How To Make A Scratch Map Frame – Using A Vintage Frame

scratch map frame

How To Frame A Scratch Map

Now that we have mastered the art of cropping the Scratch Map itself, now let’s try cropping a frame to fit the map.

I have tried to make this project user-friendly and possibly to do for people who do not have a workshop or any power tools. Check out my other fame and display projects that require no power tools. 

I have a piece of wall art from IKEA that is approx 15 years old. I have had it in storage for 5 years and after a couple attempts to sell it for as little as $5 and has had no takers. I would imagine that there are many frames that have a similar construction. Try looking at a thrift store to see if you can find one. 

But today I am happy to still have this in my possession. It is going to make a perfect frame for my new Scratch Map. Hopefully, this step by step will illustrate how something like this is possible, even if your frame is not the exactly the same.


The frame itself is made out of metal. The backside of the frame has grooves. The groves serve the purpose of holding a corner supports that ultimately will hold the whole frame together. There are also wires that string from top to bottom and side to side to hold everything tight. The art (the picture) is printed on a 1/8 thick wood panel board. There is also a hanging wire that goes across the back of the frame. Currently, the frame is 35 1/2″ x 47 1/4″, I’m going to shrink it down to 23 1/2″ x 32 1/2″.

Note the different parts that make up the frame.

  • Grooved metal trim
  • Corner supports
  • Span wire and hardware
  • Hanging wire and hardware
  • Springs

How to crop a frame for a scratch map

Original assembly in the factory 

The metal trim is manufactured be an efficiency material to work with. It can be trimmed to fit any size print. This can easily be achieved by cutting the metal trim the right height and length and using the universal corner pieces to hold it all together. This is what I will do to make a frame for my Scratch Map.

The metal frame can be trimmed to fit any size print.

disassemble the frame

How To crop the frame to fit a Scratch Map

Exploiting the ingenious design of the manufacturing process, I’m going to remove the corner supports and crop this frame down to my required size. This design is going to work great for resizing the frame for a Scratch Map.

Here is what you will need, feel free to substitute and be creative with the supplies that you have or are available to you.  

  • Scratch Map
  • Miter Box
  • Hacksaw
  • 24″ x 36″ Foam Board or Plastic Sign Board
  • Measuring tape, Box cutter knife, Pliers. (basic toolkit)

1. Flatten out your Scratch Map by letting it rest flat overnight. Keep the corners down by resting books on the map. This overnight flattening will reset the memory of the maps paper and its natural state will be flat rather than rolled up. It is as easy as 1,2,3!how to flatten out a scratch map

2. Mount the Scratch Map the foam board. Measure the Scratch Map and Cut the foam board to be the same size.

Use a run of mounting tape to every 4-6 inches to hold to nice and flat. Remember that we will not be using any glass to hold the map flat, it will just be the mounting tape holding the Scratch Map.

Using the mounting tape can be a little tricky. I would recommend only revealing the adhesive side of the tape when necessary.

  • Do this by placing all your vertical runs of tape down
  • Remove the protective layer from the center run of tape only and lay your map down.
  • Now that the map is square on the foam board and not going to move, lift up the side of the map and reveal another run of the mounting tape. Let the map fall naturally, the paper is thick and will not wrinkle if you let it fall naturally.
  • Continue to remove the protective covering off the tape and stick the Scratch Map little by little until you have worked yourself all the way to the edge. measure your scratch map

mount the scratch map


3. Disassemble the Ikea print frame. Using a Philips screwdriver, remove the Support wires, the hanging wire and corner supports. Keep and the pieces. We now have the raw materials needed to make our own metal trim frame. parts of the frame

4. Using a miter box and hacksaw, and the same dimensions that we used to cut the form board, determine the necessary lengths of the metal trim. Cut the metal trim to be 1/8″ higher and wider than your Scratch Map, this will allow some space. This space is necessary for a good fit.

Tip: Use a piece of sandpaper to take off any rough edges that were made.

trim the metal frame to size

5. Disconnect the wire from the span support hardware that fits into the frames groves. Save the wire, we can reuse it. Place two of the span support hardware into the groves on each side and one piece on the top and bottom.

6. Using the top, bottom and one end, make an open-ended square with the metal trim. reassemble the frame

7. Slip the Scratch Map into the groves using the open end. Now you can install the remaining end of the frame, tighten the corner supports to lock the frame into place.frame a scratch map

8. Lock the span support hardware in the middle of the top, bottom and the two sides of the frame. String the wire from top to bottom. Pull it snug and cut to length. Do the some for the side to side span support wire. At this point, you can also install the hanging wire as well. Leave this wire loose. A loose wire will allow for easy hanging. scratch map frame

9. To take up unwanted space in the grove we are going to reinstall the springs. This will keep the Scratch Map from moving and push it tight to the front of the frame. install the springs

Congratulations! It is time to hang and display your fully framed Scratch Map!

Scratch map frame

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