3D map crafts

Written by stephanie kelley
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3D map crafts
Bring the world to life with a three-dimensional map. (Getty Creative)

Make map and geography studies come alive by creating 3D maps. A study of maps can be enhanced by the creative process of creating a 3D map and simply viewing one. A 3D map can show elevation, mountains and plains better than a flat, traditional map. Creating a 3D map makes a student take special notice of elevation levels more so than when he is creating a more traditional map.

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Papier mache maps

Create a 3D map out of papier mache to enhance a lesson on geography. Create a 3D US map by cutting the outline of Britain out of poster board. Crumple newspaper into balls and attach the balls to the map to represent real world geography. Make the areas with mountains higher (two stacked balls of newspaper) than the low lands. Make a papier-mache mixture out of glue, water and flour. Dip strips of newspaper into the mixture and apply it to the map. Once the map is dry, paint it green for the plains and grey for the mountainous areas.

Create a world map in the same way. Use very thin strips of papier-mache for the ocean waters. Paint the land masses green and the ocean blue.

Modelling clay

Create a map out of modelling clay to use as a geography class project. Enlarge and print a map on paper to use as a template. Knead modelling clay until it is pliable. Roll it out and cut it to cover the land masses on the template. Use clay to create mountains and use a finger to make impressions where rivers and lakes should be. Once dry, paint the clay map.

Make a city map using the clay to create trees and buildings on the map. Paint the map after it dries.

Aluminium foil map

Use aluminium foil to create a map for a school or personal project. Make a template by printing or drawing a map on paper. Roll and form aluminium foil into balls. Glue the pieces of foil onto the map to create hills, mountains and valleys. Once the form has been created, cover the map with a sheet of aluminium foil and form it around the mountains and valleys. Create trees out of wire and use nuts and bolts as rocks and boulders.

Another way to create an aluminium foil map is to simply cut the map in the shape of the map and glue it on the template to add texture. Then paint over the aluminium to create the finished map.

Other 3D map crafts

There are many ways to create map crafts. Consider creating a map out of cake. Cut a sheet cake into the shape of a land mass. Use icing to add colour and use small trees and rocks (available at craft stores) to add visual interest.

You can also create a 3D map by cutting the shape out of poster board and painting it. Attach small toys and craft items to represent various points on the map. For instance, glue a small Eiffel Tower figure to a map of France to indicate where the city of Paris is on the map. Or glue a small umbrella to indicate where Seattle is on a United States map.

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