Monday, 21 January 2013

Hanging a Map or Poster Inexpensively

Two things that I've always loved are traveling and geography. Over the last 10 years I've traveled to a number of places I've dreamed of traveling to since I was a child, like Europe. I love geography because you can learn so much about other countries and cultures. And I love maps for decorative purposes too.  Because of these reasons I wanted to decorate with a map, but not a overly colourful or childlike map, but one that could fit in with our existing decor.

I was lucky enough to track down a map style that I thought would look good on the wall of our living room.  The map had neutral colours and was designed by National Geographic and called "Executive style".  The problem was it was a huge map, over 70 inches by almost 50 inches!  How was I going to hang it and not "break the bank"?

I thought I'd at least get a price quote from a professional framer, so I waited for a sale that was 65% off and thought this was the best sale I was ever going to get, so I went in for an estimate.  Would you like to hazard a guess on the estimated price of a basic frame and mat for this map?  The price quote was $725!  I found a perfect map for under $50, but would have to spend $750 to display it?  I had to find another way.

I had an idea based on carpets and tapestries that are hung in museums.  I thought, why not come up with a way to hang this map similar to the way tapestries are hung.  After going for a walk through a home improvement store I came up with hanging the map on a drapery rod, with another smaller rod on the bottom so the map would stay unrolled.

The steps I followed to display the map are:

1. Hang up the drapery rod, like you would if you were hanging drapes.  I decided to hang the map in my dining room, because it went with the beige paint colour, the wall was large enough to display it and we could look at it while eating dinner!

Draper rod hung on the wall

2. Position the map on the ground facing down and secure the edges of it with something heavy at each end.

Map on the floor, stretched out and secured

3. Position the smaller rod at the bottom of the map, leaving enough space to roll it around the rod and tape it in place.  The purpose of the rod at the bottom of the map is to keep the map rolled and weighed down and not just hanging loosely.  Make sure that the map is secured around the rod straight so that it hangs neatly.

Wrapping the map around the smaller bottom rod

Taping the rod in place

4. Repeat this process in Step #3 at the top of the map.  Leave a little bit more room at the top of the map to wrap around the rod at the top because it is the drapery rod and is more wide.

Taping the top drapery rod in place

5. Hang the map by the top rod by carefully raising it up onto the rod hangers that were secured to the wall in Step #1.  Stand back and make sure that it is hung straight and centred along the rod, and also centred on your wall.  Now admire it!

The final map, hung on the wall

6. If you are just hanging a map or poster, than your work is done!  At this point I adhered small coloured stickers on the cities I've visited, so did my husband and we also put stickers on cities we visited together and the 2 cities we've visited so far with our son.  We used different coloured stickers to highlight each group of cities based on who visited them.

The map with stickers on visited cities

I think hanging a map or poster this way is more unique and interesting than always framing everything.  Similar to hanging art by just mounting the canvas, this let's the map or poster be the focal point and speak for itself.  An attractive frame isn't the main attraction, it's the map instead!  Also, this method of hanging a map or poster is far less costly than framing it professionally or framing it yourself.  Looking up at the map also never fails to cheer me up because it reminds me of all the places I've traveled and the great memories had on the trips.  It especially helps now because we're not traveling as much recently because my son's so young.  I hope you enjoy this project!

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