I wanted to practice for the big antique Paris map I’m going to do soon, so I started with a smaller, similar map of 1913 London. This map reminds me of Eastenders (of which I am a longtime fan). The project turned out just like I hoped, so I just bought the bigger frame for the Paris map for $5 at a thrift store this week. These long, narrowish frames are typically cheaper than others because not everything fits in them. But they’re perfect for antique maps.
The London frame cost $3 on discount day at a local thrift store, and is one of those very high quality metal frames that good framers use. Very sturdy. The print is from this map by blacque_jacques on flicker, which I saved as a PDF and printed at Staples as a $4 “engineering print.” A great option for big maps–these prints only handle black and white line drawings but they print up to 3′ x 4′ in like, a minute! The print looked great. Make sure on your map that when you actually increase it to the size you want online that it’s not too fuzzy–still needs to be crisp or you’ll be disappointed in the print.
But it was black and white and the original is tinted in places. So, first I went over the whole thing with coffee lightly. Then I used watercolors to bring out the water features (blue), parks (green, two shades), and buildings (more coffee) just like in the original. I also added a little coffee to the maps fold lines. (I may have gone a little too dark on those–but I still like the effect. This is why I practice before a bigger project!)
After it dried, I used spray adhesive to attach it to the original foam core that came with the frame. (It gets wrinkly with all the watercolors, but it actually adds to the authentic antique look.) You need to do this, or it just looks too rippled in the frame.
I cleaned the glass and reassembled the frame .That’s it!
Now it’s on to Paris…and more wonderful frugal art for our walls!