Easy Ways to Make a Compass Rose

Written by judith zwolak
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Easy Ways to Make a Compass Rose
A compass rose shows directions on a map. (Chad Baker/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Whether elaborate or simple, a compass rose is a design on a map that shows directions---most commonly the cardinal directions, which are north, south, east and west, and the intermediate directions, northeast, southeast, southwest and northwest. To orient the map's reader, the compass rose uses petal-like spokes that protrude from a central point, each pointing to a direction. Making a compass rose for a map requires finding north on the map and then representing the remaining directions by drawing in arrow-like points.

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Draw by Hand

The easiest way to make a compass rose is to draw a circle on the map and then make a dot in the centre of the circle. Draw two lines through the centre dot, one horizontally and the other vertically, to divide the circle into fourths. Extend the lines past the circle. These will serve as the north, south, east and west compass points. Draw a small "x" over the centre dot and draw a line from the end of each compass point to the ends of the "x" to form an elongated diamond that looks like a directional arrow. Repeat the process by drawing arrows between the cardinal directions to show the intermediate directions.

Use a Computer

Using the "illustrations" option in various versions of Microsoft Word, insert a four-pointed star into an open document. Rotate the star 45 degrees so the points are showing intermediate directions. Copy and paste the figure and rotate this new star 45 degrees to show cardinal directions and place it on top of the other star. To add visual interest, select the line tool and draw a line through the centre of the top star connecting each point with its opposite point.

Glue Toothpicks

Fancy, coloured toothpicks designed to serve hors d'oeuvres can make a colourful and easy compass rose. Place two toothpicks on top of each other in an "x" shape and glue together at the centre. Break two more toothpicks in half and glue them to the centre of the "x" at a 45-degree angle to the first toothpicks. Attach this wooden compass rose to the map with another dab of glue.

Cut Paper Pieces

Using a printout of a four-pointed star from Microsoft Word or another computer illustration program as a template, cut out two stars from different coloured paper. Place one star on top of the other at a 45-degree angle to create a compass rose that shows the four cardinal and four intermediate directions.

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