Make A Thing: Things To Make With Maps and Globes

Welcome to the million billionth installment of Make A Thing where the games are made up and the points don’t matter and also we make handmade gifts for people. Or ourselves. Or our cats. Mostly our cats. 

Header by Rory Midhani

I love maps. I stare at a lot of maps. I spend a lot of time reading about foreign countries for my real life job, and it always helps to have a map around. I have a gigantic world map on my wall, and sometimes I stand in front of it and squint to see where my friends are around the world. Besides having a lot of friends back in Australia, one of my friends is currently on a pilgrimage through Northern Spain and another is adventuring through Bali. Maps help me keep track of people and they help me feel closer to people I care about who are far away.

Maybe your people are far away. Maybe your best friend is in Senegal or Rome or India and you are not. Maybe the love of your life is across the country or backpacking through Europe. Maybe you just moved for college or your dream job and you’re missing home and your dog. Maps keep our world neat and orderly even when everything is confusing. Lines point us to where we ought to go, outlines show us our borders and nothing seems too far away, really, when you look at it right.

Maps are also extremely beautiful. What I’m trying to say is, let’s decorate ALL the things with maps.


From left to right on each row:

1. This isn’t so much a tutorial as an idea. Covering glass panes with maps is astoundingly beautiful and a super easy way to get some privacy or show off your favorite places. (via By The Way…)

2. Map photo frames are a great way to commemorate trips or significant places in your life. (via Maybe Matilda)

3. It’s never too early to start making Christmas tree decorations. (via A Diamond In The Stuff)

4. Cutting out maps in specific shapes is really aesthetically pleasing to me. (via Kayla Danelle)

5. This isn’t really a tutorial, either, but would be super easy to create with some wooden letters, paint, and Mod Podge. (via tumblr)

6. A lovely little place for keeping track of lovely little things. (via P.S. I Made This)

7. This lampshade is amazing. (via Pretty Handy Girl)

8. Cutting a globe in half never seemed so right. These pendant lamps are super cool. (via LidenSkapelese)

9. Carry a place with you, close to your heart. (via Pork & Periwinkle)

denver watercolor map

via {Stamen}

As a bonus, for instant satisfaction, check out this website that will make a place into a watercolor painting. Super easy to print out and frame for instant art. Head over to Stamen and enter in any location you’d like.

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Hansen is the former DIY & Food Editor of and likes to spend most days making and cooking and writing. She teaches creative writing at Colorado State University and is pursuing a Masters of Fine Arts in her free time.

Hansen has written 189 articles for us.


  1. I have a box filled with National Geographic maps from the last 30 years (we’ve always had a subscription). These ideas are perfect!

  2. I am more than a little bit obsessed with maps… this is my favorite Make A Thing you’ve done!! That lampshade!

  3. As a person who really loves maps, I am torn between conflicting feelings of “Paste maps on all the things!” and “how can you ever cut up maps no no, i will protect you my precious”, so.

    I will probably succumb to the side of laziness, unfortunately.

  4. “What I’m trying to say is, let’s decorate ALL the things with maps.”

    yes excellent i am so into this. also that watercolor map situation is BEAUTIFUL.

  5. Guess what my partner is getting for…

    1. Anniversary
    2. Birthday
    3. Kwanzaa
    4. Hallmark Day/Valentines Day
    5. Chanukah
    6. Earth Day (Duh…)
    7. First Day at New Job
    8. Suffrage Day
    9. I’m-Sorry-I-Forgot-About-Aforementioned-Day!

  6. I made a dust jacket with a small map for my favorite books, now the only problem is I can’t label which one is which! but these projects look good and I have an old book of maps from 1990 I’m going to try with this!

  7. I like to wrap packages that I send out in old maps of places I’ve traveled. I think it makes getting a package THAT much more exciting.

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