A while back we promised another post about wall art, so here it is. Being sentimental- and on a budget- we’ve had to get creative in the art department. So until we can afford that original Warhol piece we have our eye on (yeah right), we’ll stick to providing interesting art alternatives.
For example, take this vintage map project that Sherry surprised me with this Christmas. She found this amazing map (from 1907!) on eBay for around ten dollars, picked up a white frame at Ikea, and then removed the glass and added some cork backing and pinned the map in place. Then she stuck more pins (actually called “map pins” from Office Depot) into all the places we’ve been together. It’s fun interactive art. Plus it encourages us to get out there and see the country so we can stick more pins into the map asap.
Here’s another easy project guaranteed to peak people’s interest (everyone who comes over gravitates towards this tiny frame). As another surprise, this time for our anniversary, Sherry hunted down copies of some keys (all it took was a few calls to old New York City roommates) and framed them with little handwritten labels underneath each one.
The key on the top left says “John’s apartment, Upper West Side NYC, 2005”, the key on the top right says “Sherry’s apartment, The Village NYC, 2005”, the key on the bottom left says “Our first apartment, Richmond Virginia, 2006” and the key on the bottom right says “Our first house, Richmond Virginia, 2006.” Also note the black sea fan leaning next to the little framed keys. Sherry ordered that from an online sea-life website and just threw it in a frame. Ain’t she clever?
This is another “custom” framed piece by my crafty wife- this time it’s a shadow box full of objects from our backyard wedding (click here for some wedding photos). It was a great way to remember the day and add another interesting and personalized art piece to our home. A fabric scrap from one of our table runners, a printed dessert napkin, a goofy Save The Date photo strip (we rented a photo-booth for the wedding), our invitation, our stamped place cards held down by river rocks, our favor bag (which contained a gladiolis bulb and had another photo strip clipped to the front), and even our thank you postcard (featuring a wedding photo) made it into the frame. I think she captured the casual, happy, summer day just perfectly in our little wedding time capsule.
We hope these projects reinforce that there’s really no end to the things that you can frame. Please feel free to share your brilliant wall art ideas with us.
All of these are great but the key thing is absolutely fabulous! I couldn’t love that more. Genius!
Hooked on Houses says
Hi, John and Sherry! Just wanted to let you know that I changed the links on my site (Hooked on Houses) so that people will be directed to your new one. Hope you continue to get some new fans–you deserve them! -Julia :-)
Lisa Rae says
All great ideas.
Thanks for the inspiration.
We are also on a budget and in need of some nifty artwork.
Lovely! I really like the map too since it does make you want to fill it with more pins.
I love the new site, and the map idea is great.I’m thinking of doing something similar with a world map…maybe for the huge empty space above my couch that has been aching for something to be there.
keep up the fabulousness,
Glad the second installment of wall art was a hit. We’re definitely always thinking about new things to frame on the cheap… so hopefully we’ll have more ideas for you lovely people soon.
Love them! What great ideas… much more personal and cool than a print. :)
whatever DeeDee Wants says
Love them all! I especially like the keys, I just might have to make my own key frame.
great ideas! i, too, love the framed keys- so clever. and renting a photobooth for your wedding is also quite genius- wish i’d thought of it!
All great ideas! The keys, the sea fan, the map and the shadow box…all lovely yet easily doable! Thanks for sharing.
re: the wedding photo gallery… how did the photobooth come into being? i.e. where do you rent a think like that, and how did it get programmed to have your names on the top of each strip? did you pay by the number of photos taken or was it unlimited? etc…
We rented the photo booth through a company here in Richmond called Freeze Frame. We hunted for a photo booth rental in our area for months and had just about given up when we stumbled upon them. Everyone outside of our area was charging an arm and leg to transport it here, but since they were local it was a much better deal.
We paid a flat rate for unlimited photos, which was great, and they programmed that signature in the top frame. If you’re interested, I’d suggest looking for one in your area (which may be harder than it seems but oh so worth it). Some booths even offer to print two copies of each strip (so you can keep one and your guests can take the other)- they’re pretty high tech these days. We would’ve loved that feature, but fortunately our guests were very generous in leaving a bunch behind for us.
