Wedding Gift: US map DIY

Ben's sister surprised everyone by getting married one weekend in September! Her fellow, Sutter, and her have been together forever and they own a koi and water garden shop in Reno, NV and a pottery studio.

They live in the Southwest and we live in the Northwest, so we really only get to see each other on holidays. Well, this year they decided to swing by Seattle so we took it as the perfect opportunity to actually make them a wedding gift that we could give in person. We were inspired by this map on Pinterest.

But we thought it would be fun to actually make it on wood, to emphasize the different textures.

We started out by staining the wood (I would really love to find a nice old piece of scrap wood to do this on but we made do with particle board).

Then I designed the picture in photoshop, printed it, and laid it out on the wood.  Here's the image I made. It is 24x18 and printed perfectly onto 6 sheets of 8.5x11.

The fonts are Mensche and Black Out. I love them and love the font websites they came from (here and here).

I was out of transfer paper, so I transferred it the good ole fashion way with pencil rubbings on the back of each sheet. If you've never done this, it is really simple to do! You simply rub a pencil over the backside of the paper. When you flip it over and trace the lines you want, the pencil markings will show up on whatever surface is underneath.

I traced the picture I made in photoshop (with the graphite on the back side of the paper) so it showed up on the board underneath.

After the pencil marks were transferred onto the wood, I went over them with a creamy watercolor pencil to get better lines. We liked the look of it so much we decided to use it as another texture on the piece.

Next, I painted the states with various shades of blue.

Lastly, we wrote their names on top of the board and the names of the states on the states.  We had fun with writing the state names (like in the pinterest example).

And our results... we're happy with them! We love the varying textures and imperfections!

We have red push pins for the map, and put them in all the places around the US that they have lived. They can add in the places they've travelled to if they want.

Now we want to make one for ourselves!

Thanks for looking!

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