Cover Image
close this bookThe World Map Project (Peace Corps)
close this folderPart I: How to make your world map
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentGetting started
Open this folder and view contentsThe grid method
View the documentThe projection method
View the documentColoring the map
View the documentLabeling the map
View the documentCelebrating the map's completion
View the documentKeeping the map current

Getting started

Make Four Decisions:

1. Which mapmaking method will you use--grid or projection?
2. Approximately what size will your map be? Any border?
3. What background surface will you use?
4. How will you color your map?

Prepare Your Materials

Prepare Your Map Section Sheets.

Each gridded sheet represents a section of the world map. If you make your world map using the Grid Method, you'll need these sheets when drawing, coloring, and labeling. In preparation:

· Photocopy each section sheet to make single-sided copies.

· Color the countries on your photocopied section sheets according to your color scheme. It's usually easier to draw from colored map sections. Colored sheets also eliminate endless "What-color-do-l-paint-this-country?" questions later on. Remind your mapmakers to color lightly over written information. Double-check the results.

· Protect the section sheets. Plastic-covered pages will last through many mapmakings and paint spills. Laminate them or slip them into plastic folders and tape shut.

Prepare Your Background Surface

All surfaces

You'll want a background surface that is as clean, smooth, and as light-colored as possible. If you'll be painting your map, make sure your surface is nonporous. Prime it, if necessary, and let it dry. Paint the entire map area ocean blue, two coats if needed. With a blue background, you won't have to carefully paint the ocean around the continents and islands later on. Save some ocean blue paint for touch-ups. (General recipe: ocean blue = 1/2 quart of white + 3-5 teaspoonfuls of blue.)


Use pre-coated artist-type canvas if possible. If your canvas is not pre-coated, you'll need to prime it with whatever product an art supply store recommends. Primer may seep through your canvas, so protect your floor. Also, keep in mind that linen canvas may shrink after getting wet.

Think about how you'll display your canvas once it's painted. Though not necessary, you may want to consider stretching your canvas on a frame before priming and/or painting. Doing so will smooth and "square" the surface as well as provide an attractive way to display the completed map. After constructing your grid, take the canvas from the frame if you will be working on the floor. Re-attach at the end of the project.

Another option is to lash the canvas to PVC plastic tubing, or sew a "pocket" the length of the canvas through which you can later insert a strong rod.

Paper and Cardboard

You can prime paper for an improved painting surface (see Canvas, above).

Floors and Playgrounds

Sweep and hose down your surface so that it is clean. Depending on the size of your map, you may not want to paint the entire area ocean blue.