CMA Stories

How-To: Map Paper Garland

In this workshop, we’ll transform flat paper subway maps into a 3D globe garland. All you’ll need is some twine or string, and a subway map, which you can pick up for free at your subway station.

What you’ll need:

large sewing needle
maps (cut into squares)
twine or string


  1. Start with a square of map paper (6″ squares recommended). Fold both ways diagonally (called valley folds in origami). Fold horizontally, then vertically (called mountain folds).

2. Bring folds together as shown, like a 3D pyramid. Then flatten into a triangle. 

3. Take bottom right corner up to the top, press fold with finger. Repeat the fold on left corner taking it to the top. Flip over and repeat process on the other side. 

4. Fold side points of diamond to the center. Flip over and repeat on the other side. 

5. Use your finger to open the center “pockets.” Tuck each top flap well into each center pocket, pressing flat with finger. Repeat on the reverse side, again tucking the top flaps into the center pockets. Notice how flat the flaps are in the pockets. 

6. Gently pull at the sides to expand into the balloon shape. Blow into the end with the hole to inflate. Repeat steps 1-6 to create more globes. The number of globes you make depends on the length of garland you want.

7. After blowing into the globe, you may want to make some adjustments to the shape. Ask an adult to help pierce a hole in the bottom of each globe, using the needle or another sharp object like the awl pictured above, so the twine can pass through.

8. String the globes along a string of twine about 8″ apart, double knotting before and after each placed globe to keep them in place along the garland. Keep attaching globes until you reach your desired length.

Share your map garland with us using #sharewithCMA! How-To Tuesdays are published on our blog every other week, so check back soon for a new project!

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