Geography Has Never Been This Fun!

My boyfriends apartment has a large space above a fire place that has nothing on it.  So I decided he needed a large picture to put there.

Using a crayon inspiration I saw on pinterest here:

I decided to put my own spin to it.

Materials Needed

Canvas-  I bought a 24×36 inch canvas at hobby lobby for $7

Drawer Lining paper-  I used contact paper, $3 at Wegman’s

Crayons-  It was ingrained into me at a young age that Crayola are the best.  64 pack of Crayola’s at Walmart for $4

Computer and Printer



exacto knife


Hair drier

Pliers/screwdriver/burnt fingers- for holding stubby crayons

Creating the Cartography:
1. First I Googled world maps.  I knew my canvas had a 4:3 ratio so I looked for similar dimensions in the images.  Many maps left out Antarctica and Greenland, which I thought wasn’t too nice, so I looked for a complete map.

2.  When I found one I liked I saved it and opened it in Photoshop.

3.  I adjusted the size of the map. My map ended up being 24×35.855 inches, which is pretty darn close.

4.  Then I formatted my printing preferences, landscape, gray scale, draft.

5.  I printed out small pieces of the map.  To do this in Photoshop go to : File>print with preview  When the box comes up, uncheck the option “center image” and then you can freely move the image to what you want to print out.

6.  After I printed out the world, I taped it all together.

7.  Next, I used my favorite transfer technique!  I took a soft 4B pencil and scribbled about where the lines were on the back of the picture.  After I thoroughly scribbled to my hearts desire, I flipped the map over, taped the corners to the contact paper, and traced the lines.  (I had to tape two pieces of contact paper together to make it the right size)  Take off the top layer and Ta Da!

8.  Now comes the tedious part!  Cut out all the countries and lakes!  Originally I was going to make an ocean and the countries, so I cut everything out perfectly.  In retrospect I would have cut into the countries since I didn’t use them.  Also, I combined and ignored entirely some islands in Canada.  There were way too many that were too small.  Sorry aboot that! 🙂

9. After everything was cut out, I peeled off the paper and left the sticky side up, then placed my canvas face down on the sticky side.  I did this on the floor because it was the only place large enough to allow all the movement I needed.

10.  Flip your canvas over and make adjustments.  Smooth out bubbles and straighten the countries.  I added the Great Lakes, you can eyeball it or lay down your cut out country and line it up that way.

11.  Now the fun part!  Go little bits at a time.  Choose the color crayons you want to use.  I recommend using colors than will blend well.  Like blues and purples.

12.  the easiest way to de-wrap a crayon is take your exacto knife, cut a line down the crayon (don’t stab yourself) and peel off the wrapper.

13.  To Start, melt your crayon away from your picture.  The drawer liner sticks but not if you constantly are blowing it up with air.  press down the area you are working on firmly and keep the blow drier away from that area.

14.  When your crayon starts to melt, rub the melted area along the edge of the contact paper.  Slide it from the contact paper down to the canvas.  This will keep the paper down on your canvas.  Repeat this several times.  When ready switch up the colors and repeat.

15.  When your area is sealed with the crayon all the way around, Take your crayon that corresponds with the color you are starting with and blow dry the crayon onto the canvas.  If your paper peels up a little bit, run your crayon down it again to reseal it.  Melt your crayon in as much space as you like.  When ready, switch colors and repeat.

16.  When you are done, you will have some pretty defined areas of color.  Now take your blow drier and point it directly at the crayon on the canvas.  It will begin to melt and move.  You can bring your crayons to add more color or to make it mix more towards one hue or the other.  It takes on a water color effect.  Point your blow drier in all directions to make it spread out in different patterns.

17.  Repeat this for the whole canvas.  Remember, little bits at a time, and seal your edges before you start the heavy duty melting.

18.  Let dry, it only take like 5 minutes (not even that long but just to be safe)

19.  Peel off the paper, slowly.

20.  the color will bleed a little bit but it looks pretty neat.

21.  I found a few places I wanted more white to show, so I used my exacto knife and scratched away the crayon.

22.  WahBam!  You’re all done!  Looks pretty awesome huh?  I was shocked how this came out actually.

Things to Think about:

-Mix your colors well.  if you do green and red and blue all together you’ll mix poop brown.

-Your fingers will get burnt…  Sorry

-Do this is a place that is easy to clean because the blow drier will more than likely send a melted crayon rolling across the floor and you’;ll have to clean up wax.

-Before you pull off the contact paper, make sure you passed your blow drier over every country.  you’ll be surprised the places you miss!

Enjoy!  This is a pretty neat piece of art and I’m really happy with how it turned out.


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