DIY Origami Map Ornament

Christmas Decorating Idea: Map Ornament Design + Free Map

The Origami Globe

Christmas Geography Project for Teachers!

Don’t throw your old maps away! This year we’re exploring ways to both repurpose and celebrate maps this Christmas season, with a bit of a traveler’s touch.

This one is a bit trickier than our decoupaged globe ornament and needs a bit more patience. However, it can be an excellent project to do with your budding geography buff and is perfect for the classroom!

Don’t have an old map? That’s okay. As a little holiday gift, we’re making our New Century Map available for download through the rest of the year to use for all of your crafting and teaching needs!

What you’ll need:

  • Map [printable download]
  • How To Make a Paper Sphere [printable]
  • Scissors
  • 4” Styrofoam Sphere
  • Pencil
  • Compass and Ruler
  • Ribbon & Bells (for a Christmas time flourish)

Step 1

The circumference of a 4” ball is roughly 13”. If you are making this for any other sized ball, you can measure the “equator” by wrapping a ribbon around the middle and measuring the feed. This map printable fits comfortably on an 11×17 sheet of paper.

Step 2

On a large piece of paper draw a rectangle the same length as the circumference of the ball. The height of the rectangle should be half the circumference of the ball. Draw an equator line through the center of the rectangle, lengthwise. Cut out the rectangle.

Step 3

Draw the gores. This is the heart of the process. We found an incredibly useful worksheet at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute website.

Step 4

Cut out your gored paper. It should look like this. It is helpful in the case of gluing to create small tabs (seen on the bottom points) for connecting the pieces of paper together over the sphere.

Step 5

Wrap the gored paper around the circumference of your styrofoam ball and connect the ends with either tape or glue. Hang with a ribbon, connect some bells, and enjoy your little “world on a string” on your Christmas tree!

How did it turn out? What other map repurposing projects can you think up?

Annual Walk-in Map Sale Annual Map Sale is this Friday, October 21, 2011 from 11AM-2PM and Saturday, October 22, 2011 from 8AM-11AM at 120, Cremona Drive, Suite H Goleta.


– Up to 70% off in-stock items
– 15% off other orders, Friday and Saturday only.

Products include: Wall Maps, Mounted and Framed maps for you home or office, globes, folded maps, desk maps.

Also available online with discount: Globes, Personalized Maps and Puzzles, plus discount coupons for online purchases. Annual Map Sale

Click here to RSVP to the Event

City Maps are Better on Paper

Many people could easily argue that city maps printed on paper have become all but obsolete in this day and age. Certain websites can give detailed directions to practically any destination on the planet, and many modern vehicles are equipped with GPS devices that are meant to ensure that drivers will never be lost again. Printed maps are still available at truck stops and convenience stores across the country, but it seems like more and more people are more willing to forego traditional atlases and city maps in favor of modern technology. And yet, there are still times when it is best to have an old fashioned paper map in a car’s glove compartment.

It is true that GPS navigation is the wave of the future. The technology has been progressing to the point where maps are downloaded much more quickly, and they often are capable of delivering directions to destinations in real time. Free online map services also provide easy-to-read directions to a destination for those who have an internet connection but lack a GPS system. Still, neither GPS systems or online map services are perfect. CityMapsFirst of all, GPS devices run on batteries. An expensive GPS navigation system may get a driver to where he or she needs to be most of the time, but what happens when the battery dies during a long road trip? The fantastic source of up-to-the-minute information that was so convenient just moments before is essentially useless. Fortunately, a driver doesn’t have anything to worry about if he or she has a city map on hand. It won’t give anyone directions in real time, and it won’t tell anyone if there is road construction or any detours that should be avoided, but it will give the driver an idea of where to go. As a navigational backup alone, paper maps can be endlessly useful.

There’s also the fact that plenty of drivers have been spoiled by their GPS systems. GPS devices are amazing tools, but they are far from perfect. A GPS map can be outdated, a fact that some people may not realize. Those precise directions that they can give also may steer a driver in the wrong direction if they are followed someplace in the middle of nowhere. Yes, paper maps can never be updated, but the basic layout of road doesn’t change that much.

No driver should be left without a paper city map on hand during long trips. As wonderful as GPS systems can be, sometimes they simply cannot beat a folded up piece of paper when it comes to navigation.