Thanks for your comment. It made my day! I’m a huge fan of your blog. I ready every day- sometimes more than once a day. I’ve learned so much and gotten some great inspiration, thanks.
I originally got the idea from you! I linked this post of yours here- http://leedawn82.blogspot.com/2008/11/weekend-round-up.html
when I got my map (at Eastern Market in DC).
Good luck gathering up pins!
Where did you find the cork backing for the map art? I am stealing your idea and am having a hard time finding cork backing to fit.
Target sells 4 squares of cork at a time (super cheap, like $6) in their aisle with the dry erase boards. Hope it helps!
Just discivered your blog the other day, and I LOVE it! We also live in a 50+ year old ranch. I started a pin collection at 10 years old when our family traveled out west on vacation. I’ve continued to collect pins as I travel to this day, and several years ago I started a similar interactive piece of art. I bought a large bulletin board with a black frame and posted a National Geographic map (complete with state parks identified, etc.). I can stick my pins right on there, and to the places I go that I can’t find a pin, I use map pins like you have. [I’ve been known to stick those smashed pennies up there too, as well as a shark tooth I found in Jacksonville!] Right now the middle of the US is pretty blank for me too! Recently my husband and I hung the map in our sunroom, flanked by 5×5 photos of several of the places we’ve traveled!
I love the map idea! I’ve been to the 48 continental states with my own family, but my fiance has only been to a handful – the idea of marking with a pin of everywhere we’ve been together sounds like a good incentive to take more trips! I’m tempted to get a map that has major interstates on it too, and then highlight the route we took when we drove across the country together! I can’t wait to start this project!
Hi guys! I too would like to make the map, but am wondering where you picked up cork backing? Thanks.
You can grab four cork squares for around $6 at Target in the aisle with the whiteboards. Hope it helps!
Quick question about the sea fan – did you need to use an extra-deep frame to accommodate? I ordered a fan online (thinking I’d make some quick $3 art), but mine is too bulky to fit in a standard frame :( Or, did you have to flatten yours out in any way before framing?
Thanks! And Happy Blog-o-versary!
Good question! Ours was flat enough to shove in a normal frame but we can see how you may need a shadow box for a thicker sea fan (which would also look amazing actually). So sorry your existing frame isn’t working but we can’t think of a way to flatten it other than cutting off the bottom if that’s the only thick part. Hope it helps!
Just found your site and I am beyond obsessed…your style fits mine exactly!! I’m loving the sea fan idea and just wondering where you found yours online??
Thanks so much for the help…I’m sure this will be the first of many many questions!!
We don’t remember the exact site where we found our sea fan, but here’s a link to one that came up when we googled around (we do remember paying close to this price so it could very well be the same place):
Hope it helps!
For the key frame. How did you affix the keys to the background?
I just used a dot of glue (like Liquid Nails) to hold each key in place. Years later they’re still holding strong. Hope it helps!
I don’t recall how I stumbled across your blog, but I’ve spend countless hours here now! I love it!! I also stumbled across a site with artwork and photography for download or purchase. It’s Deviant Art (http://www.deviantart.com/). Some of the artwork is only for purchase but some you can download. And I’ve found several awesome photos that are printable at 11×13 and larger sizes. That bare wall in my daughter’s bathroom has some great color. Eventually, I’ll send pics!
Good luck with your upcoming arrival. Cherish each little moment (even the less than pleasant ones!). They grow so fast! Best wishes!
Awesome tip! Thanks so much for sharing.
I love this idea! Check out my version at http://ourhumbleabowed.wordpress.com/2010/05/27/young-house-love-inspiration/
These would make great personal gifts :) thanks for the ideas!
We went to New York for our honeymoon in December and I saved our play bill and tickets to different things and I’ve been wanting to display them and I think shadow box is the answer. Where did you find your shadow box? I always thought they were really expensive, but I’d love to find one that won’t break the bank.
I just came upon your website too and I absolutely love it! You have inspired me to start the decorating and other creative projects around my house. Just wanted to share with other readers that I dropped into Aaron Brothers Art Mart today and they are having a 1 cent sale, which applies to the shadow boxes as well as the frames! (Gotta love a sale!)
I wanted to ask how large the map and frame were? I love the idea but the maps I’ve found have been extremely large. I think the smallest I found was 22×34. Is that how large your map is?
Oh PS- Where did yall put the map frame? I was thinking about putting it in our guest bedroom. That away our guests could enjoy it. We don’t have an office or I’d put it in there. What do you think?
Thank you :)
The map is about 18″ x 12″ (we got it on eBay and this it’s that size because it came from an Atlas of some sort). As for where we hung it, it’s in the den (you can see it in our House Tour pictures). But hanging it in a guest room would be awesome! Hope it helps!
What size is the frame? 16×20?
Yup, that sounds right!
thank you so much for the inspiration! I am going to do a map of VA vineyards that we have visited!! Great way to give our dining room a personal touch!
that key idea is fabulous! i haven’t seen that anywhere else and it such a cute and personal idea! :)
Stumbled upon your blog via another favorite of mine – Daily Garnish! So since last week I made it all the way through 2007 and am slowly but surely making my way up to your current posts (excellent form of procrastination from exam studying might I add). Anyways, wanted to let you know I am loving your blog and thanks to you now eagerly anticipating any home improvements I can get my hands on. And P.S – Sherry that framed key idea is totally sentimental and amazing! Brought a wee tear to my eye…hah!
Aw thanks so much! Glad you found us.
I love this idea. I’m curious what you mark, do you mark cities or states? It looks as if there’s multiple pins in one state, so would that mean cities? I have purchased a vintage map and it doesn’t have all the cities in each state!
We mark cities, but just key ones (so if we do a road trip along the west coast, we don’t mark every single city we drive though, maybe just a few along the trail. If there’s not a marked city we want, we just push a pin closest to where it would be. Hope it helps!
I just completed a map project similar to yours and gave you the credit for the inspiration. Nothing better than cheap art! :) http://figuringoutlifeblog.blogspot.com/2012/02/mapping-future.html
So cool! I love it. And thanks for the shout out!
I think it’s about time you update this with you recent travels!!! :o)
Updated! John just added a pin for Portland a few weeks ago!
I found a pin of the framed keys on pinterest, and i loved it so much I made one myself! I used keys from the first apartment my husband and I had together, the second apartment, and the original key from our first house that we bought this year (we’ve since changed the locks)… I LOVE IT! thanks so much for the idea!
Aw, you’re welcome Kara! You’re so sweet!
Oh I love these ideas! – the map and keys especially! My partner and I were just discussing buying a map of the world the other day to have on our wall. :)
Do you have a recommendation for finding/refinishing frames? I’m a photographer and have entirely too much open wall space, but I can never find frames I’m happy with. The ones I do find that I like, I don’t want to spend the money on!
We love Ikea for inexpensive frames (and they come with great mats too!). Also you might want to try Target when they have frame sales (and even yard sales or thrift stores can turn stuff up). Hope it helps!
Love your blog!! For the map… Did you have to cut the cork to fit frame? It doesn’t look like yours is in pieces.
I just trimmed it to fit with an exacto knife.
Manda Wolf says
I really like this. I think the Wolves need one for their house, only instead of places we have been together maybe wineries we have visited? We’d get to put more pins in that way!
Wow these are great wall art. I absolutely the map and the pins. Great.
Great wall art. I absolutely the map and the pins. Great.
Hi there! Is the map fabric? or paper? Also, about what size is it? I’d love to do this for my boyfriend for the holidays this year. Any tips to finding something similar would be appreciated!
The map is just a paper map I got from ebay (I think it was torn out of an atlas). Then I just put cork in a frame without the glass and mounted the map to the cork (with four pins in the corners). Now everywhere we go, we mark with a map pin. It’s really simple!