What Is A Scratch Map ?

Scratch Map words

What, Who, When, Where, Why, and How of Scratch Maps
Information seeking? I’ve got some answers.

People want to know, “What Is a Scratch Map?”

A Scratch Off Map is a map with a foil covering the landmasses. This foil can be scratched away like scratching a lotto ticket. This will reveal a country or place that you have traveled, done business with, learned about or any other creative uses that are possible with a Scratch Map.

Scratching will reveal color and dimension.

 Scratch map


The popularity of Scratch Maps has been growing exponentially over the last few years. The Scratch Map has boasted the title of one of the most popular gifts of 2017.

These maps come in different sizes and regions, and some highlight different special interest. Most popular is the Scratch Map of the whole world. 


So stick with me and I will teach you all about Scratch Maps.

Scratch Map


Who Would Like a Scratch Map?

A Scratch Map makes a great gift.

A Scratch Map makes a good gift because you are giving something that you know the person is interested in, travel. This shows you know the personal interest and that always makes a good impression. Giving a gift that is relatable to the receivers life or hobbies is the always a winning recipe. 

Secondly, it is not money. Giving money is a great gift, but it is not memorable and people appreciate some thoughts being put into their gift. Travel and the fancy of travel is one of the most common passions amongst people, a scratch is sure to be a home run with even the hardest to buy for.

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When Is A Good Time To Give A Scratch Map As A Gift?

The western world has so many gift-giving occasions. I have a flair for the dramatic and I think that a good gift can be an amazing gift if you time it right. For example, if someone’s birthday and they have recently gone on a vacation cruise, your timing is perfect to buy them a scratch map. You will have the advantage of riding off the amazing experience of the cruse and show that you are keeping track of their lives.

Another example is as a wedding gift. The newly married couple is starting a new life together and the climate is perfect to have a personalized scratch map to plan their hopes and travel dreams, starting with the honeymoon.

scratch map string and pin

Where to Buy a Scratch Map?

This product was invented in the UK but is now available everywhere via Online Retailers. Some large bookstores carry a limited select selection of products from one or two manufacturers, but my big box bookstore didn’t stock any. The staff didn’t even know what a scratch was, which is not surprising, it’s lack of popularity is one reason that makes it a great gift for the person who has everything. Check out and quickly compare over 35 of the best Scratch Maps.

Another reason why the scratch map makes a great gift is that the receiver can personalize it to their own travel experiences. Everyone is very proud of their travel. Having a personalized map on display is a constant reminder and a source of conversation.

 scratch map canada and usa view

Why Scratch Map?

A map is a timeless decor piece. Many items are designed to incorporate globe and map images or themes. A certain amount of class and sophistication are associated with an image of the world. Add an aspect of special interest and personalization, the question becomes “why not”.


Where to Use and Display?Scratch Maps Worlds


There are large poster maps available that anyone would be proud to display in a common area in their home. The framing of these scratch maps add an amazing boost to their appearance and I highly suggest it. It is a conversation piece if you and your company like to chat travel.


Tack a scratch map over your desk, keep track of all the countries you ship to with your online eBay or Amazon business. You will truly be impressed and so will your friends.

Travel and Vacation

Travel size scratch away maps and journals with scratchable maps are purposely made compact and mobile. Take them with you and relish in the moment, removing the foil as you go. I love to journal when I travel. I did it once when a lot of crazy and unexpected awesomeness was happening on my trip and was instantly hooked. At the end of a long day you made not feel like doing it, but trust me, it feels so good to get it on paper. It is best to write when it is fresh to capture the details and emotion in the moment. Try it, it doesn’t cost anything, and you won’t regret it.

Hobby And Crafts

Crafts are an amazingly fun pastime. With the ability to share ideas on social platforms such as Pinterest and YouTube, inspiration is only a click away. I think the best way to ensure success on a crafty project if you consider yourself not so crafty, is to place together props rather than make or paint them yourself.

Check out How To Make A Frame With No Power Tools

For example, if you give a world map poster and a pack of multicolored sharpies to a seasoned artist, and tell them to document their travels, the end result will be a colorful and personalized work of art, And they will make it look so easy.

For most people, this is not so easy. If you are not so crafty like me, and you want a personalized map of your travels, maybe a better approach would be to use strings and pins. Incorporate photographs and souvenirs to make a display that would wow even the biggest grues of Pinterest.

scratch map Europe view


A frame seems like a standard upgrade for any print. Some scratch off maps will fit into off the shelf frames. If that is not working for you, building a frame is an easy DIY project.

Check out these Step-By-Step Projects


I Have A Itch, When Do I Scratch?word cluster

So you got your scratch map today and it looks as awesome as you hoped but now you can’t wait to scratch away the foil and see what’s underneath. Well you are in luck because as long as you are on earth you will have one country to scratch, right? Even if you have not traveled you are somewhere right now, Wow, that’s kind of philosophical.


How To Scratch – Techniques For Scratching To Get Great Results

Coin or Eraser

Most people see scratch maps they are reminded of scratch lotto tickets that you use a coin to scratch. Some manufacture suggests using a pencil eraser to remove the foil. I think you should start with the eraser on any scratchable map and get a feel for how the foil reacts and the move to a hard tool like a coin if you feel that it is appropriate and will not damage the map.

A guitar pick also makes a great tool to scratch off large areas and is included with some maps. 

Precision Tools

Some small countries and borders will require that you stay inside the lines, yes it is like coloring. To get the best possible results you may want to employ a tool with a precision tip, such as a toothpick. Be Always gentle with your map and take your time to get the best results. I have found that you have to be extra gentle with a toothpick. Very little pressure is required, and it does a great job. 


A map mounted on a cork board makes a cool display when pins are placed to mark points of interest. Foam board also makes a good backing to pin into. This is a super cool way to mark hundreds of point of interest that you want to highlight. 

You can add an extra dimension of complexity to your scratch map by doing this. Be creative and use photos and souvenirs, there are no rules to a personalized display. Check out this display option.


Print copies of your photos and use them to further personalize your scratch map. By placing photos around your scratch map in a college, you will further amplify the personal effect of your display. Another suggestion is to print off small photos and pin them directly onto the map, this is also a nice way to display your photos. Check out this display option.


Having a framing shop assemble your custom print is one option when framing your scratch map. They do an amazing job, but they don’t assemble the frame to come apart easily or at all, keep this in mind if you choose to do this. Find a frame.

Hint: Most Framing Shops use heat to flatten a print. Do not allow this to be done with your scratch map, it may damage your Scratch Map.

Frames can be purchased, off the shelf, to fit many sizes of prints. This is a great option and a very user-friendly approach. Sometimes the print will have to be cropped, this is also quite simple. See How to Crop A Scratch Map.

Frames can be found at thrift stores and garage sales, this may be a good option for you.


Check out my DIY on Framing Your Scratch Map for tips on using this option >

I hope this page has answered some of your questions about scratch maps.


See My Pick For The 4 Best Scratch Maps Of The USA >

See My Pick For 7 Best Scratch Off Maps Of The World >


Explore this website.



Check out my Size Charts of all the maps >

Check out the Best Scratch Map Manufacturers >

Check out Scratch Map Original Deluxe Poster World Map Review >

Check out our blog post “How A Scratch Map Of The World Can Declutter Your Space” >


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