All those who wander are not lost -- J.R.R. Tolkien
Who doesn't love the feel of adventure from looking at a map? There's something aesthetically pleasing about their bright colors and exotic locations, which is why we own so many tucked away in shelves or pinned to walls. From National Geographic inserts to handmade fabric replicas, travel maps scream adventure to the average passer-by.
Making a map by hand is relatively simple, as seen in these photos of Santa Claus's navigational map...
... with tiny landmarks painted by hand inside the rolled-up surface.
The muslin is painted, then tea-dyed and treated with "prim primer" and cinnamon. The painted surface is sanded in place to create worn spots, holes, and faded colors. The bit of gold glint is from metallic enamel paint, added for embellishment.
In the past, walls were covered with an array of maps, from South American civilizations to the Anarctic. Applied with sticky tack to the surface, the banners would sometimes fall without the support of thumbacks; any tears were re-patched on the back with tape and the map was doggedly re-applied to the surface.
Antique maps are often hard to come by (and expensive), but the effect is well worth it when beautifully framed and displayed -- especially the "tapestry" style cloth maps of old. Make your own using the tips offered here or make up a creative kid's version using crumpled brown paper and craft paints. From pirate treasure maps to lost civilizations, the possibilities are endless.