I actually made this little DIY craft project as a present for Mr. Nomad at Christmas, but in the spirit of Valentine's Day decided to show you how I made it as a possible last minute gift for a loved one. It's an especially good present for any fellow travellers out there who have met their partners abroad. It's super easy, budget friendly and can be made for any kind of special occasion, be it a birthday or even a wedding present.
1. Find suitable maps. This was actually the most difficult part of the project as I found it difficult to find a detailed enough map of the UK here in Australia to display the village I grew up in. In the end after scouring charity and op shops, I found one in a charity bookshop. After looking through all the books and failing to find anything suitable, I asked the owner if he by any chance had a road map of the UK lurking in the back. He rummaged around and produced one he had got in that morning... such perfect timing! I had a quick look at it and although it was battered and had some scribbles on it, I thought it gave it a lot of character and a more 'vintage' look. The guy actually wanted to give it to me for free but I insisted on paying him $5 due to the troubles I had finding one. The other map was easy to find as Mr. Nomad is from Tasmania, so I just cut out a page from an Australian road map.
2. The next step was to find a cheap frame to suit the size of the figures I was going to cut out of the maps. The best place for these are dollar stores, pound shops and reject stores. Another good place to look (which is where I got mine from) is at Daiso where everything is $2.80. I got a bold black frame to really make the picture stand out. I also bought some backing card in a grey-blue colour from Officeworks to go behind the figures. I went with this colour to make the figures stand out, but you could choose any that matches an interior of a room you intend to hang the picture in.
3. Find the correct shape figures you want online, and size them suitably to fit into your frame. This involved me measuring the frame, and making sure I had measurements that would fill out the frame nicely, whilst also leaving room for a border around them. Then print off the outlines of the figure shapes you want and cut them out so you have a template to draw around on your map.
4. Use the templates you have created of the figures and place them on the maps, ensuring the point of interest (in my case it was West Yorkshire for the female figure and Hobart for the male figure) is in the middle of the template so people's eyes are drawn to the correct area.
5. After carefully drawing around your stencils in pencil, cut these out of the maps. After you've done this, make sure there are no pesky pencil markings left on the map and if so use an eraser gently to remove them.
6. Using a ruler, measure the backing card and draw some small dots in pencil where the figures should be placed to ensure that they are equidistant from each other and the frame. The best way to do this is to measure the height and width of the frame and work out where the centre point is, then work out where the centre point is for both the figures.
7. Using a glue stick, gently stick down the figures ensuring they are in the correct position. Once you're happy with the positioning, press down to make sure they stick securely onto the backing card.
8. Put the frame onto the picture and admire your new piece of personalised artwork!
Mr. Nomad actually said this was the best present he received at Christmas, so i'm really happy with how it turned out. I'm really looking forward to hanging it up when we eventually move into our own place.
Let me know of any DIY presents you've created for a loved one. I always like creating personalised gifts and know I struggle to think of things to give others, so let me know!