United States because my international map would look very sad unfortunately. Hopefully someday soon I will get a world map going. After getting your image, you will want to size and align it on your computer so that it will project onto your cork board.
STEP TWO: Secure your cork board
If I could redo my project, this is the step that I would do a better job at. I had two 5th grade girls helping with my project, and 10 year old10-year-old girls are not the best at keeping still. I quickly realized that I would need to stabilize my cork board better or my map would not be proportional. If possible, secure the cork board to the wall. If not, find something to set the board on to keep it in the same position while tracing.
STEP THREE: Trace map onto the board
For this step, I found that going straight to the sharpie would keep my sanity. I tried pencil at first but it did not erase when a mistake was made; therefore, I decided to just go for it with the sharpie.
If you are a perfectionist, then make sure the cork board is not moving on you. I free handed and slightly changed a few boarders on mine to make sure that my map aligned in the end. If you had a United States map right next to it comparing, you might notice, but, when it is hanging on the wall, my changes are not noticeable.
STEP FOUR (optional): Add some personalization
My cork board was in pretty bad shape when I bought it (it was only $1, can’t complain). My original plan was to cut the map from the board around the border, but I did not feel I could do this successfully. So, to add some character to my board I decided to paint the trim white with some extra paint I had around the house. A bonus, I got to keep Alaska and Hawaii this way! I also had a blank corner that I added a “Where to Next” list by simply writing on an index card and pinning it up.
STEP FIVE: Start pinning
I decided to pin places that I have been in my adult life (18 or older). As a child, I traveled quite a bit with my family, but remembering some of those places isn’t always easy. Many of those places, like the Grand Canyon, I would love to visit again.
I also color coded my board. I have a home pin (yellow), travels with my husband (orange), his independent travels (blue), and mine (pink).
So, make your board your own by deciding what to pin and how to display it.
I absolutely love how my board turned out! It is a great reminder of places I have had the privilege to experience. It also keeps me motivated to travel more and experience all this beautiful world has to offer.
Laura Bowersox is a 5th grade teacher with a passion for all things travel. She is an avid travel blogger and has written for onlyinyourstate.com and now Travel Pass Magazine. Laura aspires to travel any chance she can get and loves to share her experiences and tips. firstname.lastname@example.org