Queen of Hearts | How To Make A Digital Map Hearts Collage

For many, Pinterest is a place to collect recipes they’ll never make, fashion they’ll never buy, places they’ll never visit and a random assortment of cute pets, inspiring quotes, celebrity photos and house porn.

My boards have some of that too, but I also pins ideas I might actually make.

One of the craft ideas that really struck my eye was a romantic art collage of hearts cut from real maps and arranged neatly on a white background. At over $500 to buy, it was definitely out of my price range so I immediately started thinking about a home made version.

Of course, it was only a few moments before I decided that creating mine digitally would give me the most flexibility to create an affordable, beautiful and personalised piece. In any case, I didn’t have months to spend on sourcing just the right vintage maps – I had an deadline to work to; I was determined to give the finished piece to Pete as a gift for our 20th anniversary of dating, which fell this mid-May.

I went ahead and made it and I’m chuffed to bits with how it turned out. I think Pete really likes it too!

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It took me half a day to create my finished artwork document, though some of that time was working out the best way to do things in Photoshop… once I got into a rhythm the slowest aspect was selecting the right maps. Once finished, I emailed the document to a kind friend to print. Once he posted the hard copy back to me, I had it properly mounted and framed by my local picture framing service, handily located opposite our house.

How To Make A Digital Map Hearts Collage

This tutorial is based on Photoshop and you will need a good understanding of working with layers, using selection tools, adjusting layer opacity and using guides to follow the instruction below. There are many great online tutorials available should you need to brush up your Photoshop skills first.

  • Create (and save) a heart template file, containing a grey heart on a transparent background. Either use a drawing tool or Google for one you like. Mine was 450 x 420 pixels. If you find one that is smaller or larger, resize it to approximately these dimensions.
  • Open (and save) a new file, with white background. To fit 5 x 4 hearts, mine was 3000 x 2500 pixels in size but I’d recommend 3500 x 2500 pixels as closer to the A4/ A3 paper size ratio. This is your main document.
  • Use online map services to display your first chosen location. I switched between a variety of map services in order to vary the colours and styles of my map hearts as much as possible.
  • Centre your location on the screen, zoom in or out and switch to satellite or map view as you prefer. You may want to switch to Full Screen view to be able fit more of the map on the screen. Take a screenshot and paste it into a new file. (You won’t need to save this file as you won’t be keeping it after the next few steps).

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  • Use the Magic Wand (colour selection) tool to select the grey heart from your template file. Paste it as a new layer into the map screenshot file.
  • Move the heart around until it is exactly over the part of the map you wish to use. If you find it easier, you can adjust the opacity of the heart layer to 50%, allowing the map to show through. (If you find the screenshot too small or large, scrap it, go back to the online map site and zoom further in or out and create a new one).
  • Use the Magic Wand tool to select the heart, and then the Layers palette to switch to the map layer beneath. Copy the selection to the clipboard, switch to your main document and paste. (If you had the correct layer selected, this should paste a heart shaped map into your main document).
  • Don’t worry about placing the heart(s) just yet, as you will likely want to swap them around to achieve a nice balance of colour and style.
  • Close the screenshot file without saving, and repeat until you have as many hearts as you need.

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  • Use guides to create a grid in the main document and use it to position your hearts, balancing the different colours and styles as you like.
  • Once the hearts are in position, group them into a layer group so you can easily show and hide them with a single click. (You could merge them into a single layer, but using the grouping tool means you can go back and change them individually, later, should you wish, whereas if they are in a single layer, this is more difficult).

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  • If you wish to add shadows, as I’ve done, copy and paste your grey heart from the template into the main document as many times as you have hearts. Align the grey shadow hearts into exactly the same positions as the map hearts, covering them up completely. Once they are in position, merge them into a single layer and move the layer to below / behind the map heart layers. Use the arrow keys to nudge them down and right a little until they peep out from behind the map hearts. Select the whole shadow heart layer and use the Gaussian blur filter to soften the hearts, as much as you like.
  • Now save a copy of the file with all layers flattened into one, in a format you can print.
  • You can print your document at A4 or A3 size. Mine was printed on an A3 sheet of white paper, though it also looked great on cream.

KaveyHeartMapProject-0823

  • I decided to have my printed document professionally mounted and framed, and chose a green mount and simple wooden frame. If you want to frame it yourself, you can either do so without a mount, or go to a craft store and choose a ready-made mount and suitable frame.

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And there you have it! Do let me know if you have a go at this yourself, and I’d love to see your photos of how you get on.

Lastly, for those who are confused by this craft post on a food blog, I ate nearly an entire packet of chocolate digestives during the process!

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6 Comments to "Queen of Hearts | How To Make A Digital Map Hearts Collage"

  1. Stacey

    KV –
    This is gorgeous. I’m digitally challenged to say the least. It would wreck my head trying to do this. However – I’m thinking of doing something similar using all the postcards I bring home from my travels. The scrapbook aisle at the craft store has punches that I’m sure would work…. Thanks for the idea. I’ll keep you posted should I get ambitious!
    Stace

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    No reason not to get the scissors out and make a physical version and love the idea of using postcards from your actual travels. Better than them sitting in a box…

    Reply
  2. Aveen

    Absolutely love this! We’re buying a house at the moment and I’m looking for ideas for wall art I can create, and I do like a bit of photoshoppery, so definitely bookmarking this one and will be on the lookout for a perfect frame. Thanks for the great how-to 🙂

    Reply
    kaveyeats

    Glad you like, Aveen. Please to let me know how you get on, would love to see a photo!

    Reply
  3. shalini

    love the idea… quite coincidental… I was looking for ideas to make a wedding gift for someone and saw something similar on etsy… thanks for sharing!

    Reply

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