- Torn up old maps can escape the dungeon of the glove compartment with these upcycled projects. All images: Lisa Tate

We often go through our vehicles to make sure any stray trash we have amassed over the past few weeks is cleaned out. As much as we try to keep our rides tidy, there is always that stray, folded travel map to two that has gotten lodged into the glove compartment or stuffed under seats, torn and tired.

My kids and I have found ways to upcycle these paper scraps, as even maps that have long been replaced by new ones still have their value. With the holiday season and gift giving time approaching, I thought I would share some ways we have turned old maps into new gifts that car loving, road tripping, or travel crazy friends and family will appreciate:

As Gift Wrap

People have been using newspaper to wrap presents for ages. Maps are great for wrapping car or travel themed gifts.

People have been using newspaper to wrap presents for ages. Maps are great for wrapping car or travel themed gifts.

We’ve cuts shapes and squares out of old maps, to use as images for gift cards, as well as for wrapping small gifts. Thrifty people have done this with newspapers for years, so why not old maps that look so much cooler? If the area on the map used for the card or gift has a certain sentimentality or significance to the gift recipient, even better!

As a "Canvas"

Remember doodling old car or band logos on your paper book covers at school? They look even niftier on an old map.

Remember doodling old car or band logos on your paper book covers at school? They look even niftier on an old map.

There has been a trend for past few years by hobbyists and artists in which their main image is drawn on an old page of a book, sheet music, or otherwise repurposed material. Doodling or painting car-themed logos and images on a map, works just as well.

As jewelry

The old paper bow craft with maps.

The old paper bow craft with maps.

Two of the easiest ways to make jewelry out of maps is the simple “folded paper bow” method many of us learned as kids. Fold a small bow, and adhere it to a small hair clip with a glue gun, and you can make several of these for kids to use a gifts or decoration.

This paper bead method has long been a way to repurpose old magazines, and works just as well with maps.

This paper bead method has long been a way to repurpose old magazines, and works just as well with maps.

Also, maps are a great medium for the classic rolled “paper beads,” made from cutting thin triangular strips, and rolling them over a toothpick or stick, using a little school glue along the way to hold them in place.

As a tree ornament

Some old timey tree ornaments have made use of old Christmas cards or sheet music, and we often use maps or magazines. In of the easiest, is the round ornament made by cutting about six identical circles from the maps. Stack the discs, and draw a strait diameter line down the center. Use this line to make two holes through the circle stack with a large needle, and thread to tie them together. Once tied, push the discs together around the center, shaping them so they make an “orb shape.”

Cutting maps in disc and stringing them together makes an easy tree trimmer.

Cutting maps in disc and stringing them together makes an easy tree trimmer.

Even when an old, ripped, and seemingly disposable map has done its duty and gotten you where you need to go, let its journey continue with a new artistic life.

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