European Corked Map

After I finished corking the Isetta, I began to work on creating a large map of Europe on one of the walls in my AutoMotorPlex condo. Each country containing wine corks from that particular country. It was easy to find corks from the obvious large wine producing countries, and although many Eastern European countries produce a lot of wine, their corks are not easily found in the United States. I had some success contacting Eastern European wineries who sent me some corks, but then Bonnie and I decided to take a trip to Eastern Europe the summer of 2013 in a quest for the corks I still needed. We successfully collected enough to complete Macedonia, Bulgaria, Romania and Moldova. In 2014 Bonnie and I traveled to Poland, Belgium and The Netherlands to get their corks. Albania was then the only country left. I found a fellow here in Minnesota who’s mother lives in Albania and she kindly sent me the last few corks I needed to complete my map.

My corked map of Europe spans 10 feet high by 12 feet wide. Take a look at THIS ARTICLE about my cork-seeking adventures!


The corked country maps are far easier than 3-dimensional cork art as they’re done on a flat surface on quarter inch plywood, all laid out in straight lines. I follow the longitudinal lines of the map, so when mounted the country will be oriented the correct way. A cork is selected and the ends are sanded flat with my 6” disc sander, and then glued in place on the plywood. The next cork is selected and positioned end to end with the first one. If the second cork is thicker it must be sanded off on the back. It may also need to be sanded on the sides. If it is thinner, I use “shims” made from various thicknesses of cardboard. To speed this process up, I do a line of several corks before I glue any of them into place – this way they can be fit mostly by sanding, rather than using shims. The next most difficult thing is making a curved pattern on a flat surface. This is where the tapered corks can be used, or the straight ones have to be sanded a little to make them follow the curve.