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How to Make your own State Quarters Display Map

Saving and collecting state quarters can be a fun and informative project for adults and kids alike! While it is possible to purchase state quarter collecting maps online and even in many stores, these maps can be quite expensive, from $20 to $25 and even more for what is essentially just a picture of the United states on cardboard with some holes cut out.

Instead, this page contains instructions and images that you can use to create your own map for a state quarter collection display map for just a few pennies. This is a great project for just yourself, or to work on with your kids!

Getting Started

It's easy to get started with this project. You just need a few household items and you're set to go!

What You Need:

To make your own state quarter collection map, you will need the following:

Step 1a: Download United States Map Images

The map of the USA below is actually four separate images, each representing one fourth of the entire map. Step 1 is to download the following four images to your computer and print them, one image per page. To download each image and save it on your computer, position your pointer over the image, click the right button, and select "Save Image As" or "Save Picture As". Be sure to save the images in a folder where you can access them in step 1b.

Image of the NorthWest United StatesImage of the NorthEast United States Image of the SouthWest United States and Alaska and HawaiiImage of the SouthEast United States

Step 1a: Download Images

NOTE: The colors on the map don't have any particular meaning; they are there just to differentiate each state.

Step 1b: Print Images

Now you should print each image on your color ink-jet printer: open each image with your favorite image printing program (usually just double-click the image).  Set up the page so that you print in landscape mode and set the image to "fit to page".  When you do a print preview, you should see the page in landscape mode with the image taking up most of the page.

Do this for all four images.  "Fit to page" should center each image and should leave a small margin of 1/2" on each side of the image.

Step 2: Prepare Cardboard

The easiest place to find a large piece of contiguous cardboard of the appropriate size is from a large box.  You want to cut out a rectangular piece of cardboard about 19 and a half inches by 15 and a half inches.  If you don't have a box that large around your house, you can try looking for one in a grocery store or Walmart; they're usually happy to get rid of boxes.  I used a box from a 20" floor fan.

It may be useful to first cut out a piece of cardboard slightly larger than needed (say 20" by 20"), then measure with a ruler or tape measure and cut to make the cardboard the correct size.

Step 3: Cut, Align and Tape Images Together

Each of your images that you printed in step 1b should have a margin of about 1/2" or so.  In order to piece the paper together, you now need to remove the margin of each image, then overlap and line up each image and tape them together.

Note that for each image pair, you will only need to cut the margin on one of the pieces of paper. This is so you'll leave a margin on the other image that will allow you to align and overlap the first image. For the margin you cut, but sure to get as close to the color state images as possible.  It will be easiest to first piece together the two top images, then the two bottom images, then cut, align and tape the bottom pieces to the top pieces. If you tape both the front and back, the images will hold together stronger.


Example figure for cutting and aligning images

Step 3: Cut, Align and Tape Images Together

You need to follow the above example for all the images.  Once you have cut, aligned, and taped the images, you should now have an aligned image of the United States approximately 21 inches by 16 inches!

Step 4: Align, Fold, and tape image to cardboard

This step is easy: now center the large taped paper image you just put together in step 3 over the piece of cardboard you made in step 2.  The paper should overlap the cardboard by at least about 1/2" on each side (if it doesn't, you can trim the cardboard piece down so you have some overlap).

Once you have centered the paper, for each side, fold the paper over the cardboard and tape the paper to the back of the cardboard.  When you've done this for all 4 sides, you should now have a picture of the United States on a rigid cardboard background!  Way to go!

BONUS IDEA: If you want your United States Quarters Map to have a really polished and professional look, you can cover the front of the map entirely with wide tape (such as 2" packing tape) or with clear adhesive shelf liner (contact paper). Not only will your map look good, but you'll be protecting the map from the vagaries of every day life. You can still add quarters by cutting a slit through both the contact paper and the background paper.

Step 5: Place your quarters!

Now you are all set to start placing your quarters in each state!  For each quarter, find the state that matches.  Using scissors (or another cutting tool such as a sharp knife or utility knife), cut a small horizontal slit inside the state.  The slit should be centered in the state and slightly shorter than the width of a quarter.  Then place the quarter in the slit and tape it so that it won't fall out if the map is accidentally turned upside down. Don't push too hard or you'll lose the quarter behind the paper!

Note that even though we have a very large picture of the United States, some Eastern States are still too small to fit a quarter in.  For those states, you can just make the slit in the picture margin near the State, then draw a line or arrow from your placed quarter pointing to the State to which it belongs.

BONUS IDEA: If you want to, you can also label each State with its name.  Can you correctly name and label each State?  See if you can label all 50 States from memory!  No cheating by looking in a book!

Step 6: Hanging Your Picture

When you make this map, you might not already have all 50 State quarters yet, but this is an easy way to see which quarters you already have and which ones you still need to collect!

As you collect quarters and fill your map, you might want to just leave the map on a table or against a wall.  But you can also easily hang the picture on a wall. All that's required is a piece of string: on each side of the picture about 1/3 of the way down from the top, just punch a small hole near the left and right side of the picture, run a single piece of string through both holes and tie them to the picture.  Put a picture hangar in the wall where you want to hang the map, and you're done! If you don't want to punch holes in the map, you could just tape a piece of string to the back (but as you get closer to collecting all the quarters, the picture might become too heavy to be supported by just taped string).

BONUS IDEA: Each State quarter has its own unique information:

  • State Name
  • Year the State joined the USA
  • Year the quarter was minted
  • Picture and Motto (on the back of the quarter)

If you want to go further, you can also print one of these blank tables and for each quarter, fill in its information when you get the quarter. Example:

State Year Joined the USA Year Quarter Minted

State Motto

Helen Keller Spirit of Courage

Follow this link for a blank table you can print, and fill in the quarters information as you go. If you would like more spacious version of the table (25 states on 1 page instead of 50), you can view and print these two tables instead: page 1; page2.

Conclusion: The End Result!

If you've followed these directions closely, you should have ended up with a State Quarters Display Map that looks something like this (click the picture to enlarge it):

Picture of completed State Quarters Display Map Project

Congratulations on a job well done!