I have always liked looking at the geography of far away locations. There’s so much you can learn about a place just by knowing where it is and what features are around it. As a kid I had a globe that would ask geography questions. You could use it to help you decide between answer choices. Globes are difficult to mark your travels on though. And they take up valuable surface area on tables. I wanted something for my wall instead, so I came up with this magnetic travel map.
Why a magnetic travel map?
The travel maps on the market are absurdly expensive, so I did a lot of research on how to make one myself. My problem was that most of ideas I found put holes in the map. Maps are too expensive to be putting holes in!
What if I decided to use the map a different way? What if we moved and all of the pins got messed up and made massive holes in the map? I wanted an alternative to pins so that the map could be used again. After I found magnets small enough to be used as markers and metal sheeting to make them stick, I started building my travel map.
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So what do I need?
Magnets – $10.95
You can’t make a magnetic travel map without magnets. I got the assorted pack for color variety. At 4 mm in diameter, they are small enough to use as pins for travel maps, but also strong enough to attach photos or tickets from your trip if you want to.
Home Depot has a 24″ x 36″ galvanized metal sheet that magnets will stick to. And that’s a universal map and frame size, so you don’t have to cut it! I found it with the HVAC supplies.
Don’t get aluminum sheeting – it won’t hold magnets. We’ll skip the discussion of unpaired electrons and magnetic fields. Anyway, when I went shopping for this, I carried a magnet in my purse to be sure I got metal that would work. Pop this in behind the map when you slide it into the frame, and you’re good to go!
Check the price sticker in the picture – metal is 4x higher than when I made my map!
Map – $9.90
I bought this large world map because it was the same size as the sheet metal. The colors match nicely with a frame I had in mind and the overall colors in my house. I did a world map, but you could pick a state or a country to focus on. I may do a United States map too so I can incorporate more pins and still be able to see the map.
>>> The downside to magnetic pins is that you can only place them so close without them attracting to each other and jumping together.
Frame – $16
I got this frame at Michael’s when it was on a 60% off sale (originally $39.99). Always shop for frames on sale. The color of the “wood” matches the map coloring. I took all of the pictures for this post without the plastic “glass” that covers the map to avoid camera glare, but the magnets are strong enough to work through the plastic covering too.
Our map hangs in the dining room, and was the first thing hung after we painted the walls of our house. I wanted it to be in a main area so it would be seen regularly, plus it’s close to the living room. I have been known to reference it while watching Jeopardy.
Ready to make a magnetic travel map and start filling it up with your adventures?