How to Make Map Ornaments and Geography Themed Christmas Decorations

Caitlin Dempsey


If you want to lend a geographic touch to your Christmas celebrations, check out these ingenious crafting ideas for making Christmas decorations and ornaments from old and printable maps.

Map Ornaments

Esri’s John Nelson recently posted templates and a how-to guide for creating your own geodesic globe ornament: Make This Geodesic Globe Ornament Please.

Image of a map globe tree ornament made from paper by John Nelson.
Image of a map globe. Source:John Nelson

Decoupage a Map Ornament

A clear plastic tree ornament, glue, and some old cut up maps can be combined to make a cartographic tree ornament.  Add a Santa’s sleigh stick to the outside for a Christmas touch.  The Gym Craft Laundry blog shows you how: Easy Decoupage Santa’s Sleigh Map Ornament.

How to Make Map Garlands

PillarBoxBlue has instructions on how to repurpose old maps to make a festive map garland: DIY Christmas Map Decorations with Ornaments and Garlands.

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Christmas Tree Map Cones

Glue some old maps around foam cylinders to make Christmas tree map cones.  Add a star on top to complete the Christmas look for these tabletop decorations. The Magia Mia blog showcases how to make one: Atlas Christmas Tree.

Have Some Winter Crafting Fun With These Science Snowflakes

The Franklin Institute has some innovative snowflake designs you can download and cut out featuring mostly notable scientists and a few science oriented patterns.  

You can download a design with Benjamin Franklin and his kite to celebrate his self-reported kite in a thunderstorm experiment.  Did you also know that Benjamin Franklin invented swim fins?  There’s a snowflake design for that, too.  

A few of NASA’s “human computers” that worked during the early days of the space program have designs: Dorothy Vaughan, Katherine Johnson, and Mary Jackson.   For more notable women scientists, there is a dedicated  Women in Science snowflake patterns section.  Jane Goodall, Nikola Tesla, Rosalind Franklin, Thomas Edison, Grace Hopper, Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, Stephen Hawking, and Sally Ride round out the current list of available snowflake designs for scientists.

More patterns are being added on a rolling basis.  For patterns not featuring a specific person are limited to a telescope, the shuttle Discovery, the Erlenmeyer flask, and an astronaut.

More: Science Snowflakes

Screenshot showing snowflake designs to cutout of famous scientists.

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About the author
Caitlin Dempsey
Caitlin Dempsey is the editor of Geography Realm and holds a master's degree in Geography from UCLA as well as a Master of Library and Information Science (MLIS) from SJSU.