Well, I decided to turn that concept into some free DIY Art!
...after pinning this print from etsy on Pinterest:
It took me longer to find usable maps I could download online than it did to actually make the artwork, but I finally found that the University of Texas at Austin has a really good database of high resolution historical maps. So I downloaded maps that I could zoom in on from the 1960s and 1950s of California and North Carolina.
I opened the maps in Illustrator, as well as Microsoft clip art files in the shape of a heart and a house. I released the clipping masks from the clip art files, deleted the lines I didn't need, then placed the shape over the map and adjusted for size. I then created a clipping mask with the clip art shape and the map, so when I printed and cut the shaped map out, I wouldn't have to worry about trimming off the outline line of the shape. (Although I could have skipped all of the cutting if I'd had larger photo paper to print on. Unfortunately I needed 9" x 9" for this project, and only had 8.5" x 11" paper.)
I didn't have any uncut matting, so I just used the back side of scrapbook paper, and cut it to fit in my frames.
Then just used paper glue to attach the map shape to the scrapbook paper.
And that was it, it was ready to be placed in the frame.
Speaking of frames, this little project was 100% free, because I reused frames I already had. Remember at our old house, when I posted about how to make potpourri bathroom wall decor? Well, since I no longer have a purple bathroom, I took out the matting and potpourri from those frames to use them again.
Here's a look at my second map shape, freshly framed in a reused shadow box frame.
And where did I hang these? In our blue and yellow upstairs bathroom, since the colors of the maps went perfectly with the color scheme I spent $19 on when we first moved in. Of course, since I already had the frames, paper and printer ink, I'm still at my $19 investment to brighten this bathroom.
It's so nice to have something else on this wall, which is the first thing you see when you enter the bathroom. I still don't like the boring mirror, but as a renter, I'm willing to live with it, especially with these little shaped maps now adding some interest to the wall.
Also, I should note that I didn't hang these directly above the toilet, because the toilet is pretty far off center between the wash basin and the bathtub. It's also crooked from the wall, which is super annoying. The owners must have went with a discount contractor when redoing this bathroom! So I measured halfway between the edge of the mirror and the shower tile, and then hung these half way between where the center of the space on the wall is and the center of where the toilet is. My OCD self would have preferred it centered in the wall space, but this balances it with the off center toilet a little better.
I still really like the bright colors in my cheap shower curtain, and frequently leave it stretched out all the way, just for the burst of color, even though it does make the bathroom look smaller when it's like that. I love the colors next to the new map art though!
Here's a few more up close shots of just the map art.
Quick, easy and free projects make me so happy! I've been pausing as I walk down the hall all week, as I catch a glimpse of the new art on the wall through the bathroom door. And as an added bonus, I think seeing the Raleigh/Durham map in the shape of a house is definitely helping me envision the area as my new home! That, combined with the emails I recently signed up for when our real estate company lists a new home that fits our criteria, and it's ridiculously affordable--that definitely makes me happy to be here in our new home town.
Have you done any quick, easy or free projects lately? And are you a fan of maps used as art? I seem to be seeing this trend everywhere.
*My husband gets credit for the blog post title--it's what he said when he saw the map shadow boxes for the first time!