Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Magnetic United States Map Puzzle {tutorial}

So I know everyone else in blogland is focusing on Halloween but unfortunately my costumes are not quite done. I’ll probably do a “last minute Halloween costumes” tutorial since our costumes are actually quite simple. I just haven’t taken the time to finish.

So today’s tutorial is something for my playroom (did you miss my ABC Wall Hanging over at Not JUST a Housewife? Don’t worry, it’ll be here next Tuesday!). I really want our playroom to be a place of fun and learning so I made this map puzzle of the United States. I think it turned out great! Oh and I should mention that my husband the history teacher loved it so much he wants one for his classroom!

Supplies Needed:

  • Sheet Magnet (I get mine at Walmart)
  • Map paper (JoAnn’s…or you could get an actual old map)
  • Background paper
  • Sheet metal (we had some laying around from the previous owners, but you could just use an old cookie sheet)
  • Frame
  • Spray paint
  • Map template (I had one from something else, but you could probably just print one)
  • Stamp ink or distressing ink
  • Mod podge

Magnetic United States Map puzzle

Step 1: Tape your map template (I think I got that Name That State map from Walmart) up on a bright window. Tape the map paper over it. I had to use 2 sheets to fit all the states. Carefully trace all the states using a pencil.

magnetic united states map puzzle

Step 2: Since I had used a pencil the lines were pretty light and I only wanted to have to do this once. I traced all the lines with a fine tip permanent marker to make them stand out more.

magnetic united states map puzzle

Step 3: Place the sheet magnets on the back of the paper. Make sure all the edges line up perfectly so there are no gaps. I think I used 5 sheets. Cut out all the states. This is the most tedious part. Be careful. I’m a perfectionist cutter anyway but if you’re not this is the time to be one. After you cut the states out distress the edges. I just used a brown stamp pad and brushed it along the edges. This made each of the states stand out from each other when they were put back together.

magnetic united states map puzzle

Step 4: Brush a light layer of mod podge over all the states to seal them. Let dry.

magnetic united states map puzzle

Step 5: While the states are drying, work on the frame. I had a big frame that the map would fit in so I took that out and spray painted it purple to match my playroom.

magnetic united states map puzzle

Step 6: Cut your sheet metal to fit in the frame. BE CAREFUL!!! My husband did this and wore gloves because the metal is very sharp. I did get a tiny cut and man that thing hurt. My metal wasn’t wide enough so I taped two pieces together to make it big enough.

magnetic united states map puzzle

Step 7: Decoupage your background paper onto the metal. Once again, BE CAREFUL! This was the part I got my cut. I used two different papers. Once looked more like a mat and then I found paper that looked like an old map. Let dry.

magnetic united states map puzzle

Step 8: This next step is a two man job. Glue the metal into the frame. I used hot glue but you could use something stronger like E6000. Let dry.

magnetic united states puzzle map

Step 9: Assemble the puzzle on the metal. This will test your knowledge of the United States! Hang on the wall. I would recommend some putty in the corners so it stays still while you do the puzzle. When I make one for my husband’s classroom I’ll just be using a cookie sheet because he won’t be hanging it up.

magnetic united states map puzzle 1magnetic united states map puzzle 2


I’ll be linking this project up at the following parties:

Tip Junkie handmade projects
Thirty Hand Made DaysTickled Pink at 504 Main Making Monday Marvelous Linky Party NightOwlCrafting Suzy's Artsy Craftsy Sitcom ”Join
Photobucket Todays Creative Blog

The Girl Creative


  1. WOW! I am totally going to make something like this for my nephew for Christmas! Awesome JOB! I am impressed with your "distressing" skills- for some reason- that is one thing I have serious issues with!

    Thanks again!
    New Follower,

  2. I really like this idea for a map-jigsaw!

    Thanks for linking to the Creating Success Worldwide blog hop!! Hope you'll come back again next week!
    Jill @ Creating my way to Success

  3. What a fun project! I bet kids don't even think of the "education" they're getting.:) I love it!

  4. I found your blog from The Idea Room

    I love this magnetic map puzzle so much!! I have a map fettish and this is just perfect. Definitely a project for me! Thanks!

  5. such a fun
    and pretty idea!

    and you could do smaller ones
    with just one state it them

    thanks for sharing with fridays unfolded!


  6. WOW!! I would love to have this in my classroom! How fun!

  7. You make this look easy but I am sure a lot of effort went into it...absolutely love this!! Well done!

  8. Brilliant idea! I just love it! Your newest follower,

  9. That is awesome! I ahve been wantign to do a map project...this may be it...addig it to the list! Oh wait...pinning it!

  10. seriously? this is so cool! i want one for my kitchen so my kids can play with it instead of buggin' me for another snack!


  11. Very cool but looks so tedious!

  12. Wow! This looks fantastic...what a great idea! Would you share it here?


  13. WOW - you are so clever! What a fun idea!
    I would love for you to link up at Living Life Intentionally’s Linky party - http://livinglifeintentionally.blogspot.com/search/label/Linkey%20Parties ~Beth

  14. Brilliant idea! My daughter is studying regions and states this year and that would be so much fun! Thanks for sharing.

  15. This is great and turned out awesome- what a fun spin on geography! Thank you for sharing your ideas with us on The Sunday Showcase

  16. I love this. Please link it to my linky party & anything else you have to share. Thanks, Peggy.

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