Paint a Map on Your Child’s Wall using 50 States Cartridge

Ok, this took me a couple of days to do, but my daughter loves it!  (That’s what it is really all about, right!)  She was learning the states in school, so we decided to put up a huge map of the USA on her wall.  After I priced the maps out, I decided I could just paint them on instead.  That way, I had an excuse to buy the 50 States Cricut Cartridge too!  I still have Alaska and Hawaii to add, but now that you can get the picture, I thought I’d post it.  Here is how I did it:

What is needed: A Cricut Expression, the Cricut 50 States Cartridge (Click HERE for best price!, pencil, eraser, 5 colors of paint (just quarts), 12 x 24 Cricut Paper Pad, a small detail outline brush, 5 small foam brushes (so you can just throw them away after each color)

1.  I first cut out all the states with my Cricut Expression.  I did it on the Real Dial Size at about 10.25″.  However, if you are not fond of free-hand painting, then I would go a little smaller.  Cut out your larger states first (California, Texas, Alaska).  Remember, you may have to set your Cricut on the 12 x 24″ setting.  I wanted my map to measure about 4 feet by 6 feet, so at the 10.25″ size (my Cricut wouldn’t cut out the large states on that size), I had to free-hand paint in those states.  If you do free-hand paint, just remember that nobody is going to check every curve of the state, so don’t be nervous.  Once I had all my states cut out, I laid them all out on the table in order.

2.  Starting with Kansas, I traced (in regular pencil) all the states on the wall.  Why Kansas?  Because it is in the middle.  I kind of put it on the wall looking straight and figured the rest of the states would fall into place, and my map would look straight…and it did!  Once you trace Kansas, then do Missouri, and go up and down from there.  Then start going side to side.  The states all butted up against each other perfectly, so really, after Kansas, I never had to trace more than 3 sides to a state.

3.  Ahh!!  All the painting!  Now this was the most time-consuming part.  First, I chose 5 colors.  We went with girly pastels.  Next, I numbered all the states, making it look like a color by number map.  You have to be sure that no two like colored states butt up against each other.  You also need to make sure the colors that “pop” are spread around enough.  You could actually just go by my finished product to help you designate your colors.  I wrote the numbers right on the states directly on the wall.  This helped me keep it all straight.  You are painting over the numbers anyway.  Then, starting with color number 1, I started painting all the states marked with a 1.  I outlined each state with my small brush, then filled it in.  I had to do several coats for some of these colors.  I did not move onto color number 2 until I was satisified that all the color number 1 states had their final coat of paint.  Keep doing this until you get through color number 5.

4.  After all the states were painted and dried, I took an eraser and erased any errant pencil marks.  I then took a blue paint marker and painted in the Mississippi River and any lakes I wanted.  I also used another color paint marker to mark special places we have been, where grandparents live, etc.  I plan to keep adding items as we travel.  I did not put the state names on because I wanted my daughter to learn and know them by location and shape.  (She had that down by the time I was finished!)  But, of course, you could put the names of the states, capitals, mountain ranges, landmarks, etc.  Here’s my before and after pics:

23 Responses to “Paint a Map on Your Child’s Wall using 50 States Cartridge”

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  1. Maryangella says:

    What a fabulous idea, I would have never in a million years thought of that. I can not wait to show my husband so we can get started.

  2. Sits Girls says:

    Adorable idea! We are actually giving away a Cricut Expressions on our blog!

  3. The Mommy says:

    That is just beautiful!

  4. Creative Momma says:

    Thought I would take a moment to leave a comment on your post because it was very informative. I am not very familiar with Cricut Expressions and Cartidges but you layed it all out nicely for eve a beginner like me to understand. Thank you!

  5. Dawn @ My Cricut Blog says:

    Great idea – I would have never thought to use my Cricut for making a mural! Definitely something to try…

  6. Stinkin' Cute Stuff says:

    That is such a fun idea! I am always looking for clever ideas of things to do in my classroom. Kids will love having a map like this in the room!

  7. Nonnie says:

    Was there a reason you didn’t use the vinyl? I found your site because I am trying to use the vinyl to make a map for our homeschool room…any thoughts?

  8. scrapbook blogger says:

    I didn’t use the vinyl for a couple of reasons. First, I wanted to let my daughter choose whatever wild colors she wanted. Second, I wanted to hand paint in places that she travels to or that have special meaning to her (i.e., her cousin lives in Colorado, so we put that in, although not in the pics). Lastly, I wanted to make it larger than the Cricut would let me. While it cut out most of the states, I did have to freehand parts of CA and TX. I suppose I could have drawn on the vinyl, but it took me SEVERAL attempts to draw CA and TX how they should be. Then I could just paint over the mistakes. However, I like the idea of using vinyl! You could take it down, move it to another section of the wall, etc. And now, they have so many more colors of the vinyl. When I did this, I think it was mostly black, blue, and white that I could find readily available. If you do it, I just want to suggest that you cut out the largest states first to make sure they fit. Please take pics and send them in. Would love to see how it works out!

  9. Fakhra says:

    This idea is very great.

  10. Nonnie says:

    I am not anywhere near ready to attempt this but I appreciate your tips for the vinyl. I will let you know when I get around to this project it is SO amazing! Thanks for your insight!

  11. Eunice says:

    Awesome project!!! You can find some very reasonable vinyl on ebay, that’s where I get all of mine from. There are so many colors to choose from now. Hope that helps.

  12. Lisa says:

    I want to do this same thing, but not paint it. I need to do it for a school project. It’s for a wall in the hallway at school. If I use the 12×24 mat and use the real dial size do you think it would cut like a 10″ size of each state? We want it be as big as possible. We need to be able to piece it together like a puzzle and we have to do it in one day at school. I may have to do try and draw the larger ones like you did. Yours looks great!

  13. Sophia says:

    Nice project! I’ve never worked on something on that big of a scale. Loving the creativity!

    I absolutely love my Cricut Expression. It was rather pricey, but considering all the money I used to spend on die cuts at Michael’s and a local craft store, the Cricut has more than paid for itself many times over. My favorite cartridges are Storybook and the Mickey font. :)


  14. Cricut Ideas says:

    Clever! Now they need to come out with a Major-US-Rivers cartridge to further eductate the younguns on geography :)

  15. Ariel says:

    Amazing project idea. You just gave me something to do this upcoming Labor Day weekend. Keep calm and carry on, girl. And, definitely keep making things as adorable and creative as this.

    Cricut users are the best!

  16. Maddie says:

    Awesome! Thanks for sharing your idea.

  17. Leah says:

    I am going to do this, but I am going to my cricut expression to cut out fabric states. I will then use heat bond to fuse them onto a fabric background. I can then attach it with a light batting to a corkboard. That way I can use push pens to mark all of the places my little girl has been with little tags made from the cricut that show the town, year, and occasion.

    This was a great idea and I have been thinking about making her a map for awhile now.

  18. Sherree says:

    Excellent work.
    I’m considering doing the same for a UK map, but I don’t think it would be as impressive as this.

  19. oh, really nice topics

  20. Katherine says:

    Awesome project!! I want to do something like this as well!! I’m confused though. I thought Real Dial Size meant that “all characters will be cut according to the selected dial size”. (That was taken from the manual.) So how did the states fit together? I want to make sure I understand it correctly before I start to cut the states and then they don’t fit. :-)

  21. Charleen says:

    Great idea! I can’t get Maine and NH to size up correctly! NH comes out larger and I have the same setting for both states! What am I doing wrong?

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