One of the things I love the most about living in Cheyenne is the people that we’ve met and the lifelong friendships that we’ve made. It’s kind of an odd place to find a social niche, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the quality of people that we have managed to find, and our friends are definitely one of the big reasons we don’t plan on going anywhere in the foreseeable future. So obviously we were super bummed to find out that a couple of our awesome friends made the decision to pack up their belongings and their adorable 1 year old and move back to Iowa to be closer to their families.
I wanted to do something for them that would be more personal than a gift card. My first thought was to have a cool map of Wyoming printed, have several of our friends write on it/sign it, and frame it as a way to capture the memory and also double as artwork for their new home. However, I have been known to procrastinate occasionally, so I found myself frantically trying to find an image that might work for this project last Friday, the day before the going-away bash. Of course at this point I didn’t have time to order an actual print to be delivered. If you are looking for cool prints of maps and you are more responsible than I am and leave yourself longer than 24 hours, there are some great options on etsy (if you’re not looking to go broke – the first site I found before searching etsy was City Prints. They apparently think pretty highly of themselves, with prices starting at $50 for pre-designed prints, up to $250+ for a custom print. Psssh… fat chance getting me to pay that, City Prints!). Here are some affordable shops that I like:
As I was browsing etsy, I found some options for inexpensive printables (you pay for a jpg) that you can download and print yourself. I was about to purchase one of these printables, when I realized that I might as well make something similar myself! I walked into Michael’s with etsy inspiration and a vague idea in my mind, and ended up finding the few supplies that I needed and walking out for under $20. The picture frame that I picked out was $19.99 full price, but with a quick phone search on michaels.com, I found a 20% off entire purchase coupon that they scanned at checkout (ahh… technology! What did we ever do without you??) The project turned out to be super easy, took me about 45 minutes to make, and has a hand-made touch to it. Here’s how I did it:
- 12″x12″ Scrapbook sheet for background (or 8″x10″) – $0.63
- 12″x12″ Canvas sheet (found in scrapbook paper stacks) for state shape – $1.59
- Picture frame – $15.99
Already had on hand:
- Pencil to outline state and text
- Marker(s) for text & heart
- X-acto knife
- Cutting board (or cardboard if you’re in a pinch – I could not for the life of me find my cutting board, clearly I was doing this last minute!)
- Scrapbook adhesive squares or glue
- An alcoholic beverage of choice – because I am a firm believer in consuming while crafting. It literally gets the juices flowing.
First, I cut the background sheet to 8″x10″ size to fit the picture frame. Easy.
Next, I needed to trace out the shape of Wyoming. Because I live in one of the more “boring” (nearly rectangular) shaped states, I did this by hand with a couple of rudimentary measurements to get the proportions right. If you live somewhere that actually has an interesting or intricate shape to it, I would recommend first printing out an image of the state to the scale that you plan to use, so that you can cut it out and trace. Which would likely be much easier than the steps I took. But once again, I was in a hurry and didn’t have the opportunity to go somewhere to print out an image. SO, here’s what I did:
Found a representative, to-scale, Wyoming shape to measure off of. I happen to have a cutting board that is in the shape of Wyoming, which was a wedding gift. Perfect! I turned the cutting board upside down to do my measurements, because I planned to draw out the shape on the backside of my canvas, so that my lines would not be visible on the finished product. I decided to make my Wyoming cut-out half the size of the cutting board, so that it would fit on my vertical 8″x10″ background. I measured each edge of the state, and drew it out (half the length) with a straight-edge in pencil on my canvas. I basically started with a rectangle in the correct proportion, and then measured the difference between the top and bottom edges, noting in which direction the edges angle out. The angles and the very slight curve along the bottom of the state are subtle, so I eyeballed this and sketched it out until it looked right.
Once I had the shape laid out, I simply cut it out. I ended up using scissors, which seemed to cut through canvas better than my somewhat dull x-acto blade. If it had been a sheet of scrapbook paper, I would have used my x-acto with a fresh blade, and I would definitely go this route if your state has curves or intricate details.
The next thing I did was draw a heart over Cheyenne – because even though our friends are moving to Iowa, I like to think they will always have a piece of their heart here. Awww… also NEVER FORGET US!!
I drew a straight line very lightly on my background sheet in pencil to align my text, and made small little tick marks to mark out where I thought each letter would go. This took me two tries and a little bit of erasing, but ensured that “Wyoming” would fit and be relatively centered. Referencing a fancy script text that found online, I free-handed the lettering in pencil.
The final steps were to ink in the text, and once it was completely dry, erase any visible pencil marks. I used some scrapbook adhesive mounting squares (love these, so handy for crafts!) to mount the state to my background.
Put it in the frame, and that’s it! Work of art complete! Our friends loved it, and it turned out so nice that I might just have to make something similar for our house.