Upcycle a globe into a DIY gift anyone will love

May 5, 2015 at 6:00 p.m. ET

Take an old and outdated globe to new levels with a little paint, markers and sandpaper by making it into a piece of personalized art you can gift to anyone with pride.

Have you ever walked past a shelf at the thrift store and looked at one of those old plastic globes, and felt a little nostalgic for your school days, but at the same time you just can't imagine having one of those things in your home? There's something so classic about a globe's silhouette, and yet the baby blues and potentially incorrect geographical information (hello, Russia) just don't quite cut it. I'm talking about this:

Don't worry, there is hope for this little piece of nostalgia! Here's everything you'll need:

  • Black spray paint (either matte or flat)
  • Copper spray paint
  • Pencil
  • Gold paint marker
  • White paint marker (can be a chalkboard marker)
  • Sandpaper

Your first step is to get your globe painted. Take your globe apart, and if the strip in the middle of the globe is falling off like this one, remove it.

Once your pieces are painted and dry, you can put the globe back together — it'll be easier to write on it this way!

Now that it's reassembled, you're ready to get started on personalizing your globe. Rather than choosing a quote, I went with a word definition:

"Wanderlust (n.) A strong desire or urge to wander or travel and explore the world."

To begin, use a pencil before getting to the marker, this way you can fix any mistakes you might make.

Now go ahead and color in the letters with a gold permanent marker.

Once you finish with the gold marker, you can get started on the definition with the white marker, being careful of the parts of the globe that may be textured.

At this point, the gold marker was used to follow along the globe's longitude lines, almost touching the words. Once all of the marker ink dries, use a fine-grit sandpaper to sand all over the globe, in all directions. There's no wrong or right here — you can sand just a little for slight texture or a lot to allow the map to come through.

Make sure to wipe the globe down — there will be a lot of black dust left on it once this step is finished. It may even be a good idea to complete this step outdoors, if you can!

And just like that, you're finished!

Here's a view from the top of the globe and close-up of all the texture created by the sandpaper. It's kind of great how the globe has both an old chalkboard feel and also bits of color popping through it.

Now this globe looks like it belongs in a chic office, or even in a living room. It's suddenly a conversation piece — and not the kind that begins with "what were you thinking?"

Is this an upcycle project you'd try? What quote or word would you put on it? Tell us in the comments below. We love hearing from you!

This post was brought to you by Green Works.

More upcycling ideas

How to upcycle a dresser
3 Upcycled sweater crafts
Upcycle old picture frames

Comments