Map Wallpaper Stairs

I can’t claim to have thought of either elements of this idea, that is wallpapering steps or using maps as wallpaper (my sister in law introduced me to that one). But I thought it was worth posting because I haven’t seen anyone else put the two ideas together. It took a little bit of thinking about so I thought I’d go through the stages. But first the finished product!

 You will need

  • Maps
  • Baking paper
  • 2 paint brushes
  • Wallpaper paste

1. Our staircase was brand new so we primed and glossed the steps and just primed the risers. 

2. I bought a job lot of maps from ebay, at first I was just looking for nice bits of coastline but the lot I won had enough places with personal significance that in the end I used all ‘special’ places, eg both our places of birth. I used Ordnance Survey Landranger maps – to me these are the mappyest maps! I like them visually too.

  3. Make a template. I used baking paper because it was cheap and you can see through it! Most of our steps were basically the same size so one template worked, this was a bonus because I’d expected to have to make one per step. 

4. Line up the template over the bit of map you want, I focused in towns/villages with sentimental associations. Having got the main thing under the template I then lined the whole piece up with convenient lines in the map (to make cutting easy) and pretty configurations of coast or contours etc.

5. Draw round and cut, 11 times in my case.

6. Check each piece against the step it will be stuck to, this meant lots of grumpy, tricky slicing off of a millimetre at a time in my case. I found that since the maps are crinkled they were bigger when pasted down, also I suspect the paper stretched slightly when pasted. I found that it was best when the map was 1mm ‘too small’, then it came out exactly right.

7. Now you finally get to paste! I thought I would need to iron the piece first but it was fine without. I used the baking paper to stop the paste getting all over the chest of drawers I was using as a pasting table! I just used a new length for each one, then I could paste over the edges of the map pieces really liberally to get plenty of paste on. Make sure it is wet all over but not lumpy, I worked quite quickly in case the paper got too soggy to pick up. 

8. I carried the piece over my arm. (Make sure you know which way is up!) I then laid it on the step below the riser I was sticking it to and then flipped it up. The great thing about the wallpaper paste is you get a few minutes to slide it around slightly. 

9. Use the fresh paintbrush to firmly brush the paper all over smoothing out bubbles as you go. I double, double checked the edges were all stuck really firmly.

10. I plan to varnish them with clear quick drying varnish, if this doesn’t work well I will post about that too! 

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