Being so in love with travel makes me a little bit of a map freak. I’m always trying to find the coolest map, and I just completed my long-awaited project of creating a large pinboard map.
Specifically I used Rand-McNally’s classic edition. It’s only $7.95 without shipping, and 50×32 inches! The colors are perfect and the map looks great anywhere. The only problem was finding a frame of that size, so I had to order a personally made frame from wholesaleposterframes.com, which was also a great price at $50 (since I didn’t order the glass or the backing, which were unnecessary for this project). Instead of buying cork or bulletin board, I recommend you go to Home Depot or Menards and buy a large sheet of 1/2 inch thick styrofoam or something similar. It’s cheap, can adhere to your map with a little glue on the edges, and you can easily cut it to the size you need. I bought a backboard so the pins wouldn’t go all the way through, but it ended up not being able to fit inside the frame with the styrofoam too, but I didn’t need a backboard after all.
Some other maps that I’ve ran into include postcard maps and hand-drawn maps. The postcard maps are from a really cool company called GeoRelief which I believe is based in Germany. These postcards are actually 3D in that they show the raised mountain ranges from the entirety of Europe to even specific countries and cities. I found my Europe card in a small shop in Zurich at around 8 francs – wish I had found the website first as it’s so much cheaper online.
The hand-drawn maps are from Unique Media. Well, they’re prints of hand-drawn maps, but they are so cool and truly unique. I found these in Toronto and was instantly in love, so naturally I had to buy the world-map. These would make a great gift and look fantastic framed. I love mine so much I might buy a USA one to go with it. FYI, they ONLY come in a laminated option or a folded-up, non-laminated option. The laminated one is about $10 more, but definitely worth it as you’ll have to look at ugly creases otherwise. And at 27×18 inches, these maps also probably require a specially-made frame.
I’ve also noticed more abstract map art – for example, with watercolor maps. You can buy this beautiful print at Etsy for almost $100 (not worth it unless it’s an original, but what do you expect from Etsy) or just simply use it as your desktop background as I do.