Blotting a Map

This week I have been up to my eyeballs in maps-all kinds, shapes and sizes-in preparation for next week’s Vintage Thymes Market.

Maps books

My September Theme is Back to School-you won’t believe all the cool retro school stuff we have found! But the maps are Coach’s thing, and these are not the hundred plus he already has at a Ward Maps Shop in Cambridge! This is an expansive collection of are all sorts of maps: countries, cities, roadways, the heavens, the earth, the ocean floors. My favorite is this gorgeous 1950’s Map of Outer Space- the colors are amazing!

Map of Outer Space

And they will all be available next week at the shop. Well, except one. I decided I needed a blotter for the desk I have been working on-also for the shop, so I grabbed an Upper Northeast map to cut up and use for the blotter.

This is the How-I-Did-It:
Supplies: foam board cut to size, fabric or paper (or one of the maps you will be purchasing at my shop next week : ), glue, vinyl sheet (optional), backing paper or mat board, cutter & T-square or scissors, tape
1. Measure out your foam core board to the size you wish to have the finished mat. Cut with scissors or rotary cutter and T-square.

Foam Board Cutting

2. Measure out the map, making sure the design you want to show on the front is positioned correctly. Before you cut it, make sure it is very smooth with no wrinkles. You can iron paper, BTW. Just use a no-steam, cotton setting and keeping moving the iron!

Ironing Map

Cut with at least a one inch border around the edges. You will be turning these under to give the edge a smooth finished edge.

Map Edges on Board

3. Spray adhesive on the foam board, then position the cut map with even edges on all sides.

Elmer's Craft Bond

I love this Elmer’s Craft Bond glue because it is temporary before its permanent, so it gives you a bit of time to reposition if you need to. It is quite messy, however, so make sure you mask the entire area you are spraying or you’ll end up glued to the table!
4. Add a layer of vinyl (this part is optional). I happened to have a roll left over from when we shrink-wrapped the porch last fall. I know, it’s almost that time of year again, yuck. This will give the blotter a wipeable, durable finish.

Vinyl Coated

Measure out the vinyl, leaving at least a couple of inches all the way around. This stuff is thick, so you need some extra to grab on to the back. By the way, vinyl is one of those things that tends to attract dust and dirt, especially in the basement. The cleaning solution? A dryer cling sheet!

Cling Sheets
5. Cut away the corners at an angle and then fold the vinyl in like a Christmas present corner. Tape securely to the back. (don’t worry, you are not going to see it anyway)

Vinyl Corners6. Add the sides.

Side Pieces

These are great for tucking in papers and paint chips and such. Measure out two pieces of foam or cardboard as wide as you like, but exactly the height of the blotter.

Side Pieces Measured

Measure out the map paper so that there is a few inches hanging over the ends.

Cutting Side Pieces

7. Position the side pieces, spray glue them, and then fold the ends over the edges and secure to the back with tape or glue. (The only thing I would have done differently would be to fold three sides over the edges to give it a cleaner look. The more you know…

Side Pieces Taped

8. Measure out a piece of backing to finish the reverse side.

Backing Paper

You can use paper, fabric, mat board, anything you would like, but remember, you are not going to see it anyway. If the surface is delicate or scratchable, I would definitely go with felt or fabric for softer protection. Glue the backing to the foam board, covering up all the messy folds and tape.

Glue on BackingAnd …

Blotter Completed

9. Voila! You have a customized, durable blotter for your desk! Have fun customizing it to your room- the skies (or the heavens) are the limit! Have a terrific Thursday, everyone! Susan


  1. Very nice blotter Susan. It looks so perfect. I might just make my husband one for his desk for Christmas. In fact, it would also be perfect for my daughter-in-law who is a professor. It could also be customized for people with papers other than maps, for any profession or hobby.. You have got me going now – just need more time in my life to get it done, like everyone else. Thanks again for another great idea!


  2. I LOVE this idea. Thanks for sharing!


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