DIY U.S. Map Canvas Art

I think I may have left you in Gary, Indiana a little too long. See my last post if you have no idea what I'm talking about. Sorry about that.

The green room/guest room/craft room has been getting a little bit of an overhaul and it's inspired me to spend a little more time in there.

My dye cutting machine, which lives in this room, hasn't been used in several months, so I thought I'd get cracking on a few new paper craft projects. I'd been wanting to make some map art for a while and today was the day!

What I used for this project:
8x10 canvas (I bought a pack of 10 at Michael's for only $10 with a coupon)
Die cutting machine (mine is a Silhouette Cameo)
An SVG US map file (I used "US States" by BasicGrey, available from the Silhouette online store)
12x12 card stock in various colors
Acrylic paint and brush (pink shown here)
Gel medium (or Mod Podge)

So to start, you'll need to download an SVG file of the U.S. states and open up your Silhouette software. 

Here's what the pattern I chose looks like in the shop (below). 

If you'd like to go global (as I intend to do next week), here's a good option: "world map" by Cali Arroyo. That's also available at the Silhouette online store. 

Pull up the file in your design area. Make sure your cut settings are set for the type of paper you are using, adjust your blade and cut on your first color of card stock. You could definitely enlarge the map, but don't make it any smaller! Rhode Island was a difficult cut for my machine to make at the set size. 

Pull out all the states and use the rest of the paper as a template when you go to lay down the different colors states on a canvas. 

Next. you'll want to highlight the map and then click on the "ungroup selected shapes" button at the bottom left. 
Click individual states that you do not want to cut on the second round and drag them off to the side (see below). After cutting, erase those states and drag the next round into the printing area. 

I tried to make sure that no border states were the same color, although I didn't completely succeed there. 
While laying them out on a blank canvas, I noticed that some of the states were either a little bent out of shape or just completely cut in half (my cutting machine definitely messed with Texas!). So I went back and cut the imperfect states again and got those looking good.
 On a another canvas, I took a tiny bit of pink acrylic paint and watered it down heavily before brushing it over the canvas for a light pink wash. Then I let it dry. 
 Now it's time to stick the states onto the canvas. I used Golden gel medium, which is like the artist's version of Mod Podge. If you're ever at an art supply store and they don't carry Mod Podge, you can go for the gel medium. It does the job. And does it very well I might add.

Whichever you choose, gel medium or Mod Podge, be sure to get some gel on the canvas and on top of each piece of paper.

I didn't think to use the template until after I finished, so I just eyeballed the placement of the states. 
 My U.S. map art is drying in the craft room, but will soon be moved to the girls' room (which is also getting a little makeover.). 
 Hope you liked that! See you next time. 


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