Tuesday, September 24, 2013

DIY Watercolor Map "Guest book"

For my wedding, I didn't want a traditional guest book.  I knew it would end up closed, sitting in a cupboard or on a bookshelf.  I wanted something I could look at daily and remember the the loved ones who helped celebrate our day.

I have always loved maps and have always planned to decorate my house with maps.  So I decided to make a large watercolor of the world, which the guests would sign.  I decided to keep it simple, since the writing needed to be the focal point.

Read on for the DIY

First, I found a map that was the size I wanted (I happened to have it on hand, lying around in my house, waiting for some inspiration).  I traced over the continents and then created reverse-stencils.  This was time consuming and laborious.  I had to trace over top of the map, then transfer those tracings onto card stock, then cut out all the little details.  I am a perfectionist, so it took awhile. 

I laid the stencils on the watercolor paper and lightly taped them down.  Then I went to town with the watercolor, painting the ocean blue, and using my fingers to make sure the stencils were secure (I wanted defined edges).  I used several layers of watercolor to give it a real "oceany" feel.

I decided to leave the continents white.  I thought the blue with white looked nice.

Photo by RuthMariePhotography

The guests were asked to sign only in the ocean.  We used Sharpee pens.

Photo by RuthMariePhotography

I wish I could share a photo of the finished product, but we had to leave it in California.  We still need to add our names and the date (which we'll put under Antarctica), and find a suitable frame.  I can't wait to display it in my house someday.

Is this something you would do?  Or would you stick with a traditional guestbook?

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