How to Make a Star Map – for Free!
Star-Map Guide to create your own map in 7 Steps
A map of the starry night sky on one special date – what a perfect gift for an anniversary or engagement! You´ve probably seen pictures of these Star Maps on Instagram and Pinterest. The constellations in their precise positions on one significant date – right down to the exact hour!
Did you know you could actually create your own star map for free? (Well, apart from buying the materials and your precious time). Of course, the easiest way would be to design it online and have it printed professionally here, this is quick and you are guaranteed quality printing and paper. If you like DIY or Arts n’ Crafts projects this one is for you.
Here is the complete step-by-step guide on how to make your own star map in just 7 steps.
First of all, you need to prepare your materials. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Microsoft Word or Cricut Design Space
- Pencil or Pen
- Large black or white card
- And of course, a computer & printer!
- Lat-Long Research: First of all, we are going to need to figure out the latitude and longitude coordinates for the place where we want to map the stars. Go to https://www.latlong.net/convert-address-to-lat-long.html and put in the city name and postal code for the most accurate results. Where do you want your star map to represent? The idyllic location of your Wedding, or a memorable move into your first home…just fire the address into the search bar and you will get the exact coordinates we need! In my case it was 41.382490 Latitude and 2.173620 Longitude.
Scroll on down and get the exact GPS coordinate too (I got 41° 22′ 56.964” N 2° 10′ 25.032” E).
- Star Math: For this step you want to double check you have the right date and time. Go to https://www.fourmilab.ch/cgi-bin/Yoursky and set it to “Universal Time”.
Now, you are going to move the information you got in Step #1 into this table. Copy and paste to avoid typos! Also, remember to choose North or South for Latitude and East or West for Longitude. This website is amazing! Take your time browsing the options and you can personalize your star map even further with some awesome extras.
- Choose your Colors: White on black or vice versa? The choice is yours! Make your selection and then hit update to see your star map! Check through the information very carefully. Is that definitely the right date? Are you sure it was North not South? Once you have made the final edits, right click on the map and save it to your desktop.
- Print your Star Map: For a decent size Star Map the best thing to do is insert it into a Microsoft Word document. Play around with the margins and enlarge it as much as you can. The easiest would be to set all your custom margins to zero and make the most of the space. Are you ready to print? You could just hit CTRL+P.
The best thing to do would be to source your local printing shop. This gives you options for better quality paper and larger than your average printer A4 size. You have a myriad of ways to go. Choose to go all the way to a large poster size (27¨ by 39¨) on gloss paper, heavy silk or recycled papers. This could set you back anything between a couple of dollars to over $100 for certain sizes and sheets. For all the care you are putting in here it could be worth the extra penny!
(If your time is too precious and this is all sounding too complicated, fair enough. You can just have all the fun designing it and send it off to be professionally printed and framed.)
- Customize your Star Map: Here is where you get pretty free rein. You can either cut out your map and paste it onto the black or white card, pure and simple. (In this case skip the next step and go straight to #7) Alternatively, you can go the extra mile and add shapes and rings (you will have to measure your map first) in a program like Cricut Design Space. Here is where you can also add the names, dates and any personal message at the bottom of your map.
- Using Cricut Design: In Cricut Design space choose the shapes in the circle you will go on to copy or add a new circle of the size you need. Use the slice option (bottom right) to cut out the middle so you’re just left with the circle ring. When you’re ready load your white card stock onto your mat and onto Cricut Air. You may want to hike up the cardstock + if you are using thicker card than usual. Then peel it carefully off the mat and lay the paper down.
Back in Cricut get ready to make the bottom portion of the star map with the date and names. Add a square shape, unlock it and drag it out to a rectangle shape. Then duplicate it for a second box and edit the colors. Choose the appropriate sizes and borders and then add your text. Choose whatever personal message you want. “Count your Lucky Stars” or “The Day the Stars Aligned for Us” or something simple like “Our Night”. Remember you have total freedom with the font too!
You may need to rotate it slightly so the letters match and flow close enough together. Adjust the sizes as you wish.
When you’re ready – hit Print! The icon will change from scissors to a print icon so you see what is cutting and what is printing. You may want to duplicate your first text so it has the same settings. Adjust the sizes and center them with the hash marks and try and place the rest around the center line.
Upload the image you just saved in your computer and insert it into the space altering the size accordingly. Select the color you want to print in and sent it to your printer. Given all your hard work it may be worth splashing out on cardstock which looks much nicer than regular paper.
- Printing from Cricut: Load your cardstock and begin the printing process from you Cricut. It will scan the corners and start the cut. Then you can glue all the pieces on top of each other with a regular clear running glue.
- Final Touches: Whether you have opted to go via the Cricut Design Space or by simply printing and pasting onto a cardboard back, let’s jazz up your Star Map even further! If you have printed it yourself but you want to add more details, you can always go freestyle with a permanent fine liner black pen.
Now, frame it and hang it somewhere glorious – et voila! You have just made your very own Star Map*.
Of course, if this all sounds terribly complicated or you hit a roadblock like running out of paper ink halfway through, you can always order one here. We won’t tell anyone!
- Total* Time: 5 hours
- Total Cost: $45
*Based off a reasonable pace of work (don’t break nor your neck or fall asleep) and mid-range prices of printing and frames.