Making A Map Pendant

Sawing can be used in so many ways for so many different types of designs in jewelry making. A popular trend in jewelry right now is little maps of American states or maps of continents sawed out of metal and hung on necklaces. These pendants are a perfect little homage to where you are from or even where you have been. Sawing out a shape as detailed as a map can be awfully intimidating, but with a little patience and a steady hand, you can personalize your necklace even further by sawing your map pendant yourself! Here are some tips and tricks to take the intimidation out of sawing out a map.

I recently sawed out a map of Texas for a friend’s graduation, so I’ll use this as an example. You can feel free to use any state or map you desire, though. First things first, find your map! All you need to do is run a Google Image search for a map of the state or continent. A silhouette or a simple outline of your desired map will work best for this project. Once you have your map, you will need to shrink it down to your desired size and then print it out on a sticky paper. I used a white label printer paper and made the pendant 1 inch wide by 1 inch tall. Cut out the map and stick it onto the piece of sheet metal you want to saw from. Then, follow our sawing technique to get step-by-step instructions on sawing the image out of metal.

One of the hardest parts of this is getting the detail of the edges of the map. The easiest way to do this is to saw out the design wider than the map sticker and later file out the detail. Don’t try to saw out the detail with the saw blade; it’s too tiny and you’ll never be able to get all the little nooks and crannies. Once you have sawed out the map, you can use a needle file to file out the detail. The file will enable you to get into the tiny detailed areas of the most complex map lines and you will be able to create a perfectly rendered map.

Another thing that is tricky about these map pendants is hanging it– how do you hang it once you’ve cut the map out? You can’t make a hole, since that would ruin the shape of the map. A good solution is to add a little tab to the area you wish the pendant to hang from. I normally stick my label onto the metal and then draw a little rectangle for the tab at the very top (where it will hang from). Once this is sawed out, you can use your round nose pliers and bend the tab backwards to create a loop for your chain to pass through. To finish the pendant perfectly, follow our Sanding and Filing Sheet Metal Technique to smooth and refine the edges.

Have fun! Sam

2 comments to Making A Map Pendant

  • Lynda

    For starters, I think I would go with my home state — Wyoming!! Then I could do my mother’s state — Colorado. ;-)

  • I love this idea! I’m from Texas, so you’ve already got my state cut out. LOL For hanging, I would use a glue on bail. Thanks for the awesome tip!

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