Travel Crafts: To Gift to Others or For Yourself!
I love traveling! Unfortunately, (like many others) I haven’t been able to do as much of that this year as I would like. That means more time at home and more time for crafts & projects! And now it’s almost time for Christmas, which is my absolute favorite time of the year! So, this year I’m combining all three things: travel, crafts, and Christmas and I’m putting them together for you! These are a few travel crafts that you could do either for yourself or to gift to a travel lover in your life this Christmas!
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This one is a super easy travel craft! All you need is a rock, mod podge, sponge brush, and a map! And yes, maps do still exist! For this project, I used Iowa maps that I picked up at a rest stop. You can also look online and find maps for any other area.
I picked a couple of the rocks from my yard for this. They weren’t huge, but they weren’t pebbles. There’s going to be some cutting to get it around the rock, so make sure you lay it out so most of that would be on the bottom of the rock. After I have all of my stuff, I’m going to decide on what parts of the map I want on the rock and cut the map down a bit around that so I’m not dealing with the full map. I just cut a larger circle around the rock and used that part.
You’ll start by putting some mod podge on one side of the rock and lay that down on the map. You could mod podge that whole rock and try to work quickly, but I’m not quick like that. Instead, I work in steps. Once the map is down on one part, I mod podge another part and keep pulling the map over. As I worked around the rock, I would make cuts in the map to overlay it in order to get it a closer fit to the rock.
Once the rock is covered with the map, then I’d cover it in a layer of mod podge. I did half at a time so it could dry before I flipped it over and then did the other side. Now you’ve got a fun rock representing somewhere meaningful!
Post Card Tray
For this project, I got a set of a few unfinished trays from Amazon (so I can do multiple crafts), mod podge, paint, and some postcards. I took one of the trays, that I could fit two postcards on, and spray painted it grey. I used this chalked spray paint that I’ve used for many other crafts around the house. On recent trips, I’ve been collecting postcards to keep as memories, so I was able to use those. However, if you don’t have postcards, or if you’re making it for someone else, again, Amazon has everything! I found these adorable vintage postcards that I am looking forward to using in future travel crafts!
I used two Door County postcards that I recently got on our trip up there. This tray was intended to be a gift for my mother, and that trip was one that she had been looking forward to, so it seemed fitting. You could easily put more than two postcards, or use a map, or photos (printed specifically to be used with mod podge) to make this travel craft!
After the paint dried on the tray, I took the postcards and put mod podge on the back, placed them on the tray, and put some heavy items on the four corners of the cards. The mod podge made the card curl just a little, so the weight helps it adhere better to the tray. Once the cards were set, I did a layer of mod podge over the entire bottom of the tray, let it dry, and did it again a couple more times.
Now you have a cool piece of décor you can gift your travel-loving friend that’s very unique to them!
Map Mason Jars
This travel craft is very similar to the rocks, except you’re wrapping a mason jar! I did it with the idea of putting battery tea light candles in them. I love mason jar crafts and have a handful around the house with flowers or holiday décor in them.
Again, I cut the map down to around the size of the mason jar. Then I put some mod podge on one side of the jar and began wrapping the map around the jar. When it came to the bottom of the jar, I made some cuts again to pull it over the edges and cover the bottom. At the top, I did the same thing and simply tucked it just inside the lip of the jar. After the jar was covered, I covered it with a couple of layers of mod podge. I used a wine bottle to keep it off the table while it dried.
When it was done, I dropped a tea light into it, and placed it on top of the postcard tray!
Nail & String Art
This craft is a little more common. Usually, you see it with a state outline or something, but that was too boring for me. Instead, I decided to do a polar bear, which we got to see in their natural habitats on our trip up in Churchill, Manitoba (it was amazing)! I took an outline of a polar bear and printed it off on an 8.5 x 11 sheet of paper.
Any chance to use my power tools and I’m happy! So I bought a larger piece of wood from Lowes and cut it down to size. The width was about 11 inches, so it was the perfect size to lay the paper over after I cut it the correct height (about 8.5 inches). If you don’t have power tools at home, you can always have Lowe’s cut it down to size for you.
After I cut the wood and sanded down any issues, I stained it. This is something so incredibly simple to do. You can get small cans of stain, and you’ll get many uses out of it! I just brush the stain on the wood, and then take a towel and wipe it off. After that dried, I took the paper with the bear, centered it on the wood, and taped it down.
