Printing on Maps

I’ve been working hard this past week on getting some map projects finished, and in the process I’ve learned a lot about trying to manipulate maps.  I thought I would share a simple way to print on your maps without any trial and error. I’ve gone through all the trials and made all the errors so that you don’t have to.  🙂

This would also work with old dictionary and book pages, or other thin papers that aren’t printer friendly.

All you’ll need for this tutorial is:

  • Printer paper
  • Maps
  • Printer
  • MS Word
  • Removable double-sided tape

The concept behind this tutorial is that you are going to make a frame for the map you want to print on.  If you want to print onto a whole 8.5 x 11 page map, then the paper itself will be your frame and you skip to the very end of this tutorial, but if you don’t want to waste your precious vintage map space and you’re looking to print in a smaller area, then read on.

1.  Determine the size of map you want to work with.  I want to make map cards and so I want the maps to be approximately the size of my card front, let’s say 5.25 x 3.75 inches.

2.  Open a new file in the program you are using.  For the purposes of this tutorial I will use MS Word.  I would normally use my Silhouette software or Photoshop, but I know not everyone has those.

3.  Insert a text box by clicking Insert ->Text Box ->Draw Text Box

4.  Click on the blank page and draw your text box, just like you are cropping a picture.  Just get any size box on the page and then go to the upper right and put your exact dimensions in, once you hit enter your box will conform to the dimensions you input.

5.  I want to be efficient, so I plan to print on two maps at once.  In order to do this I need to copy my text box by right clicking on any line of the box and selecting “copy”.  I then right click anywhere on the page and select “paste”.  You may have to move your second box into a better position by clicking and dragging.

6.  Now you have your frames for your maps.  Go ahead and print this page “as is” onto a piece of white printer paper.  When the page comes out of the printer, draw an arrow pointing up toward the top of the page, anywhere outside your boxes.  This just lets you know how to feed the paper back into the printer once you’re ready to print onto your maps.  I also like to write the dimensions of the boxes onto the paper, you can use this paper over and over and it makes things run more smoothly if you don’t forget and have to re-measure.

7.  Go cut your maps to the frame dimensions.  You don’t have to be exact, unless you are trying to print right up to or over the edge.

8.  Double stick tape your maps to the frames.  Its okay if the maps aren’t completely flush with the paper, just as long as the leading edge, the edge being fed back into the printer first, is fairly flat.  This ensures a smoother re-print.

9.  Now go back into your file and insert a new text box by repeating steps 3 and 4.  This new box only needs to be big enough for the text you plan to print.

10.  Type and format your text in the new box.  Add anymore text boxes you want, and looking at your maps, determine where you want your text located.  Position your text there within your frames on-screen.

11.  Now, this step is important!  For each box you need to right click on a line and scroll down to and click “Format Shape.”  Select the second menu item in the pop-up box “Line Color” and select the “No Line” option.  This leaves the frame right where you want it but now only the text will print and none of the frames/border lines will.

12.  Go ahead and put your map page into the printer, make sure it is positioned correctly to print on the maps in the right direction. Put the arrow in first, and determine whether it should be put in face up or face down.

13.  Print!  But please, please, please check that Print Preview and make sure you have no frame lines.

And you should get something that looks like this!

Now you can unstick your maps from the printer paper and use them in any project you like.  Go ahead and make your text boxes show again by retracing your clicks, and save the file and the piece of paper for next time.  I hope this was helpful and that you go print on all kinds of vintage papers!

Whatever you do, keep pressing on!



7 thoughts on “Printing on Maps

  1. Excellent! Thanks for trying and erring so now I don’t have to. I’ve thought about printing on old book pages and now I have a tutorial. Looks great.

    BTW, I don’t think I ever reported back but your Pinterest and Etsy buttons looks just perfect when I’m on my home computer. It is only on my wonky work computer that they get stretched out and funny.

    Nice background – is it new?

    • Thanks Dianne, if you do attempt it you should post a link of your work to this post, that would be awesome! And thanks for the update, hopefully not too many people are looking at my page on ancient machines.

      • I’m saving up projects to do in June during 30 days of creativity. The idea being I won’t make myself quite as crazy if I’ve done some planning. I plan to do something with printing onto pages (some some great stuff on Pinterest) and will FOR SURE link to your post!!

      • It is kind of cool because whatever happens you know the next day you’ll make something else. What I’m going to do different is some projects that will spread over several days. If there are several steps it may take 3 or 4 days to finish a project so my creativity for one project might just be the first step. That’s the plan for now, anyway.

        I saw something for April where you do an alphabet and pick a theme: first day you do an A that fits your theme. Say you were painting, than A could be Abstract. April has 30 days so it worked out you got Sundays off! Anyway, those challenges are fun and you connect online with others who are doing them.
        YOU SHOULD DO IT!!

        OK, going home now, ta!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s