How to Repair a Vintage School MapThursday, February 28, 2013
I love maps! There's no denying it, I am a map geek. It's in my blood. I come from a long line of map loving nerds. I love the look of vintage school maps in home decor and have been looking for the perfect specimen for a while. But they were just all way too expensive for my taste! Ranging from $100 on Etsy to $500 in the high end vintage stores on Queen West in Toronto.
So I put my search on hold until after we purchased the house. And doesn't it always seem that when you aren't looking for something is when you end up finding it!? My mom and I were doing our ritual thrift/vintage shopping in my hometown, and low and behold, I spotted a tightly rolled wall map in the corner of Ken's antique store (he is the cutest little old man). I unrolled it on the floor of the store to find a beautiful vintage school room map. It was a Philips' School Room Map of the World dated 1950. But as I unrolled the whole map, I spotted the problem. The bottom of the map was peeling away from the canvas backing. Ah! Crap. I asked Ken how much he wanted for the map and he said...."How about $30 dollars"....(screaming in head "YES!!"), "I'll take it!". My mom assured me that we could fix it - and since she has worked in the art and frame industry for a while, I believed her.
The secret weapon to properly fix a vintage map like this is Pure Rice Starch. It's a neutral pH, museum quality adhesive, that dries without any indication that you smothered a wet glue-like substance all of your paper. I ordered the Lineco Inc. brand through a local picture framing wholesale supplier called CHOPS.
These are the materials you will need to repair the map:
- Pure Rich Starch
- Small Paint Brush
- Microwaveable Bowl
- Drop Cloth (or something to protect your floors)
- Heavy books (or something to weigh down the map while the rice starch is drying)
- Parchment paper (to prevent the map from sticking to your books after it dries)
It took about 3x the mixture quantity above to repair a 6ftx1ft section of my map. This map was very damaged though, so it is by no means perfect, but at least I can hang it on the wall and enjoy it.
To hang the map on the wall, I used simple wall hooks from Home Depot. I happened to find a hook that was just big enough for the wooden map roller to sit in. So I mounted two hooks on the wall and the map just sits on the hooks.