Monday, August 11, 2014

Make Something Monday: DIY "Places you Wanna Go" Cork Board Map

Before your tutorial, (If you wanna skip to the tutorial, scroll down to the pictures, but you'll be missing a great story!) you get a little story, I call it

The Story of the Maps

So back last fall sometime, I had this brilliant plan to find a moderately sized map, adhere it to some cork board and make an awesome 'where they've been, where they wanna go' type deal. Skip ahead to late January right before my birthday party and the first time we really had anyone over to our basement house. I was stressing over making the house not look so basement-y and the biggest problem was this huge horrific white wall in the kitchen. To me it was this eye sore akin to someone having wiped fecal matter all over it. To anyone else it was non-noticeable because, hello it's a white wall.

So I was desperate to come up with something adorable and clever to cover the wall and convinced Chris, in the middle of a blizzard, that we needed to go find a map and cork RIGHT NOW. And so he dutifully drove me to a map supply store, because where else do you go to find maps? Only problem is they didn't exactly have the moderately sized map I had been dreaming of. The only one we could find was hugenormous. The good news was it would cover the ENTIRE white heinous wall. The bad news: it was like 30 bucks. And then we had to buy the cork to go behind it. Yeah that was gonna be a fortune so instead we just got some thick poster board. But the piece we bought was so huge that it wouldn't fit in my teeny tiny bug (who needs a mom car?!) so we had to borrow a dull Xacto knife from the map supply store people and we sat on the floor and cut it up.

Long story short (you wish) the map ended up in a series of panels on the terrible horrible wall. Yay! Everyone loved it and continues to comment on it whenever they come over. Probably because it's a hugenormous map taking up the whole wall. Then the weather changed and it got Utah-hot. So Chris hooked up the swamp cooler so we wouldn't all die. Then it got not so hot so we turned off the swamp cooler. What does this have to do with the map? Well the swamp cooler is right next to the map, so the map soaked up some swampiness. Then when we turned it off it expelled said swampiness and started to bubble and whatnot and now basically it's ruined. Yeah. I mean falling of the wall, peeling off the poster board ruined. There goes $50 or so down the drain.

Look how sad and bubbly it is :(

The good news is I found the map I had wanted in the first place at a poster sale at BYU for 5 bucks so now I can make the project I had been planning to make all along.

The moral? A white wall isn't so bad. And if you can't find the right thing...just wait until you do.

So now for you (if you made it through the story of the maps) I present the awesome "Places you Wanna Go" Map.
I love how the map can be separated because it's on separate tiles. It
can take up as little or as much room as you want. It's perfect for someone 
who moves a lot (college student) because it's not big and it can be 
stored easily.
  • A map (size and color of your choosing but use the above story as a cautionary tale for a huge map)
  • Cork Board Tiles (Get them at Target or Walmart or Michaels, etc. Usually come in a 4 pack. I needed 6 so two 4 packs were $14 at Target)
  • Spray Adhesive (Tacky glue or wood glue works also but I HIGHLY recommend spray adhesive. I'll tell you why.)
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Pins

**When collecting your materials, measure your map to figure out how many cork board tiles you need. I made my pieces slightly smaller than the cork board to avoid the dreaded overhang.**

001 Trace a cork tile on the back of your map to mark where you will cut the pieces. Using sharp scissors, cut along the lines very carefully.

002 Cover the surface you're working on to protect it from the spray adhesive. Spray a thin layer of adhesive on one cork tile and smooth one piece of the map over the top. Repeat with remaining tiles and map pieces.

*A note on glue: after two tiles I ran out of spray adhesive and had to use tacky glue. It works but the end product is not nearly as pretty. It creates air bubbles and causes the cork board to warp as it dries, so you have to pile heavy books on top of it. If you do use tacky glue, instead of squirting it on the cork board willy nilly (bad idea) pour the glue into a bowl and spread a thin layer on the cork board with a paint brush. You may need to use a credit card to smooth out the bubbles and then let it dry underneath a heavy book overnight.*

003 Most cork board tiles come with sticky foam that let you stick the cork board tiles to the wall. If you use these, be warned that they are SUPER sticky. So only put them somewhere if you want them to be there forever. You might want to purchase another form of sticky foam adhesive that comes off easier. Then go ahead and add pins for places you want to go or places you've been.

For ours, I made this map key on picmonkey.

Now the good news about you trying this project is that I did it first and I can tell you what not to do. So if I had it to do over, I would adhere a thin piece of plywood to the back of each tile (like I did in this tutorial ) and add a sawtooth hanger to nail it to the wall. It would make it so much more durable and wouldn't make it so permanent on the wall and probably a lot easier to hang up or fix if you mess up.

*It's super hard to get the tiles even and the right distance apart and if you use the super sticky things that come with the cork boards, you'll tear the paint right off your wall when you try and fix it. Be warned.*


  1. I was trying to figure out how you managed to go just north of Cuba but then I realized it's Key West! Yay!!

    1. Haha, yeah the map was too small to actually show Key West so I guesstimated.

  2. This is awesome! I definitely want to do this for my fiance's office :) Thank you for sharing!