We are missing Wisconsin and New York, but will get them on a future trip. It will go outside somewhere, as it is pretty big. Here is the process I went through ...
My dad made the base.
I had him make it out of cedar, so I could put it outside.
I bought a map and cut templates out of cardstock for each state.
As we collect, I will simply pull out the template, cut the plate and nail it on the board!
I traced the template on the plate with a Sharpie marker and cut it out using Aviation Snips. I used an 'overlapping method' to make the the shapes cleaner - I cut out Minnesota completely, but didn't cut out the top of Iowa, so I could simply stack Minnesota on top of Iowa. It is nearly impossible to get exact cuts, so this made the borders look clean. I had purchased three different snips (straight, right, left) but found I didn't need them. They really weren't hard to cut. My hands were sore after cutting them all out, but it wasn't as hard as I expected. I was thinking I would have to sand them down, but I didn't even do that.
Since I don't have all the plates, I wanted to define the final project. I used a wood burning tool to etch an outline into the wood. It turned out great. I used copper nails (to avoid rusting) to attach them to the board.
Just above the lower 48 I will use letters from plates to spell out 'Driving the Dream'. We need to start collecting those letters, a goal I'm sure the girls will love tackling! Alaska and Hawaii will go just below and to the left of the lower 48, filling up the remaining space.
Here are the injuries. One blister that I didn't even notice until I was done - and one band-aid was used to prevent a blister. Garden gloves would have been good and I may use next time.
I just love, love, love this thing!!!!