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Make a Where I’ve Been Map

Where have you been? Make a DIY “Where I’ve Been” map to track your travels — and then display it like art!

How to Make a Travel Map
How to Make a Travel Map

A couple of years back I did a different kind of travel map, right here. But the original map was one that Ryan made me way back in the day for a Valentine’s gift.

It had a dot on every city we had been to together, with a string connecting the cities in the order in which we had traveled to them. It was a masterpiece.

I found it the other day and I thought it would be super cool to recreate it larger, and with the additional places we’ve been together and now as a family with our kids. So here we are.

This thing is a work of art! And we’ve got a free printable so you can make your own map about where you’ve been also.

Psst — before you grab the free download, be sure to sign up below for my VIP group so that I can send more of my very best ideas and downloads straight to ya.

How to Make a Travel Map

More Travel DIY Ideas

If you’re a fan of travel too, we have a few other fantastic travel DIYs to share. I picked some of my favorites that I think you’ll love — be sure to pin your favorites so you can find them easily again.

Supplies You’ll Need

Materials

How to Make a Travel Map

How to Make Your Own “Where I’ve Been” Map

Make Time: 2 Hours (or less if you have only a few places on the map)

  1. Download our printable map at the end of this post and head to a print shop. The map is sized to 11″x17″ to give you lots of space to add your cities. Have them print a color copy for you.
  2. Use a craft knife to make a small incision dot on every city you’ve visited.
  3. Insert a brad through each dot and fold the metal prongs back behind the paper.
  4. Separate a single strand of embroidery thread from a package of floss. (Most embroidery threads have six strands wound together. You’ll need something pretty thin for this so a single strand works well.)
  5. Decide which brad to start with. Wind your thread around it a few times and tie it to itself. Trim the end.
  6. From there, crisscross the map from city to city, mapping out your travels. If you run out of thread and need more length, repeat Step 5 on your most recent brad and start a new thread.
  7. When you get to your final city, tie off the thread in a similar manner.
  8. For locations outside the U.S., I approximated their location on a smaller scale, just off the map a bit. If you have locations outside the U.S., label them with a small printed city or country title. We used Century Gothic Bold font, size 7. Print and cut your city or country name and affix to the map with a tiny bit of double-sided tape.
How to Make a Travel Map

Customizing Your Travel Map

If you’re more of a world traveler than a U.S. traveler, you can easily translate this project for your own “Where I’ve Been” map!

You could find a pretty printable world map online and print it out, then give it the same treatment we did with the U.S. map. If you’re unable to find a frame the appropriate size, you could mount it on corkboard or foam core using spray adhesive.

You could also just purchase any map of your desired area (or the whole world!), add the brads, and trace your travels with thread the way we did here.

How to Make a Travel Map

Ideas for Displaying

We found an appropriately sized frame, and hung ours so we can marvel at all the traveling we used to do! Granted, the first couple of years of our relationship we were on tour, but wow that’s a lot of cities.

There are also a few missing that we’ve been to separately but never traveled to together. And now we have some places, like Tulum, that we’ve been with our little ones.

I have a secret dream to have a mural wall of a world map and do the same thing in greater detail. Someday!

Download The DIY Travel map

Just enter your name and email address below and we’ll send the printable map right to your inbox!

How to Make a Travel Map

Make a "Where I've Been" Map

Yield: Where I've Been Map
Active Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours
Difficulty: Intermediate
Estimated Cost: $30

Where have you been? Make a DIY "Where I've Been" map to track your travels -- and then display it like art!

Materials

  • Printable map
  • Small brads
  • Embroidery thread
  • Optional: computer, printer, and white paper
  • Double-stick tape

Tools

  • Scissors
  • Craft Knife

Instructions

  1. Download our printable map at the end of this post and head to a print shop. The map is sized to 11"x17" to give you lots of space to add your cities. Have them print a color copy for you.
  2. Use a craft knife to make a small incision dot on every city you've visited.
  3. Insert a brad through each dot and fold the metal prongs back behind the paper.
  4. Separate a single strand of embroidery thread from a package of floss. (Most embroidery threads have six strands wound together. You'll need something pretty thin for this so a single strand works well.)
  5. Decide which brad to start with. Wind your thread around it a few times and tie it to itself. Trim the end.
  6. From there, crisscross the map from city to city, mapping out your travels. If you run out of thread and need more length, repeat Step 5 on your most recent brad and start a new thread.
  7. When you get to your final city, tie off the thread in a similar manner.
  8. For locations outside the U.S., I approximated their location on a smaller scale, just off the map a bit. If you have locations outside the U.S., label them with a small printed city or country title. We used Century Gothic Bold font, size 7. Print and cut your city or country name and affix to the map with a tiny bit of double-sided tape.

Notes

If you're more of a world traveler than a U.S. traveler, you can easily translate this project for your own "Where I've Been" map!

You could find a pretty printable world map online and print it out, then give it the same treatment we did with the U.S. map. If you're unable to find a frame the appropriate size, you could mount it on corkboard or foam core using spray adhesive.

You could also just purchase any map of your desired area (or the whole world!), add the brads, and trace your travels with thread the way we did here.

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12 thoughts on “Make a Where I’ve Been Map

  1. this is so cute! i love travel related little diy’s and things like this:-) will maybe try and make something similar! xx

    1. Hi Allison! The frame is from Michaels. As far as framing with the brads, we just made sure they were folded nice and flat, and then framed as usual. This particular floating frame worked well for the project, because there was a little wiggle room between the two glass panels. Have fun!

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