Starting now, I am going to blog more about my creative projects. I can't promise its going to happen very often in the near future, because we are...
moving back to Portland next month!!!
and it may take me a while to get settled back into projects and blogging. But I am so very excited to be moving into my dream cottage and finally getting the chance to make it my own.
In the meantime, I have just finished what may be the best project I have ever done. I made a floor map.
I have long dreamed of having an entire wall of my house taken up by an enormous world map. But my dream cottage doesn't have a wall big enough for this project, because all the walls are punctuated with windows. But when I saw this map for sale on Taobao (the same as this map) I knew I had found the perfect map project: a map floor cloth.
The version of the map I bought is printed on canvas and is roughly 7.5x5 feet, a map big enough to sit on, to study on, to reminisce on, and to dream on. The finished floor cloth is 9x6 feet.
So here's how I did it:
I bought a 2x3 meter sheet of heavy artist's canvas from the art supply shop. One side of the canvas is natural fiber, and the other side is prepped with white primer. With the primed side up, I roughly centered the map on the canvas.
I used acrylic painting medium as an adhesive, a rubber printer's brayer (I could have also used a rolling pin), and a rubber spatula to affix the map to the canvas. I very generously applied the painting medium to the artists canvas, then used a lot of pressure on the brayer to bond the two sheets of canvas together and to eliminate air bubbles. I started from the center of the map and worked my way out to each end.
I used such a heavy coat of acrylic medium that lots of medium was pushed out under the edges of the map. I used the rubber spatula to scrape up the excess. I am not sure if acrylic medius is the best adhesive for this project, but I my access to supplies is quite limited in China. I thought it would work and it is easy for me to get, so I went with it.
After applying the adhesive, I let the map dry for a few days. In the meantime, I decided what colors I wanted for the border and mixed the acrylic paints. I think acrylic was the right choice, but again, I went with what was most readily available. After the map was dry, in what was definitely the most difficult step of the project, I stitched the entire edge of the map to the canvas with my industrial long-arm sewing machine, but I don't think this was really needed and am not sure I would do it again.
I painted the edge of the map itself with a medium green tone, covering the stitching, then finished the surrounding artist canvas with a mustard tone that compliments the tones of the map.
After the paint was dry, I marked out a 9" border on all sides of the map with a pencil and ruler. I trimmed all edges to about 2" beyond the border, to give room for a hem, and folded the canvas under along the hem line. As I folded, I rolled the edge with the brayer to form a crease (I could also have used a bone folder but didn't have one), and secured the fold with tiny binder clips.
I let the hem dry for two days, then applied three thin coats of clear polyurethane finish to the entire cloth and let it dry for three days. Polyurethane is very expensive here, so I only used one quart. I think when I return to the U.S. I will apply another quart to make sure the map is safely sealed from damage.
This was not an inexpensive project, but since it turned out, I think it was totally worth it (but I was concerned that I might be making a very expensive mistake). The map itself cost about $110 US dollars, the artist canvas another $57, the polyurethane varnish $25, and the acrylic medium, paints, and brush were another $15 = $207 total.
Finally, the finished floor cloth. I am absolutely delighted with how it turned out. When we get back to Portland I plan to put it in the kitchen, close to, but not under, the table, so that we can remember where we have been, where our friends are, and where our friends are from.