I got some white nails that were about 1.5 inches long with a head that was big enough to hold the yarn on it, but not too big to take over the look of the piece. I went with white nails since I was making a polar bear. Then I went around the border of the bear and nailed the nails into the board. Once I was all done with the outline, I just ripped the piece of paper off!
Time to String
Next, I took the yarn and got to work. I tied it tight around one of the nails and then began going back and forth. I would wrap it around each nail to help it stay tight rather than just looping it around the nail. If you were doing something with four sides, it would be a little easier and neater to go back and forth, but with the legs and head, it was a little trickier. I added in two extra nails that I used a sharpie on to give him eyes. Then I made a nose with a couple nails as well. You could also put a tiny drop of glue on each knot as extra support.
If you were going to make it as something to hang up, then you can get a hook that you can nail into the back. Otherwise, it can just be something that would be propped up. You can also do it as a location and make a heart in the middle of it or even spell a word. Tada, another travel craft you can give for Christmas this year!
A Couple Other Travel Crafts
These are details for four different travel crafts you could make for the travel lover in your life (or for yourself). However, there are still many other ideas you could use! I don’t have step-by-step details for these, but I think you can get a picture of how to make them!
One idea would be making a shadow box for a favorite location. Cut the name of the location out of a map (or print it off) and put it on the back of the box. Then fill it with other items from there. It could be some leftover money from that country, shells, tickets, or anything else from there. You can either glue them to the back or simply lay them along the bottom of the box.
Another idea would be to take what we did with the rocks and cover a Christmas ornament with a map. You could also take something like a map or printed plane ticket, cut it up, and put it inside a clear ornament. You’ve probably seen this done more commonly with wedding items, but it doesn’t have to be exclusive to that! Or, take a small picture frame, put a photo from a recent trip, and string it from the top to be used as an ornament.
Sandy Travel Crafts
Something I decided to start doing was collecting sand from various trips and layer them into a vase or other glass container. Over the layer of sand, I would write on the container where the sand was from. If someone has a favorite beach that they like to visit (like me and the Outer Banks) then you could fill it all with sand from there, and maybe layer in some shells.
You could also put some sand and smaller shells into a clear Christmas ornament. I had this as a craft at a community event I planned and the kids love it! If you’re worried about them opening, you can glue them shut, and also tie the rope/string around the hook, not just through it. I never had a problem with that though. You want to make sure you don’t put too much in though, or it would be too heavy to put on a tree.
More Map Travel Crafts
You could also use those maps to cover a picture frame, and then fill the frame with a photo taken on an adventure. Or you could cut out either a state, country, or continent, and adhere it to a piece of corkboard to make a map that they can pin different locations they’ve been to (or want to go to). Another use for those maps would be to cut out a favorite location, possibly in a shape like a heart, and have that framed.
You could also use a photo of a map on your computer, lighten it (or increase its transparency), and put a favorite quote over the map. Then print that and frame it! Or, use maps or postcards to make some custom luggage tags!
Wreathes for Any Season
A larger map project would be to make a wreath! I’ve done this with pages from old books before, but it would be adorable with pieces of maps. You can get a base from a craft store, or just cut out a circle from some cardboard to use. Then you can either use an atlas book and tear out the pages or cut larger maps up to use. There are different shapes you can fold them into for your wreath. A common way would be to just roll each page, adhere it to the base, and work your way around. Once you’ve gone around once, you can do a few more layers on top of each other.
Another way to create your wreath would be to cut shapes out of the map and lay those over each other. For instance, if it’s for fall, cut out leaf shapes. For Christmas, you could cut out stars, trees, or even just circles. To break it up a little you could also cut out some shapes in a solid color construction paper and work those into your layout. I’ve also seen book wreaths where the pages made flowers, and that would be adorable with a map as well!
Bonus Travel Crafts
Something that would be super awesome was if you made a jar that someone could use as their travel piggy bank, and actually put money in it when you gifted it! (Who doesn’t love money, especially when it comes to traveling?) This could be done with a mason jar, or another glass jar (like a jelly jar). You could mod podge a map to it, if you have a Cricut you could use that to put a travel quote on it, or you could paint it. You could also use a shadow box, put something cute inside it, and then at the top of it, make a slot that money can be dropped into.
Wrap Those Travel Crafts Up
If you’re looking for ways to wrap it all up, you could take a gift bag in a solid color and glue a part of a map (like a heart, strips, or any other shape) right on to the bag. You could also use the map to wrap a gift box! Don’t forget those cards though! With some construction paper and pieces of a map or postcards, you could make a very unique card.
What are some travel crafts you’ve made before?
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