Introduction: Copper Wire River Map

Put your favorite river or stream on a wall, indoors or out.


  • Google maps
  • Printer
  • #4 bare copper wire (available by the foot at many hardware stores)
  • Hacksaw
  • Heavy duty staple gun with long staples
  • A work surface that you can staple into


  • A small drill bit and drill
  • Small nail
  • Cold chisel
  • Hammer

Step 1: Find Your River

  • Zoom in on the section of river or stream that you want to use.
  • Do a screen capture.

Step 2: Edit the Image

  • Paste the screen capture into Paint or another image editing program.
  • Crop the section of river you want to use.
  • Flip the cropped image horizontally so that the staple marks are on the back of the finished product.
  • Convert the flipped image to a PDF file. I use PDFill PDF and Image Writer.

Step 3: Print the Image

  • Open the PDF and size the PDF program screen to the approximate size of the river image. I used Foxit Reader.
  • Print the current view at an enlarged scale with the tile large pages option.

Step 4: Bend the Wire Into Shape

  • Use several staples to attach the end of the wire to the work surface.
  • Place the first page of the printed river under the wire.
  • Staple over the wire, and bend the wire to match the shape of the river. Use the staples as fulcrums to bend the wire.
  • An awl can be used as a temporary fulcrum for tight bends.
  • A pliers may be necessary for very tight bends.
  • Continue to insert sections of the paper under the wire and shape the wire to the river.
  • Depending on the shape of your river and your work surface, you may have to occasionally pull the staples out and reposition the wire.
  • Cut the bent wire free from the roll.
  • Flatten the wire so it hangs flat against the wall, or carefully shape the river so parts of it stand out from the wall to give it greater depth.

Step 5: Hang the Wire

  • There many ways to hang the wire, but the following is my favorite because the hanger is hidden.
  • Drill a small hole in the back of the wire, but don't drill through the wire.
  • Place the head of a small nail in the hole, and use a cold chisel and hammer to deform the wire around the head of the nail.
  • Add more than one nail along the length of the river if you want to display the river in the correct orientation rather than hanging freely.
  • Drill holes in the wall to accept the nails.
  • Hang indoors our outside.
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