Gift idea: framed vacation map and photos

Happy holidays! I hope you had a lovely Christmas holiday, however you celebrate.

Taking a break from the holiday content over here to share an easy DIY I made for my dad’s birthday. As I wrote about in this post, we spent a week in Glacier National Park this past August. It was really a dream come true for me (as corny as that sounds!), and I felt so lucky to spend that time with him. When his birthday rolled around in late November, I wanted to give him something to remember the trip, but I didn’t want to do another photo book.

After confirming with my mom that he had empty wall space above his dresser, I bought a frame at Michael’s, ordered a map of the park online, and printed many photos from our trip. I played around with the map until I found the spot that showed many of the places we visited but didn’t include any white space.

This handy circle punch from Paper Source made it so easy to cut photos into perfect circles. For the bigger circles, I traced a kitchen bowl onto the photos and cut the circles out by hand. I positioned the photos near the spots where they were taken (no need to be exact!), and pasted them on using a glue stick.

I wanted to make notes identifying where each photo was taken or recalling specific moments from the trip, but it was difficult to write directly onto the map because it was so detailed. Instead, I painted watercolor paper in green and blue, used that handy circle punch to cut circles, and then wrote notes on part of each circle. As you can see, I ended up layering the photo circles on top of the paper circles so that only a small part of each paper circle was visible.

My dad loved the result! He said that the photos helped him remember little moments that he might have otherwise forgotten, which made me very happy. I’m so glad I made this for him!

Have you made anything similar for yourself or as a gift? Share your creative ideas in the comments!

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