Introduction: British Isles 3D Map From Masking Tape

About: I'm based in London - in my day job I make digital things and at night I tinker with art, maps and electronics.

The original spark of this idea came when I read a story about a banana duct-taped to a wall by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan. It sold at an art auction for $120,000. (If you google "banana duct tape art" you can see a picture.)

As you might imagine, lots of people thought it was ridiculous and I in some ways it kind of was, but that's not the point. I think someone tore it down and ate it in the end. Anyway, I digress. It got me thinking that the value of art isn't about the cost of the materials used to make it. You can make something beautiful out of dirt-cheap materials.

For me, maps are beautiful things, so I set out to make a 3D map of the British Isles using masking tape.


  • Mount board
  • Thin masking tape
  • Pointy stick
  • Pencil
  • Frame

Step 1: The Making

The process was quite time-consuming, but pretty simple.

First I drew the outline of the British Isles onto the board in pencil and then got to work with the tape.

I took the tape and stuck it to the board in horizontal stripes and when I got to the land, and particularity mountains, I would 'ruffle' it up to give it some height and texture. Mostly the tape goes continuously all the way across the board, but sometimes I added some extra bits if there were some big features to get in.

That was pretty much it! I put it in a frame with no glass to make sure the light catches the contours and we're done.

Step 2: The Finished Map

It was a gift for my mum and we hung it in a bright room by a window so the light picks up the contours. When there's direct light on it, the map almost disappears but then changes throughout the day depending on the conditions.

Maps Challenge

Participated in the
Maps Challenge