How to Make a Bangle from a Vintage Mapcomments (16) May 7th, 2009
I absolutely love the look of images from old encyclopedias—with a special weakness in my heart for old maps. I love everything about them—the colors, the font, the bordering—they're just perfect! These bracelets are rad to commemorate a meaningful location, to celebrate a faraway hometown, or for the restless traveler who is always wistfully thinking about elsewhere.
The way I do this may seem a little daunting, but it's actually quite easy once you get into it. You need to cut the paper into strips or else they won't lie flat on the domed surface of the bangle. This leaves a little overlap near the edges, which we like to refer to as "that handmade character."
What you'll need:
- A vintage map
- A blank bangle (I get mine from diybangles.com, all sorts of shapes and sizes!)
- Foam brush
- Clear protective coating
You'll need to cut the map into a strip slightly larger than the dimensions of the bracelet. It's most important that the paper is wider than the bangle, as you will be folding the strips into the center later. I like to leave about 1/3 inch on each side.
Cut the paper into strips—the thinner the strips, the less of a seam you will see on the finished product but the longer it will take you to make.
Glue the strips to the bangle one at a time. I line them up in the center, so the edges overlap.
Pictured below is how the bangle looks after all the strips are glued to the outside but before the edges are glued down.
After the edges are glued down, they will overlap on the inside in such a way that you can only glue them down easily in one direction.
I like gluing something cute and unexpected on the inside, like this town listing from the directory of the map. This is also a good place to put an inscription or message. It's helpful to do this in pieces as well, since it's almost impossible to line up a long, narrow strip of glue-covered paper.
It's up to you as to what kind of protective coating to use—you could cover it in Mod Podge or other decoupage glue, or try clear acrylic (I use Polycrylic but I've seen Diamond Glaze used with awesome results) for a super-high gloss.
I sell these bangles on my etsy site and have had custom requests for everything from hometowns (since I live in LA and nobody is from here) and cross-country road trippin' to honeymoon destinations and wearable bus maps. I say, get down with your bad selves and make some super-personal mappy goodness to celebrate every occasion, but if you don't wanna... hit up my shop and see what I've got. My atlas collection has become obscene!
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