Is your family scattered all over the country? Here’s how to make a bargain, boutique-style map that will help you keep connected to your clan.

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At least once a week, I drive past my kids’ elementary school in the morning. I watch the coffee-clutching parents bark commands to the back seat as they hunch behind their steering wheels. Memories of morning drop off come rolling back.

Keep Connected

Back in the day, I thought I had it rough. Feeding both kids and getting them out the door before the tardy bell rang was a herculean task some mornings. If I’d only known what was in store…

Fastforward about 10 years. College move-in day for each of my children felt like elementary school drop off on steroids. One child relocated half way across the country to attend the university of his dreams, the other chose a campus just 10 minutes from our home.

81% of undergraduate college students attend a school within their home state. The average distance between home and school is 130 miles.

National Center for Education Statistics

Whether your family is spread across the country or all in a bundle, chances are good you will have long-distance kids or extended family in the future.

Create this inexpensive, boutique-style map and keep connected no matter where your family is located. Follow the step-by-step directions below and have fun crafting!

Bargain Map

Start by assembling your materials:

  • Classroom Map (mine is from Dollar Tree)
  • Foam Core with a 1-2 inch surplus on edges (I used 2 pieces from Dollar Tree)
  • Strong tea or coffee
  • Vinyl stick letters or printout of your saying
  • White wash or stain
  • Foam paint brush
  • Frame
You'll need a Dollar Tree map and two pieces of foam core to begin this project.
My map cost just $1 at Dollar Tree. This is a very inexpensive project!
Start distressing your vintage map by soaking it in strong tea or coffee.
Start distressing the map by crumpling and soaking in strong tea or coffee. Be careful not to leave it soaking too long!
Keep connected to your spread out family by crafting this vintage map.
Line up the lettering by using a level, since the edges of your map will no longer be perfectly straight.
Keep connected to our family with this fun, distressed map project.
If you want even more distressing, sand and whitewash or stain your map.
Finished product! A vintage map that rivals the expensive models.
Final product! Keep connected every time you look at your masterpiece.

All the Right Reasons

Sometimes I’m tempted to remember those elementary school years with a rosy glow. After all, my kids thought I was really smart back then, and I was still bigger than them.

But the truth is, each stage of parenting has its own wonders and challenges. The trick is appreciating today, not getting stuck in the past.

Nowdays I’m more likely to sip my morning coffee in my bathrobe, instead of hunkered down behind the steering wheel at drop off. Occasionally I’ll notice my vintage map and trace a path between myself and my family members and remind myself that life is still good.

If you’re looking for some fun ways to keep connected across the miles, check out these resources: