Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pinterest Challenge: Scrap Map of the USA


Like the rest of the DIY-lovers around the world, I have become totally hooked on Pinterest (click on the Pinterest category on the right side-bar to see some of my projects). I've followed the Petersik/Bower Pinterest Challenge for a while now, but never got my act together enough to actually participate. Not this time! I was on it!

Months ago I saw this amazing, yet incredibly intimidating scrap map from See Kate Sew. I immediately loved it, but wasn't sure if I could actually do it. After sitting on my thumbs for ages, I finally decided to just go for it.

Kate's map [source]

The main intimidation factors were a) that I needed to cut out 50 (!) individual states; and b) that I'd have to top-stitch each one of those states. There's no getting around the first part, but I made some adjustments so that this became a no-sew project. That cut out a TON of time, and I think the result is just as good.

My scrap map!

To make one of your own, you'll need around 50 scraps of fabric. I was shocked to see how many I had in my scrap pile! I used a few of mine twice and borrowed the rest from friends. This should be a cheap project, so don't go out and buy 50 different fabrics. Don't be afraid to use unusual fabrics; I used cotton, knit, upholstery, velvet and denim to name a few. 


I decided not to get too crazy about this project. Instead of matching each fabric to a particular state, I just grabbed as I went. I tried to make sure the states didn't clash, but I didn't do much more than that.

Per Kate's instructions, I pulled a map of the US from this website, copied it into Microsoft Paint and printed it in poster size. Then I just taped the pieces together to re-form the map.


[source]

Warning: the map is good, but it is a bit pixelated on the East Coast. Those states are so small anyway that it gets hard to tell where the state lines are. The best thing to do is have another map handy to compare state shapes.

Now the fun part starts...making the states! I started with California and worked my way east. The western states are so much bigger and nicer than the east. You'll start to wish the US stopped at the Mississippi halfway through the project, but keep going. It's worth it!

To make a state, first cut out the paper state from the large map. Trace that shape onto a piece of fabric and cut it out. Here's where I differed from Kate's tutorial. I knew that I didn't want to sew each state, so I used the red Heat n Bond. This stuff is amazing! It basically creates fabric stickers. I traced my state onto the Heat n Bond and followed the directions. For more difficult fabrics (like knit or velvet), I ironed the Heat n Bond first then traced the state on backwards. I made all the states first before moving on to the next phase of the project.

[source]

The original map did not include the Great Lakes, but I had a fun blue velvet fabric that I wanted to use. I'm glad I did.

Tracing the Great lakes onto Heat n Bond

Tracing and cutting the states took a lot of time. However, once I did a few, I got into a rhythm. I found it easiest to do it assembly-line style: cut five states from the paper map; trace each of those states onto fabric; cut each fabric state; then attach the Heat n Bond. Make sure you label each paper state. It helps when you're looking at a few states and can't remember which is which (I'm looking at you Dakotas!)

I lined the states up as I went along to make sure they were fitting well together. 



Once I had all my states cut out and Heat n Bonded, I got out a large piece of muslin. Working with only a couple states at a time, I peeled the back of the sticker and attached it to the fabric. 




It wasn't sticky at all until I ironed it, so it allowed me the freedom to move the pieces around for the best fit. The beauty of this method, aside from not having to sew, is that you can fudge the fit a little by overlapping the fabrics if needed. I had to add a tiny sliver to Maryland to fill a gap, but you can't really tell. Can you?


I still need to sort out a frame/canvas for it. I had one in mind, but this map is just a smidge too big. So if you've got any ideas, I'm all ears.

I am so happy I finally got off my tush and finished this project. Can't you just picture it in the future nursery? Now my kid can be just as nerdy as her parents :)

Be sure to check out the other Pinterest Challenge projects:

12 comments:

  1. Looks awesome - congrats! (By the way, the blog post title says scap instead of scrap :)

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  2. Thanks Olivia! Ugh..how embarrassing. You check, and re-check, but there's always a few typos. Did it have to be in the title though?

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  3. I love how this turned out! Well done!

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    1. Thanks Rach! And thanks for all the moral support along the way :)

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    1. Thanks so much! Welcome to my site!

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  5. Found you from the YHL link up! Great project! Super smart to use the heat and bond!

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    1. Yay! Glad you found me. Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. Found you on YHL! I have your pinspiration pinned as well but haven't been brave enough to try it out for the same reasons that you listed. I love that you used heat n bond and it worked! Yay for not having to stitch all of those states - I am much more likely to try this project myself =) Great job!

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    1. Glad you found me! Welcome! Post a link when you finish your project. Can't wait to see it!

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  7. that looks FANTASTIC!!! i love quirky maps and this one definitely fits the bill! i don't have much fabric on hand, as i don't really sew, but i could totally do that with fun scrapbook paper! it will be fun for an upcoming pinterest challenge! =)

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    1. Thanks so much Andrea! Using scrapbook paper would look awesome. I think you could just Mod Podge it and it would hold up nicely. Post a link when you're done!

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