Inspiration > Crafts, Kids

Create a Fun Schoolhouse Look With a Pull-Down Map

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Featured Image_Final map shot

To say I have a small obsession with maps and globes is kind of an understatement. After collecting vintage globes for years, I recently turned my attention to the classic pull-down map for my son’s room. Unfortunately for me, the classic pull-down and retractable map often found in antique stores can cost hundreds of dollars for one in working condition. So after suffering through enough sticker shock, I have decided to put my search for a pull-down map on hold and make my own! No, it’s not vintage, but it’s cool and will do the job until I can afford to buy what I want!

Here is what you’re going to need to pull this off:

  • 1 Map
  • Retractable vinyl shade
  • Spray adhesive
  • Binder clips
  • ½” wooden dowel or flat piece of molding
  • Glue gun

Photo 1 - Materials Shot

Step One:  Cutting Down the Shade

In order for this project to look more authentic, you’ll want your shade and map dimensions to match up. To do this, purchase your map first and take the dimensions to the home improvement store with you. Once at the home improvement store, have a professional cut down your shade to match your map dimensions. That way you won’t have too much excess on either side of your mounted map.

If you’d prefer to cut the shade down on your own, measure out the proper width of your shade and mark it with a pencil. Make sure to remove the hardware that comes with the shade. Once you’ve done that, you will have a cardboard roll surrounded by vinyl left over. Run tape around your shade to keep it tightly together, then begin cutting through your shade at the length that you want. Razors, hand saws, or even chop saws with fine blades will all work and the tape will help keep the shade from fraying at the edges.

Photo 2 - Removing the Shade Hardware

Photo 3 - Cutting down the shade

Step Two:  Mounting the Map

Now that you have your shade cut down, it’s time to mount your map. To do this, pull your shade down to expose enough plastic to cover the length of your map.

Photo 4 - Placing your map on the shade

With your shade unrolled, clip your map into place, making sure to line everything up carefully. I also like to add a layer of paper around the map to cover any exposed vinyl and to protect my work area. This will keep excess adhesive from building up on non-map areas of your shade and prevent your map from sticking to itself later on.

Photo 5 - Adding clips and paper

Keeping the clips attached, pull back your map and begin to spray the surface of your vinyl shade with spray adhesive. Spray a thin coat of adhesive on the back of your map as well.

Photo 6 - Spraying down the shade

Once the adhesive has had a few minutes to set up, begin to smooth your map down, starting closest to the clips and slowly working your way over.

Photo 7 - Smoothing out the map

With the rest of your map glued in place, take the clips off and apply the remaining glue. Smooth the map into place once the glue has set up.

Step Three:  Attaching the Dowel

The flat molding or dowel is important for a few reasons. Not only does it help to make the project look more like an authentic classroom map, but the wood will stabilize the shade and keep it from fully retracting into itself.

Using the remaining plastic edge at the bottom of your shade, run a bead of glue from a hot glue gun and attach your molding or dowel. You can also use a staple gun if you’d prefer.

Cut off any excess plastic at the bottom using a razor or pair of scissors.

Photo 8 - Running the bead of glue

Photo 9 - Attaching the dowel and trimming the edge

Once your project is completely dry, it’s time to hang it in place. You can even use the hardware available for roller shades to make it easy on yourself. Attach it to a wall as a piece of functional artwork or in a window as a cool shade!

Final map shot

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Summer Baltzer
More about Summer Baltzer

Known for her role on HGTV’s “Design on a Dime” and “Unhinged” for TLC, Summer Baltzer has established herself as a woman not afraid to pick up a tool, paintbrush or sewing needle to create innovative and one-of-a-kind projects, inspiring women and men everywhere to grab hold of the reins and take chances with their own personal style. And now, as one of television's few female general contractors, she is taking empowerment to a whole new level! Summer’s philosophy is that all design rules are meant to be broken. Good design is about finding your own personal style and making it work to your advantage. Her main goal has always been to empower people everywhere to create designer- inspired looks in their own homes. On television, Summer specializes in creating distinctive, high-end interiors on strict budgets. She also loves helping people work with what they have, then teaches them how to add, revamp and revitalize to create stylish, low-cost and unique interiors that reflect the personality of the client. Summer’s clients not only have the benefit of her overall vision of a project, but they also get the hands-on skills and expertise to “pitch in” and get the job done. This personalized touch puts the final stamp on a project that makes a house a home.

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