Tharsis Quadrangle (Mars) Canvas Wall Map

USGS map of Tharsis quadrangle on canvas
The inspiration for this wall art came from a post on the Spoonflower blog about NASA posters. Recently, I made my first web comic featuring a character named Akyla. In the comic, Akyla takes a dream trip to Mars and visits Pavonis Mons. For some reason I don’t understand, I just love that volcano. So, I followed the instructions given by Spoonflower and made my own wall hanging. Instead of poster art, I used a map from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The map is about double the size of the posters.

Maps can be downloaded for free from the USGS site. You do have the option of ordering a folded map. I thought about doing that and buying a large frame, but according to my calculations it would cost more than making the canvas. It would also have been heavier than the canvas and stretchers. As it turned out, I was able to hang my canvas with three finish nails; thereby, remaining in compliance with the rules of the building owner.

Instructions, Part 1

1. Find the map you want to have printed.
2. Download the map to your computer.
3. Start a new file in Photoshop or similar program. Set the dimension width to 58 inches and height to 36 inches.
4. Upload your map. Fit it into the dimension box, allocating at least 3 inches on each side.
5. Save the file.
6. Go to Upload your file.
7. Select lightweight cotton twill as your fabric.

While you are waiting for your map to be printed, you can visit an art supply store to get the stretchers or order them online. I purchased my stretchers online from My finished size was 54 inches by 34 inches. I ordered two standard stretcher bars; 54 inches and 34 inches. The cost was about $18.00. I did not pay for shipping as I had extra items that put me over the free shipping threshold.

To complete the project, I stapled the canvas to the assembled stretchers. It has been quite a while since I made my own stretched canvas. I watched a couple of videos on Youtube before getting started.

Instructions, Part 2

    Step 1
    I put plastic on the floor to protect the canvas. I put the canvas on top of the plastic. The canvas looked very creased; however, I was counting on stretching the creases out.

USGS map of Tharsis quadrangle on canvas

    Step 2
    I put the stretcher assembly on top of the canvass, centering it as best I could. Lines of text at the top of the canvass were useful. I aligned a long bar to a typed line.

USGS map of Tharsis quadrangle on canvas

    Step 3
    I began stapling at the center of one long bar and then stapled in the center of the opposite bar. I repeated this method on the shorter side bars.

USGS map of Tharsis quadrangle on canvas

    Step 4
    I stapled on one side of the center long bar, next on the opposite bar (same side) and repeated this method until the canvas was stapled. I used a hammer to punch staples that did not go in completely.
    Step 5
    I cut off about 1 inch on one side. I then folded and stapled the corners.

USGS map of Tharsis quadrangle on canvas

    Step 6
    1. Since my stapler was designed for a larger hand, I did not get the canvas tight enough to straighten all the creases. I figured the creases will straighten in time, but to speed up the process, I used my iron to steam the canvas on the underside. I floated the iron about 1.5 inches above the surface while holding the artwork about 35 inches away from the floor.

A Final Note

USGS Tharsis Quadrangle map detail
USGS Tharsis Quadrangle map detail

I was leery of placing my order with Spoonflower as I wondered if I would be able to make out the small letters on the map. I did not want to drive myself crazy wondering what the letters spelled and having to constantly view the map on the computer to figure it out. I took a chance anyway and I was delighted to see that I could read everything when the map arrived.

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