For Father’s Day, I created a wood burned USA road trip map for my husband. We have been on many road trips as a family. From short day trips, to days long driving with many overnight stops, we love to travel together. I found a USA map that was ok for me to link to for you all to use. This project requires some patience. If you aren’t familiar with wood burning, practice before attempting this large and intricate project. The same applies to painting and using a hammer, which are basic skills that get better with practice.
- Basswood Country Round in Extra Large
- 1 Printed USA Map
- Graphite Transfer Paper
- Tape – I used washi tape, because I couldn’t find the clear or masking tapes
- A sharpened pencil
- Watercolor paint
- A cup of water
- 1 Pack of cut tack nails
- Baker’s twine or embroidery floss in different colors
- Clear drying glue (optional)
- Creative Versa-Tool – Use the Tapered Point
- Detail paint brushes
- Needle nose pliers
1) Print out a copy of the USA map.
2) Lay the graphite transfer paper dark side down onto the wood. Tape in place.
3) Lay the map right side up, onto the graphite paper, positioning it where you want the map to be on the wood. I tried to center it. Tape in place.
4) Using the pencil, trace the map, pressing firmly for a good transfer. I used a regular pencil. If you use a colored pencil, it’s easier to see where you traced on the paper. When you are finished tracing, remove the paper map and transfer paper. You can reuse the transfer paper. Keep the map near by for later use.
5) Set the Creative Versa-Tool to the orange setting close to the red. Let it completely warm to that temperature setting, before starting woodburning. The burning is smoother at a high temperature.
6) With the point of the tool, carefully trace over all the transferred lines. I started with the straight lines, since those are the easiest to follow. I saved the fiddly bits of the North East coast, for last. This is going to take a while, so turn on some good tunes, TV series, or movie.
7) With the small detail brushes, watercolor paints, and cup of water, paint all the states. I alternated the colors and used a rainbow, to keep it more interesting looking. You could choose any colors you like. Watercolor allows the wood grain to show through, while still having opaque coverage. I worked one state at a time, painting the boarder with a fine detail brush, and filling it in with a bigger detail brush. For the tiniest states, I only used the fine detail brush. Consult your map, and perhaps the internet if you don’t know which fiddly bits belong to which state. This was handy for the North East coast and Michigan. I live on the East coast and still needed help, so don’t feel too bad if you do too.
8) The cut tack nails are tiny, so if you have trouble holding them with your fingers, use needle nose pliers. Use the hammer to secure nails in the centers of states you’ve be on a roadtrip to or through. You want the nail secure, but sticking out of the wood. Try to make them all close to even. Again, I live on the East coast, more specifically in Richmond, VA, so much of my road trip travels are this coast and midwest at the farthest. While we travel via roads as a family, if your travels are also by train and/or plane, you could include that too. We certainly have many independant trips by plane or train. I didn’t include those here.
9) I used baker’s twine, because I’ve been itching to use it in a project. Embroidery floss would work just as good. Starting at your home state, double knot the free end of the twine onto the nail. Follow the path of a road trip, wrapping the twine around each nail of the state your crossed through. If it’s a flight, the path can be direct or which state(s) you stopped in. When you get to your destination state, cut the twine with a 3″-4″ tail. Double knot the twine onto that state’s nail, keeping the tension tight from the path wraps. Trim the tail close to the knot. You can use a little drop of a clear drying glue on the knots to keep them secured better. I’ll probably go back and do that. Repeat this step for all of your trip paths, changing your twine or floss color for each path. Alternatively, you can use thin colored wire and jewelry pliers instead of the twine or floss. It’s a little more tricky to use, but would look great too.
10) This can be displayed leaning on a shelf as is, or on a display easel. To hang it, add a picture hook or wire to the back.
While we prefer the open road, if your travels include planes and trains, you should include those too. I live in the USA, but if you live in a different country, or travel internationally, you could use a map of your continent or the world. Make sure the map is ok for personal use. While this project is intended to be a Father’s Day gift, it can work for anyone…high school or college graduates, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, or a gift to yourself! If you need more Father’s Day gift ideas, check out the other Walnut Hollow projects. You can even get personalized gifts such as a photo printed onto wood! What ever the occasion, a gift from the heart is always welcomed!
Abby has been an artist and crafter since she was a young child. She has been sewing and creating for 30 years. She has a degree in Fashion Design. She started her blog, Crafty Lady Abby in 2009, as a way of documenting her creations and motivating herself. She creates tutorials to share her creative knowledge and empower others to be creative. She tracks fashion and craft trends, writing about international fashion weeks, rounding up projects, and creating her own.