I’m sure many of you saw my original post for this project, but I wanted to re-share it with you all, because it would make a great DIY Christmas gift for your girlfriend/boyfriend or wife/husband. It’s easy, quick, and inexpensive! But it has so much meaning behind it, I know anyone would love to receive it. I know Daniel did!
Here’s what you need:
- 2 pieces of Matboard, both at least 12×12 inches
- Mod Podge (or any glue you prefer)
- Sharp scissors
- A heart stencil
- 12 printed maps
- 12×12 picture frame
- Cardstock, or any thick paper (optional)
Obviously this project is all about the maps, so the first thing I did was figure out how I wanted them to look. I did this DIY right before moving to Portland, so I was working on limited time and a small budget. Because of that, I personally chose to use Google Maps and print them out at home. I also chose to use Google Maps because I wanted to control the zoom of each map and what would be seen within the heart. You could also use an Atlas, Thomas Guide, or look for old maps at a thrift store!
Because we were about to move from Los Angeles to a new home in Portland, I chose to include a map of the neighborhood we dearly loved but had to leave behind. You can use any heart stencil you’d like – as for me, I didn’t have one (remember that whole uncrafty crafter thing?). So I just searched for an image of a heart I liked and printed it out on cardstock, thus making my own stencil!
I stenciled and cut out each heart, and before I knew it, I had perfect little sentimental maps laid out before me. This is the moment when I got really excited because I knew the project was going to turn out just as I had imagined it! At the widest part of the heart it measured 2 1/2″, and from the top point to the bottom point it measured 2 3/4″. This size worked perfectly for me based on 12 hearts and a 12×12 frame. You’ll want to adjust the sizes depending on how many hearts you’re planning on using.
Next, I pasted each heart on a piece of matboard with Mod Podge and then cut out each heart again. The reason I did this is because I wanted the hearts to have a 3D effect. I used a pair of scissors to do this, and even though they were REALLY dull, it was still fairly easy to cut through the matboard. With sharp scissors it should be a breeze, but use whatever cutting tool works best for you!
I tried to get fancy and penciled in a mathematical grid onto the matboard to try and ensure all the hearts would line up perfectly. It…mostly worked. The grid was totally wrong, but it still helped me eyeball them into the right placement!
I pasted each heart onto a 12×12 piece of matboard using Mod Podge (you will most likely have to cut your matboard down to size), and weighed it down with heavy books for about 48 hours to make sure the edges wouldn’t curl up. As for placement, I arranged the maps mainly by how they looked, not by chronological order. I didn’t want two mostly blue hearts next to each other, same with the green, I also wanted to make sure our neighborhood heart was kind of in the middle, and because a lot of the places we visited were in California and on the East Coast, I tried to vary those from each other as well.
After that, all that was left was putting the finished project in a frame! I really liked the idea of a white picture frame, since almost all the frames in our house are black. Apparently white frames aren’t very popular. I searched for a LONG time to find the perfect white 12×12 frame, and still didn’t have that many options. In the end, I decided to go with this frame, and I am more than pleased with it. It’s not the highest quality frame I’ve ever seen, but it doesn’t look cheap and feels very sturdy.
So, here it is, my completed DIY Places We’ve Been Heart Maps!
Here’s a side-by-side comparison of mine and the original inspiration on Etsy. What do you think? I really loved how it turned out. In total it only cost me about $20, easier on my wallet than $500!
Bonus: The Gift Wrap!
I love to make gift wrapping just as meaningful as the gift itself, and I thought I’d share what I did in case anyone is looking for some wrapping inspiration.
All I did was take brown packing paper (which came from an Amazon shipment), and with a black Sharpie wrote the lyrics from our song in cursive (in case you’re wondering, our song is “I Can’t Help Falling in Love with You” by Elvis Presley). Simple as that! This was originally a gift for our anniversary, which is why I chose to use lyrics from our song. That could also work for Christmas since it’s a romantic gift and a romantic holiday, but you could also write Christmas lyrics to make it more festive.
There you have it! I hope this tutorial gave you all inspiration to make your own DIY Christmas gift!