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: